Saturday, February 27, 2010

The weeks go fast... time moves slow

Time goes so fast and so slow all at the same time - today it's 2 months from the moment I first saw him led into the visiting room by his hand resisting every step and cautiously I think we both fell in love (I guess I'll have to wait to hear his side of the story but - indications were good :) .  I've scrached off many things on my to do list but I think they are breeding and multiplying as I go... the list keeps getting longer.  Last weekend I bought pull ups and a potty, this week I refrained from buying more cute clothes (no matter how great of a sale they were on), and yesterday I completed the last of the paperwork I need to have done... so why is the list now an entire page long?   I guess it's a good thing that my to do list is growing - I may have another 2 months of time to fill.  I'm looking forward to my adoption shower and celebrating with my girlfriends. We decided to do my shower on a Saturday so that we can do all the "stuff" you can't do at a "regular" baby shower (you know - the kind where mama is preggers).  There might be sushi, there will be great unpasturized cheese and wine and chocolate and likely some vodka toasts just to be apropos.  In addition to someone being in charge of bringing a vegitable tray, someone better also be assigned to clean up duty since it's at my house!  Other than party planning, what else is keeping me busy?  Hockey, soccer, work... the dog... that's it.  My manager at work is starting to interview for my replacement - it's going to be weird to be gone (fantastic but weird... I'm sure I'll get over it).  I've also tackled some items that have been hanging over my head on the to do list like patching and painting, re-hanging my curtain rod in my bedroom, fixing the shower door, cleaning out my closet and bathroom cupboards - now onto the pantry, basement and garage... Yuck what a way to spend a weekend. With that said, here's a nice story about someone who went out of their way to make my day:  My painter guy came over to finish up some stuff that is a bit outside of my comfort / skill level and brought over paint to match my boys room as it needed a new coat.  I told him I'd do it myself in an effort to save a little cash on the way - it's officially past time to be careful.  I was out when he came to do the job and while he was here he said he had some time to kill so he painted rug rats entire room... He said that is is his gift to us and that he's happy that this little boy will have a family. More proof that Adoption is good for the world.  It makes people all warm and fuzzy inside and they do nice things for one another because it just feels good.  Thanks to Marty my painter... and perhaps I'll put doing something nice for a stranger onto my list for today too.
My dossier will be legalized on Monday and headed for Russia later that day (takes 4 days by courier) so it should be in Khab by the 5th and then on to translation for submission to the judge.  The time lines seem small and manageable when I plot them out but when the math is done on the individual days... it will still likely be 5 weeks + before I'm back for court.  That stinks...
Nothing to do other than those pesky multiplying things on my to do list which at this moment are multiplying like rabbits so I better make hay.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WHEW!!! It was NOT time to panic!!!

I do love a good cliff hanger but SERIOUSLY!!!  I got a call this morning to update me on the whereabouts of the medical release... good news, not only had it been sent by the DMP it had made it's way back to Moscow and into my agencies hands this morning.  WHEW!!!  I had a moment of brilliance when I thought that I could take it with me tonight and have a lawyer that I play hockey with legalize it on the bench between periods (kidding... sort of) but it turns out she is in Vancouver at the Olympics.  Since I am headed to Lethbridge again after my game ends at midnight, I could wait until Friday to get my buddy to sign off on it here in town or... since I hate wasting time and I have a big rolodex of people who might some day be important to know, I think I'll stop in and see my old friend "Herb" in Lethbridge (a girl I grew up with - her dad is a lawyer) and get him to sign off on it and fax it to my agency whereby saving 2 days.  Good Lord... what am I going to do with all my time once this is over?  I mean I won't have fires to put out, mysteries to solve, people/emails/legalization/forms to chase down... oh yeah right... I'll actually FINALLY be raising my son!!!  Like Amy said, I am pretty sure that this process has aged me 10 years in 2... add that to the earlier life stresses that I've had and I should be collecting pension by now!!! 
In addition to that, I asked my SW about the documents that the Judge asked for from the family ahead of me (she reviewed their court dossier and asked for 2 more documents).  One is something to do with the SW who does your home study having people way up the food chain at the licensing board for SW sign something that says they are approved to do home studies... so they are going to get that for me proactively and hopefully be ready with it should she ask for it for my documents.  Just trying to save time and learn from those ahead as we go.  So, with that, it's been a busy day! 
I will now return to watching the Canada vs Russia hockey game where we are currently beating the Ruskies 4-1  nope now 5-1 nope now 6 -1 (OK I'll spot them 6-2 they just scored).  Do you think it would be frowned upon if I said I am wearing my team Canada jersey and cheer like a mad woman every time we score???  If so, I'll do it quietly NOT!  This is OUR game!

I gotta feeling... that tonight's gonna be a good night for a very special family to me.  They are people who have walked beside me and cheered at the good parts and consoled me during the hard parts all while walking their own difficult mile.  Good things are happening for them and I think that they are UNSTOPPABLE like my new updated song. This one is for you (unnamed family who knows EXACTLY who you are :)  I can't wait until your dream is within your reach and you breath that huge sigh of relief and take the first big breath on your way to the document scramble and your wee one you've been dreaming of for so long!!! Here's to not being anonymous for long!!!  And cuz I know you are watching the game too... here's one for you guys! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Not time to panic... yet...

Everything that I could manage has been handled and is on it's way to final processing and send off to Khab... we're just waiting on one document.  The DMP (Designated Medical Professional that is approved by the Canadian Government) did not visit baby G until the 26th of January... almost 4 weeks after I had returned home.  He was to have been there when I was but opted not to go as it was so close to Christmas.  After I was home I got busy paper chasing of my own and it didn't occur to me to check in and see when the DMP had made the trip until closer to the end of January... he hadn't gone yet... so with a little rattling he did.  Everything was to be sent off to London (Lord only knows why London... we haven't been under their rule for a long time!) for approval and then back to Moscow to the Consulate and then on to Khab to become part of my dossier... well it's still not back... and today, I was told that they are now checking with the DMP to see what he did with it... I am trying to stay calm and not think the worst but if this is still sitting in a file or on his desk... I have lost a month and there is nothing I can do about it.  I will come unglued if this has happened and nobody bothered to check and make sure.  I hate being out of sight out of mind - I feel like the things that get done quickly and done completely are the things that I have done myself.  So, there isn't anything I can do except wait for news... I pray that this DMP knows that someone else needs it and in a hurry... I can't wait an extra entire month... plus my in country medicals will expire and cause a world of hurt... Too soon for panic... not too soon for worry though. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

One more week 'till shipment to Russia!

Quickie for tonight: Last week my documents went off to Ottawa for legalizatin to DFAIT.  In a short work week I thought "best case scenario" they would be at the consulate by today... I've learned after 2 years in process that "best case scenario" rarely happens - but today was a red letter day and it's at the consulate!!!  They think my court dossier will be back from Ottawa by Tuesday or Wednesday, get legalized AGAIN???  (seriously... this document has been legalized every which way 'till Sunday!!! TWICE!) and then sent off to Khab!  They said it should be there first week in March.  From there, it's 2 - 3 weeks until pre trial and another 2 after that for my court date.  Suffice to say, it's getting close and the heat is starting to get cranked up on the "stuff" I need to get done.  In the end, I don't care if it gets done really... I just want to click my heels together and magically be in Selihino.  With a little luck, I might just be there for some overlap with Heather or Dawn... how nice that would be!  Anyway - that's the quickie for tonight.  Hoping the medical letter from London has arrived where it needs to be - will check on that now - fingers crossed!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A different kind of retail therapy...

At this point I've decided that I've maxed out on the maximum allowable retail therapy limits in terms of clothes, books, puzzles, stuffies, and "stuff" in general so today, I found myself in toddler territory jamming my shopping basket with 6 - 6 packs of apple sauce in various flavors (berry, blend, granny smith...) I figure I may as well over haul my pantry while I have time and stock up on some of the toddler essentials.  I hear little ones like apple sauce :)  and they were 2 for 1 lol. 
I chatted with a friend who is headed back to Khab just before me and we laughed at how neurotic we become with our counting off of potential days and weeks given all sorts of scenarios (but especially best case scenario of course).  I told my agency that I would follow up on Friday to see where my dossier is at in the legalization phase of things.  With a little luck it will be back in Victoria late next week and then on to Khab for assessment and assignment of court dates (pre trial / trial).  I play the "if it" game over and over... "if it"gets back to my agency by late next week then it could be in Khab middle of the following week... then it could... I can kill whole hours at a time looking at the days and weeks and wondering.  Perhaps I should focus on the task at hand which is getting work wrapped up and things sorted... but obsessing over the numbers somehow seems more productive??? 
Speaking of productive, I better go pack.  Headed to Toronto tomorrow for a couple days... another welcome distraction.  With that, it will be another week down. 

One last thing - I noticed my counter is getting awful close to 10,000 visits... I hope that it's been entertaining, maybe a bit educational, and interesting to those who regularly pop by.  So many of you I'll never meet in person but you have been great cyber friends, supporters, cheer leaders and shoulders to melt down on. The cyber adoption community is a great place to have to wait.  I could never have done this without so many of you who read, comment and email me.  Thanks for not letting the single girl go through this alone :)
Much gratitude to all of you from me. 
P.S. if you are the 10,000 visitor and you notice, post a comment - I'd like to know who you are!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why Adopt? Why Russia? Why now? (and other curious questions)

Throughout this process I've answered these questions many times (and many is a polite way of saying all the freaking time!!!)  I've got my wrote answers down for each in case I don't have the time or the inclination to discuss my personal life with a virtual stranger, but for those who I feel like have a genuine interest in either me or the adoption process I'll answer questions all day long.  I don't get flustered by the intrusive questions or the ones that to the "adoption educated" are out of line (ie. are his REAL parents dead?  How much does A KID from Russia COST?).  Learning about adoption has given me an entirely new vocabulary and has made me sensitive or "PC" in the topic.  So, now that I've had the crash course in adoption, I think it's fair that I share and take the time to explain to people rather than get huffy or angry thinking they are insensitive or ignorant... no judgement - just time to share about what makes adoption special.  Just so that these things are caught on record for the future, here are my most common questions and answers:
  1. Why adopt?  I was married going on 11 years ago and we had planned our family.  When my husband passed away I didn't stop wanting to be a mom.  I always had adoption in the back of my mind but waited until my professional and personal life allowed for me to take the process on successfully.  I would still like very much to be married but that hasn't happened for me... and I still want to be a mom.  Somewhere in one of my first posts I talk about how being widowed or being an orphan is awful for both parties... this is a situation where 2 wrongs can make a right.
  2. Why Russia?  There are only a certain number of places where a single girl CAN adopt.  When I looked at the programs, I had some specific criteria (established, well run, no rumors of closing entirely or to singles, ability to chose gender/age/health/ethnicity).  I wanted to adopt a little caucasian boy. 
  3. Why is ethnicity important to you?  It is and it isn't.  For me, I didn't want to stand out visually on the street with my child and invite conversation that easily swings into he's an orphan (is your husband Asian/African/Hispanic) yes his biological father is he is adopted.  Hmmmm... are you divorced... no, I'm widowed... wow, you are a train wreck... I would just rather blend and not feel conspicuous.  Now I'm not saying there is anything I couldn't handle about those conversations but somehow it's just easier and less TBS afterschool movie to explain to people.  Quite simply, I want a son and he needs a mom and I don't want our adoption to be street topic.
  4. Why a boy?  I think there are a few reasons: First, I'm a bit of a tom boy.  I play sports (soccer, hockey, bike, mountain bike, run, ski, wakeboard etc.) I want to enjoy that with my child.  This statement flys in the face of itself as I assure you I am a girl myself and that has not limited my involvement in sport... so that only serves to confuse the issue.  But, for me, I guess I have always pictured being the hockey mom and being involved in coaching and the face behind the cage has always been a little boy.  Next, I think being married to a hockey coach and a family very involved in hockey plays into that vision.  When Scott and I talked about kids, I always saw him being an amazing dad to a little boy - so I guess it's part of the future I didn't have time to get to.  Last and probably most importantly, I remember being a little girl.  It was tough.  The "mean girls" are a junior highschool "norm"  (there is no movie called mean boys???).  Girls are awful to one another.  I could have become a neurosurgeon in the time I spent worrying if my butt was too big, if my jeans were tight enough, if my bangs were high enough, if my spiral perm was cool enough, if I got invited to the "right" party (or didn't) or if I was in the "right crowd" (all the while balancing the afoermentioned "tom girl" sports chick thing I had going on. ) It sucked.  While I have not yet raised a young man, I think that giving a boy the skills to be confident, respectful, kind, hard working and fun to be around will be enough to help him get by (all without putting roo in his doo, $400 jeans on his tush, and worrying if he'll get pregnant).  OK yes - very simplistic and I do understand that it won't be a cake walk and that hockey equipment (if he likes the game) is expensive (Please God don't let him want to be a goalie!!!)
  5. Why 2 - 4 years?  I wanted to be able to assess as many health related issues like FASD, CP, Autism etc as I could.  Meeting a child who is meeting (or not meeting) developmental milestones helped me to mitigate some of the risks.
  6. How much does it cost?  A lot.  But I rationalize that the costs associated for raising a child from birth (cribs, diapers, onsies they wear for 14 seconds, diaper cream, child care etc.) amoratized over 3 years... it helps keep me from hyperventalating.  HE didn't cost a cent... the paperwork, legalization, professionals time who coordinate the paperwork on the Russian side, couriers, translation... that all costs money.  Plus... have you seen him???!!! Worth every penny :)
  7. How are you going to manage your job and a little one as a single mom?  I plan on having a live in nanny.  When talking with my mom about this I told her how efficient the nannies are and that they do EVERYTHING... I said that I was looking forward to not having to do laundry or fold or change sheets, looking forward to trying some different meals, looking forward to having someone who can run to the store and pick up a few groceries... my mom's response was, "in the olden days Stace, we used to call those "Wives".  Touche.
  8. How much time are you going to take off?  The government gives us 9 months.  I am going to try and take the full year.  We'll see how finances pan out.  Good thing he's used to bread and water (please don't kill me for that... I'm kidding)
  9. Are you keeping his name?  Yes - as a middle name.  He knows his name as Grisha not Gregory so that would be a change in and of itself.  I will let people know his name when things are final (it's the only thing you snoopy people don't know!!! lol... kidding)
  10. Are you worried about Lyric and the little one?  No.  and Yes.  She is big and excitable.  BUT she loves kids and is actually pretty careful around them at the dog park etc.  She doesn't understand completely the don't jump at them when they are holding the ball or a treat... but we'll work on that.  There will be tears (she has a VERY hard head) but I am sure they will grow to be best buds.  (He likes dogs, she likes kids... match made in heaven!)
  11. Is your family supportive? Yes. Everyone is so happy for me and looking forward to being a big part of his life.  My sister and kids, my mom, my mother in law, my sister in law... extended family of friends... they all can't wait!
  12. Will you adopt again?  No.  I feel like I hit the jackpot with this little guy in avoiding some of the most common "issues" (I do know that is premature given he isn't even home yet and there is plenty of time for challenges to rear their head) but he seems to have dodged some of the developmental delays, nutritional deficits, emotional / orphanage delays (eye contact, engagement, verbal skills).  I plan on figuring out how to do the best job I can with ONE... Unless... a bio sibling pops up... then there will be cause for much concternation. 
  13. Would you consider having a bio child?  Sure - if Mr. Right gets his butt in gear... and I was so lucky... I would consider it but never wanted to do that on my own.  Stretch marks and morning sickness would require hair holding and ongoing false compliments for me to get through (pony tail holders and mirror mantras of "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and gosh darnit people like me" wouldn't cut 9 months of mustard. 
  14. Cuz I can't end on 13... Is the name you have chosen your late husbands? No.  It is one that has incredible meaning to me and in it's own way gives a nod to something special Scott gave to me but it is not his name.  It's special and unique (but not weird) and so very meaningful to me.  Stay tuned!
  15. When do you think you will be back for court?  Khab has generally been 4 months between trips... this would put me at end of April.  I've been quick with my paperwork so I might have made up a little time but it's too early to tell.  I am hoping the Judge will receive my documents by early March and if she doesn't ask for more or different documents it could be ~4 weeks to a court date (on a good day) or a bit longer... so if everything goes well I could be back early April... cross fingers and say a prayer!
Thats enough but feel free to ask more if you like :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Today Valentines... Tomorrow Family Day

Since nothing here is "top secret" and there are no pictures of the little guy posted I've taken the privacy setting down but will put it back up when I return for court.  Nothing will really change - those of you who visited before will just have to log in again later that's all.  To others who emailed, welcome back! 

Valentines day for a single girl is never a highlighted occasion.  Today is not really any different.  My funny Valentine (aka my dog Lyric) did cuddle up with me on the couch which is a rare occurance but other than that, today has passed without event.  I did sit down and indulge myself with a good showing of videos from the first trip but that's as close to real kisses as I'll get I'm afraid!  For a double whammy, tomorrow is "family day" here in Alberta.  It's a long weekend which is nice... maybe I'll get some more painting done???  So, to all the other PAP's out there waiting for the call or court or for news of some sort that makes you happy, I hope Cupid saves just a little of his magic so that we can all fall in love with 10 little fingers and toes this year!  On the adoption front, all of my documents are in Ottawa being legalized by a couple different offices and I'm hoping that they will be back in Russia early March.  From there, it's usually 2 -3 weeks to set pre trial and then the trial date is usually 2 weeks after that.  So, fingers crossed for an early(ish) April return for court. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Believe...

Last night marked the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.  The opening ceremony was wonderful to watch and for the usual reasons, I was emotional listening to the stories of the athletes and their hard work and dedication to their dream and how much walking into the stadium means to them.  The song they chose as the theme for the Olympic games is by Nikki Yanofsky and it's called "I Believe".  Again, I pay special attention to the lyrics and these ones are powerful. 
I grew up being sporty - it's a part of who I am.  I've competed with some amazing athletes and am proud to call many of them friends.  I remember well the endless training sessions, the stairs, the hills, the twice a day practices but I also remember the elation of winning.  I clearly remember the moment in the rain after double overtime and a penalty kick goal with 14 seconds left and then the pride at having our team stand to receive the gold medal at nationals (I won't share what year that was - suffice to say the glory days are long since passed!).  I remember too that I've always been the work horse - the grinder - the one that the coach patted on the back and thanked for running a thousand miles that game.  I was always consistent, dedicated and loud, aggressive ,  spirited, intense but not the finesse player who received accolades on the top scoring sheet.  I often won hardest working and most consistent, but not all star.  That national championship in the rain, my coaches had our pre tournament meeting and said to me work hard, be intense keep your mouth shut,  have fun, and the tournament would be great one for me.  I did.  I worked harder, ran more, and held up my end of the bargain for my team.  It was an honor I will never forget when they announced the final member of the allstar team and I was asked to step forward to join a group of women who were chosen by those 'scouts' on the side lines.  A group of women who patted me on the back and commended me for my unwavering spirit, passion, and effort... it is a moment that will forever be a highlight in my life.  Where am I going with this?  I am certainly not comparing Nationals to the olympics but hearing the stories of those at the ultimate competition brought back my own memories and I will draw the comparisson to this journey in adoption. 
For some of us out here in adoption land, things came pretty easy.  The "training" if you will was without extra exhertion - things went as planned. It didn't rain on your practice much less on game day.  For others, there have been 6am practices in the dark, it's rained - no POURED, we've been run hard after a long game just because things didn't go well and running seemed to be the answer, there have been injuries (some career / adoption ending), and there have been things that made us think we might not ever see the end of regulation time.  We've stumbled, had moments of brilliance, been cheered on by the crowd, our team and our coaches, sometimes we've lost... but ultimately, in the end, in the rain, feeling beat up and worn out, the most amazing reward was grantid as a recognition of our efforts.  For anyone who knows me well, I am a woman of analogies and stories.  Working hard and eventually winning isn't just something I did on the field, it's who I am as a person.  Mediocrity is not acceptable.  (this often made me a "pain in the ass" for refs, adoption Social Workers, and sometimes team mates but it gets the job done and for that I have no apologies)
Listening to the song "I believe" last night brought tears to my eyes as the parallel of sports and life was again brought to mind for me.  I don't know if my son will want to chase a ball or a puck, but I hope he does because for every lesson I learned on that field, I can apply it to the difficult days that I go through now on the way to my goal.  Like my father in law used to say, "Hard work beats talent when talent don't work hard".  It might not be easy, but the end result is so worth the trying.  To my son, I hope that I will instill an unwaivering spirit that with hard work, anything can be accomplished.  I hope you will come to learn characteristics of dedication, passion, kindness, ferocity in the face of adversity, spirit, fair play, and simply a love of the game... no matter what "game" it might be. 
I hope I will teach you to simply BELIEVE. 
2010 is a year that great things will be accomplished in Vancouver.  Dreams will be attained, athletic careers will find their ultimate meaning, happy tears will be shed, coaches, families, friends will cheer at the top of their lungs and athletes will bow their heads to accept the ultimate reward for their work.  This year for me, personal dreams will be attained, life will find bigger meaning, happy tears will be shed, adoption coaches, family, and friends will cheer at the top of their lungs and in a couple months in Khabarovsk Russia, I will bow my head in thanks to a Judge who will allow me to accpet the ultimate reward for my hard work. 
I believe.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Game on :)

Well, a few days of 12 hour meetings (or longer) seems to be just what I need to clear my head.  Not much time to wallow or check emails or do anything except learn, clap, sit, stand, present, make small talk and tell all of Western Canada finally that I am adopting.  In a lot of ways it was a nice sort of celebration for me to be able to openly discuss, answer questions and show baby boo's pictures to everyone who asked.  All that and the heavenly beds, never ending "hostility suite" (where everyone goes to complain that there won't be anything much for raises next year and moan about what teams won the incentive trip) beverages, enough food to feed a small country (so much for the panic and disorder weight that I lost in Russia!!!) and catching up with friends I don't always get to see.  I'm starting to fill my "social schedule" with things to look forward to - things like a trip to Toronto for a women in leadership convention, a weekend ski trip with the ladies which will certainly involve snow, skis, apres ski, hot tubs, debauchery, toasting, roasting and good friends, my baby shower that friends have stepped in to plan, birthday parties, painting, packing and finally getting this show on the road! 
To the point of my baby shower.  It's weird.  Not that they want to do this for me but how uncomfortable it makes me in one breath and how excited it makes me in the next.  I have spent 2 years filling my time (and basement) with the instant gratification and dreams that shopping for a child you don't know brings.  I enjoyed every second of gathering things for him (some too big, some donated already to the orphanage) and so many things that I can't wait to experience / do with him.  I am so looking forward to celebrating the reality of this all - the fruition of what will be about 30 months worth of process and 11 years of dreams but it's weird.  I have sort of become (mostly out of necessity and partly out of ability) overly independent.  If I can figure out how to do it on my own... I do it.  If I can buy it on my own... I buy it.  I don't think I ask for much, yet I know there are times that I resent that I am on my own.  I am pushing people and processes away with one hand and with the other welcoming them in.  Confusing for me, and for them.  I think that part of it is that I don't want this to be about me... I want it to be about HIM - I am awkward and "shy" (yeah... can you feature that??? ME??? SHY???) about somehow being sort of vulnerable or the center of attention.  I've made it awkward for everyone since there isn't much that I need - and people are asking.  I've given them a list of a few things but there isn't a lot there to go on.  I told some friends tonight that they could just give a gift certificate for Home Depot and show up with a hammer and their husband this summer to build rug rat a play house in the yard.  Heck I don't know... What I do know is this: I am pretty sure it will hit me and I will do a lot of happy crying that day.  I also know that my friends are amazing and that they will continue to surprise me with their support and love :) 
In closing (clearly I've been at too many meetings this week and given too many presentations lol), I got this email and it made me think of those of us in the adoption process.  Just when we think we are (or should be) close in the process... SNAP!!!!  something catches us that knocks us down and takes our breath away.  I hope we have the "guts" of this little guy.  To all my friends in adoption land, this one's for you!  Watch till the end... it's really not that creepy :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rough patch

Most days are filled with the background noise of life or paper shuffling or running to the courier for just one more document and while this one was no different, somehow I managed to squeeze in time to miss you like crazy today.  No particular reason - just do.  I keep playing the scene over and over in my head of us standing at the doorway just before I left you for the last time.  You clung tightly to my shoulder and burried your head in my neck.  I was crying of course and I kept telling you over and over again, "Yah tibya loo blu.. Yah tibya loo blu"... I love you I love you I love you.  I kept thinking that you haven't heard those words enough and I wanted you to remember the strange lady with all the toys and the magic bubbles and how much she wants to be your Mama forever.  Every time I said it, you would kiss me like 15 times... and I'd do it again... You must have kissed me a hundred times as we stood at the door.  I knew I was only moments from driving away and leaving you behind... it hurt... but I knew it was coming.  I wasn't worried for me - I was sad for you - not understanding the grown up world and the rules that we have to follow just to do something that by all accounts is so right.  I handed you to Irina and she told me that you would wave from the window... I turned away and stared back one more time into the groupa room from the snowy sidewalk.  You were pointing at the airplane (I now know the word for that thanks to you - Sem-ul-yot) in the sky... and then looked to wave a final goodbye to me.  It was a quiet 50 minute ride back to Komsomolsk in the dark.  I cried of course... and then there was just silence. 
Most days I just manage.  I knew I would have to leave you and I knew that it would be hard.  Today though, I'm not feeling that steadfast... I keep watching the videos over and over and wishing I could just hug you and tuck you into your beautiful bed to watch you sleep.  I keep hearing your laugh in my ears and your little voice so full of excitement.  I don't care that there are patches on the wall that need to be painted or things yet to clean... I just want you home... I miss you tonight.  I stare blankly at the clock knowing that right now you are probably just going down for a nap.  I wonder... about everything...  Tomorrow will be better... tomorrow I'll be brave again... but not tonight.  Tonight I'm just going to have a good cry.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Why do we wait?

I still can't figure out why we wait in life to do the stuff that would make our homes / lives more enjoyable until the 11th hour???  Well, it's officially like 10:30 on the 11th hour clock and I am finally (after living in my house for going on 4 years) patching and painting, cleaning out the basement, and thinning all the crud that you seem to collect just by virtue of having more space than you really need.  It's sort of embarassing when I look at my wall of shoes or exploding closet of clothes but I guess retail therapy has filled many empty years... and who am I kidding -  A single girl has to put her best shoe forward on a regular basis : )  This weekend I hung wall art that's been sitting on the floor for months which turned into more of a project than I really wanted.  I measured and laser leveled and placed the nails just so on the wall and stood back to admire my handy work to be awakened to the fact that now the wall needed to be washed.  It's a "leather brown" color and who can really say what it was washed with last but I can say that it left this weird, chalky, waxy residue that took an inordinate amount of time and elbow grease to remove to my satisfaction... but it's done.  Check in the box.  I also hung the curtains and vallance in "rug rats" room (my co-worker has opted to call him Bocephus which I think is funny).  It is absolutely amazing how different the room looks now with those hung.  I am so happy with how everything looks.  I do find it amusing though that for probably 6 months I have had no curtains in MY room as the curtain rod wasn't anchored properly to a stud and it ripped out of the wall.  Rather than actually fixing it I simply placed the curtain rod onto my 4 poster bed rail and voila!  No need to DIM - (do it myself lol).  In my defense, I did call the painter but he forgot about me... so I left it.  He's coming next week finally.  Outside of that, I bought paint to do touch ups, taped off trim so that I'm ready to go, filled dints and scrapes... Looks like I'll be painting up a storm soon.  So, all this rambling is to say that for once, I haven't been lugging around the plastic file folder full of documents everywhere I go and I have returned to managing my house and my life. 

Another week down... in the vein of dream big, I'm hoping that my documents are back from Ottawa and on to Khab by very early March.  If there is nothing to object to in my dossier, a court pretrial date can be set and then court will be about 2 weeks after that.  Who knows, there is a chance that I could be back there by early April.  I hope for that, and plan just that I will be with him for his birthday... but I'd be lying if I didn't say there is a HUGE piece of me that is dreaming of him being here at home for that day.  Last note: My sister called today to tell me that she found a new picture and letter on her fridge drawn by one of my twin nieces.  It says, "Dear Stasee (no formalities, she skipped the Auntie part lol), I hope yure litle boy is home sune.  Love Sonia, Olivia and Tianna"  Me too kiddos... me too :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

More great days for Khab families!

Today is another one for the list.  I beamed as I bid farewell to my Puro pack filled with my court documents.  I contentedly headed south for a couple days of work around my hometown.  When I stopped in at Starbucks (my office on the road given that it has wireless :) I got a few emails that made me want to do the Elaine dance again in public... but I toned it down and danced on the inside (Lethbridge isn't ready for that!).  Turns out that there are a whack of people headed to Khab at the same time: 2 that I know for court dates ( a shout out to the first family with my agency who is headed to pick up their son and to my coworker Kim who turns out to be adopting from Khab with a court date the same time as Michele!)  This was a wonderful coincidence. BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE!  The grapevine also said that another family from my agency actually received a referral for their daughter and will be traveling on trip one at the same time!!! This is wonderful as there was an anticipated delay in referrals from the region due to a change in directors.  I'm so happy for this family as they had hoped to travel before Christmas too.... well now they are on their way! Momentum is surely on our side!!!  BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE!  In the final email I opened, I found out that not only had my home study been FedExed off from the director in Edmonton but also the one last document that we anticipated might take a little time and some sweet talking to get is included in the package.  Turns out I don't have to coerce/hypnotize/beg the government minister here in town after all.  Me thinks my flower delivery went a long long way to building favor... when it's done, there will be more flowers :)

So, tonight, I'm content.  The doctors tonight will be treated to an extra special celebratory meal (with a side order of childhood asthma education) and perhaps my mom and I will toast the next step when I'm back to the house.  Remember WAAAAYYYY back to September when I was here and we had fortune cookies?  Well, I shared with the group then what I was waiting for and tonight, I'll celebrate that the fortune cookie was right... 3 months later I was boarding a plane to meet my son... 

I am HOPING to have my documents in front of the Judge March 1st and then court date to follow.  Hmmm... I have some time right now... maybe I'll dance.
Keep the good days coming (but for now, I'm going to relish THIS one and celebrate the good fortune of my agency friends...).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


GOT IT GOT IT GOT IT!!!  I cheered a little cheer and did an "Elaine Benis dance" (See below for an explanation of the dance and the title above or just need a laugh!) at the mailbox today (and then quickly looked around to see if anyone saw my moves... since there was no one, I threw in an extra leg kick and arm pump for good measure and would been OK if someone cheered from the window)  I called my agency to let them know things are on their way.  They will be en route at the same time is my approved home study from my provincial director so everything is lining up just so :)  I'm doing the Elaine dance again in my living room right now (with a glass of wine to commemorate the moment!)  So good so so so good! For so much of this process any progress that is (or more often isn't) made is so far out of your hands it feels great to exert some sort of impact. There is one more letter that is a thorn in the directors side and given the heightened work load with the Hatian Children coming home hasn't arrived as quick as my agency would like.  I offered to take up the slack and have it signed off by the governmental delegate that lives in my city and when the assistant off the cuff said, "that might not be quick to get either... then she paused and said - scratch that... I am pretty sure if someone... if ANYONE could get it in a hurry, it would be you."  Amen to that.  I've never been called passive... "In life there are passengers and there are drivers" no one wonders what I am...  I have not been good at waiting but I've been good at weighing my options, doing the things that make sense, being diligent, following momentum, asking the right questions, demanding answers, researching ideas / intuition, finding people with experience who have gone before me trusting their experience and advice and creating a community of people I look to for support, inspiration, insight and the inside track.  I'm not afraid of being unconventional and have been rewarded with connections and partnerships that are not available to everyone... but I asked and dared and now have a level of comfort I otherwise would have gone without.  Thanks to those partners on this journey with me... like I said in a comment on someone elses blog, "Flight to Khabarovsk $XXXX, train ride to Komsomolsk $XXX, Hotel for the time I'm in Russia $XXXX, meeting my son for the last first time PRICELESS.  This ride is long, the road is bumpy and expensive... for everything else, there's MasterCard.
So, that's about it... for a moment, there will be silence.  No more papers to chase, no more I's to dot or T's to cross (I am going on strike once this adoption is done from the formality and jumping through hoops of it all).  Fingers crossed that this might go quickly and that there aren't weird objections thrown at the way things are signed.  C'mon court date!!!  Wanna dance???

Monday, February 1, 2010

The bright side

I thought I could have gone either way on this one... part of me bought into the idea of having baby boy G brought into Khabarovsk prior to my arriving for court so that things were easier logistically for me / facilitator.  It would have been nice and relaxing and probably save me some time in the process but there was a down side too and the down side bugged me from the start.  As it stands, it's looking like the little guy will remain in Selihino baby home until he is sprung into my care forever (or at least into temporary care following the 10 day wait which is NEVER waived in Khab) rather than being moved into the city and staying at the baby hospital until springing time.  The trip will be many train rides back and forth for me and lots of driving back and forth to the baby home but I am strangely happy that it will be this way.  Now, I did say that I enjoyed the train ride the best (skipped the part of the sleeping pill induced stupor which may have involved some sleep type walking down the cabin car to the toilet in the middle of the night... but I don't know those people and they thought I was some sort of nun or something on a missionary visit and I will never tell them any different.)  This trip isn't about me - I'm an adult and I can reason my way through things... for my boy, I am happy that he won't have to endure transport by strangers to Khabarovsk and a stay at the baby hospital all so that I am saved a few train rides and travel inconvenience.  I am certain that this is NOT thrilling to my facilitator but for little man... I am happy.  In exchange for the extra cost of hotel and driver for the 10 days I will get to take a more relaxed view of his home and the wonderful women who care for him.  When I was there I functioned... point A to B... take pictures... freak out in private... drink water... eat Luna bars... send emails... follow instructions... pay bills... take sleeping pills and gravol... sleep... repeat in the morning.  I would have missed seing the playground outside the home in the spring, I wouldn't be able to take a photo of the orphanage plaque on the wall of the baby home (missed it when I was there), photos of the care givers, cards that I would like them to write to my boy wishing him luck and telling him something special that they like about him, a celebration party for the kids and for the care givers, I want to see if they will let me take a photo of the play room and maybe some of his friends (I think they will... I didn't ask - I was too afraid)... I want to relax next time... I want to breathe and enjoy the trip.  I want to bundle him up and play with him in the sun and breeze, I want to see if he likes the Ergo carrier, I want to find out his schedule, likes, dislikes, I want to ask more questions about his birth family, I want to get to know him on his turff before I rip him from everything he has ever known.  I feel like I owe it to him to offer up the "discomfort" of my travels to make it as comfortable as I can for him. 
This silver lining wasn't hard for me to find... in fact, I am positive I wanted it this way all along.