Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back-to-school is killing me

Why, oh why does back-to-school time have to be so insane? I took Katie shopping last week for clothes. The child continues to grow so none of her pants fit, and heaven forbid if she wears shorts (even though it's 100 degrees outside) The school forbids shorts that do not reach the ends of their fingertips. The problem is, even if her shorts are that long, she has so much leg still showing they send her to change anyway. Capris are OK, but we have never had any luck with shorts or skirts.
So we head off to the local Mall, which resides in the middle of Preppie-ville. It is, of course, swamped with other families scrambling to outfit their kids at the last minute. We don't usually wait until the week before school starts, but this year Katie was at her dad's then on vacation the previous 3 weeks, so it was last-minute or nothing. We start at one end of the mall and work our way thru the 'cool' shops. She finds shirts, shoes, accessories, etc., but no pants. It's not her being picky, either. They just don't have her size. She is a size 2 with a 36 inch inseam. Seriously. I couldn't make that up. She is built like Barbie and if she wasn't my child I would hate her. We end up at a pricey jeans store that specializes in unique sizes. They have all their jeans by waist size and length. Voila! We find pants! We even find one pair on sale ($66) The other two were $98 each. (Chris, take a deep breath and sit down!) The one good thing is these are much better quality than the ones we have gotten from the 'cool' stores in the past. There, you have to pay extra for the tears and worn spots. Maybe these will actually last. We got them slightly long, too. (37 inches) so if she grows more this year she can still wear them. We trak thru the remaining parts of the mall, pick up the last few items and wearily head home. (OK, so I was weary, she was still bopping around full of energy)
Then there are the school supplies. I fondly remember the days of paying $30 for pre-packaged school supply kits. Ahhh, the ease, the simplicity. Now, in high school, each class has a separate list. These are handed out during the first week of classes. Then all the parents head to the 2 local stores to buy up all the needed items. Katie got her list for geometry yesterday, so I stopped off on my way home.
Protractor - check
Ruler with metric - check
Scientific Calculator - check
graph paper - check
compass - none to be found
I get home, minus the compass, and find out I forgot binders. Arghh! So much for my mental list. Today at lunch I will be off to find a compass and binders. Then tonight I will get the next list.....
Levi started Pre-K a couple of weeks ago. He went to preschool last year 2 half-days a week, so I didn't think this would be any different. He is at a different school, 2 full days a week, one that is more convenient for me. The first couple of days went well. Then they had a day where they brought in a water slide for the kids, as an end-of-summer celebration. I guess the kids got a little wild and noisy and Levi got overwhelmed. Ever since then he has been afraid of school, cries uncontrollably and has a complete meltdown. This is so not like Levi. On Tuesday when I tried to get him dressed he ended up wound around the legs of the desk, hanging on for dear life, begging not to go. I ended up leaving him home with nanny. Again, this morning, if I even mentioned school, he fell apart. I am going to withdraw him today. I can't see how traumatizing him is going to help. I will wait a few weeks and then see if he can re-join his old school. It is not as convenient, but much smaller, quieter and more controlled.
Ashley is living with her Dad in Dallas and going to school there. She is in 7th grade and a cheerleader. Her dad got the joy of getting her ready for school this year. (I can't say that without grinning, so I apologize) Dad's don't usually get to experience the special joy that back-to-school brings. Especially shopping with a pre-teen girl. I have this picture in my head of him trying to help her find clothes, shoes and accessories. Ashley is our prima donna and I am sure she led him a merry chase thru the stores. Good thing he is a good sport and a good shopper. He is a fun dad, so they probably had a great time. I'm sad I missed it......

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Can Duct Tape Fix This?

When I was growing up, my Dad was the best fix-it guy in the whole world. He could fix anything. His favorite tools? Duct tape, super glue and a piece of wire. (You would have to ask my mom how many times he glued parts of himself together) He was a vertiable McGuyver with those three things. I was Daddy's shadow and used to go with him on erands and to the hardware store, always there to hold the flashlight (although never quite correctly) and hand him a screwdriver. I learned a lot of my handy-girl skills from him.

So fast forward to the present day. We are in the new house, which is way cool (sorry, hanging out with my kids too much) and there are about a zillion little projects to do. During the week I get nothing done. I leave for work at 6:30 am, get home at 5:30 pm, cook, clean, run kids to practices, bathe kids, try and talk to my husband (I think I still recognize him) and prepare to do it all over again the next day. The weekends are set aside for 'projects'. The list is endless, but it just got ten times worse. Our house was hit by lightning Monday afternoon. Luckily, per the new housing codes, we have the whole house grounded to the foundation, otherwise the damage could have been so much worse. As it is, the security system is fried, we lost some light switches, blew one TV completely, tripped all the breakers and whatever else I have yet to find. Also, our main PC is down. That happened before the lightning, though. Chris downloaded the latest Window's updates and now the computer goes into emergency shutdown mode every time you start it up. Even the Safe Mode cannot start it up. Help Geek Squad! That computer has all my pictures and camera software on it, although I have systematically been backing up all my photos to disks. I still can't download anything new.

We also do not have grass. We spent all weekend preparing for grass. I picked up rocks, sticks, and construction debris, killed weeds, raked and smoothed dirt for HOURS in the 100 degree heat, only to have it RAIN yet again. All the topsoil we hauled out of the ditches? Yep, right back in the ditch. The best part? Our 120 pound lab will not get his paws wet and muddy so he has taken to relieving himself on the driveway. Do you have any idea how much poo a 120 pound dog generates or how incredibly vile it can smell in the heat? Don't think I haven't thought of using duct tape and super glue to fix that problem!!!

So right now I have a brand new roll of duct tape, the double pack of super glue and a bunch of wire......and no way to use them to fix the stuff that is broken. Daddy????? Help!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Total emotional 180

The past few weeks I have been down and depressed about our adoptions. Who wouldn't have been after this long and no child home yet? Then late last week I found out that they have the first DNA test scheduled on Ahren for this week. That is the first real step in the adoption process. They test the mother and the child, as required by US law, to ensure that the woman relinquishing the child has the right to do so. It's sad that this is necessary, but in the past there were children stolen and sold for adoptions. Some say that still happens, but the US government has instituted this step to stop it. Once the results are back (and they match) then the US Embassy in Guatemala reviews the information and issues Pre-Approval (PA). This is a very important step in the process. At the same time the embassy is doing their review, a family court (FC) in Guatemala will be doing the same thing. They also interview the birth mom to insure that she understands her rights and is willingly relinquishing the child. Both PA and FC are necessary before the case can go to the final authority, PGN, for approval. In PBJ's case, it took 2 months total for both PA and FC to be completed and the file submitted to PGN. The timeline for Ahren's will be longer because the US Embassy is now taking quite a bit longer to issue PA.
And then, as if that wasn't exciting enough, I found out this morning that PBJ's file is on the Director of PGN's desk, waiting on his signature. Once he signs, she will be legally our daughter! We would travel to bring her home about 6 weeks after that point. In that 6 weeks they obtain a new birth certificate for her with us as her parents and with our last name for her. They schedule a second DNA test on her to insure she is the same baby we started out with (a new rule instated because there wereme babies mixed up recently and the wrong ones sent home with families) They issue a passport and other legal docs for her, then I will fly down there, attend her final Visa appointment at the embassy and fly home with her. FLY HOME WITH HER! Seriously, can that be real? She might be home close to her first birthday. Come on Sr. Barrios, get out your pen and sign our file!!!!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Roundup at the Not-So-OK Corral

I thought about titling this post 'Wherfore Art Thou Bootstraps' but thought that a bit wordy. You know the old saying, pull yourself up by the bootstraps? Well, I feel like I need to do that but my bootstraps are missing! So why do I feel that way? Hmm, let's see.

The summer is over and the kids go back to school next week. That makes me sad. Summer is chaotic, loud, crazy and the best part of the year. I love having them all around. I know, insanity, but that's me!

No word on PBJ's case. With all the unrest in Guatemala right now, and having to switch her to a new foster home, I have been so worried about her.

The letdown after visiting. The joy holds me for a while and then I just sink lower. Wah! I want my babies!!!!!

No new developments in Ahren's case yet. Supposedly they have the first DNA test scheduled for next week, but I will not believe it until I see it. After 20 months waiting for this step to take place, I am certainly not getting excited. I am also worried about him and his Foster mom with all the unrest.

On a good note, we did get the concrete poured at our house, in between Tropical Storm Erin and Hurricane Dean induced showers. We will spend this weekend doing further prep work and gardening, and then sod is supposed to arrive Monday. It will probably take 2 days to get it down. We are getting 2 semi loads. Stupid huge yard!

I have been putting out food for the deer. It seems like they all have babies right now! There are 3 sets of twins, plus a dozen other fawns. I have pix but haven't downloaded them yet. So every day we wake up to deer and fawns in our yard. How sweet is that? I fed them corn and also flax seed. I ran out of corn so last night I put out carrots. They ate them all! We will pick up deer corn this weekend at the feed store so I will have 'official' deer food for them. We need to get a salt/mineral block too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Can't let it go

Another blogger reported this week that her son was in a serious accident. When she got the call she was 2 hours away with her 2 youngest in the car. Her drive back must have felt so surreal and I can certainly empathize with the terror in her heart. Yesterday marked the 4 month anniversary of Katie's accident. I no longer think of it every day, but I have started dreaming about it. The dreams are always the same. The call, rushing to the scene, not being able to find her, to see her. The sounds of the Life flight helicopter. The darkness lit up by flashing lights and spotlights. Terror. Heart-pounding uncontrollably terror. Maybe this is the way my mind is working through it. Kind of an exorcism of the pain through dreams.

Physically she is all healed up but emotionally we both have a ways to go. She is dealing with it better than I am. I wonder sometimes if she really understands the severity of what happened? Can her teenage, undeveloped brain grasp the real impact of what nearly happened? Somehow I don't think so. Maybe that is a safety mechanism for kids. Maybe they are not equipped to deal with the serious stuff yet, so they are unable to process it like we do.

Here is the car at the scene. The front passenger seat is on the upside of the car, and the crumpled door is what is sticking up into the air. This is how the car landed after it rolled and hit the cement culvert.

This is the seat where katie was sitting. The metal across the doorway is actually the frame of the car, pushed up when it hit the culvert. Only because the frame came up like this was Katie's seat not ejected from the car. As it was, it came loose and the headrest was actually sticking out of the window. Her right hip and leg took the brunt of the force, pulling her hip out of the socket momentarily and fracturing her leg. Miniscule injuries in the bigger picture. I can only think that God held her in his hands as that car tumbled out of control. That his tender care kept her safe from serious injury or worse. My own little miracle.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mr. Smartypants and the endless questions

I may be a proud Mama and all, but I think Levi is very bright. He is also very, very curious. He asks me a million questions a day (an exageration, but it feeeeels like a million) I took him grovery shopping on Saturday. Here is what is sounded like:

L: What is that?
M: Pickles
L: P..P...Pickles. What letter does that start with
M: P
L: Why?
M: That's how you spell pickles. The letter P makes the ppp sound.
L: Why?
M: It just does.
L: Why? Why? Why?
M: when they invented the alphabet they made up letters for the sounds in speech.
L: Why?

Now multiply that by everything he saw in the store.....

If I say I don't know, he asks a million more times, getting louder and louder. Then, there are the random questions. Like these (and my answers)

L: Why do ants get cranky?
M: Because they are small and people step on them.

L: Are my thumbs the same size?
M: Yes

L: Why do I have a crack in my bottom?
M: To allow toots to come out.

L: Can we throw cupcakes at bad guys?
M: Yes

This kid is wearing me out. Between laughing and wracking my brain for answers, I am beat!

Recently Chris bought him a set of learning games for the computer. He loves them! The Reader Rabbit Math is his favorite. It's set up like a carnival and he wins tickets for correct answers and then can spend the tickets to buy prizes. He very quickly learned the games and can happily entertain himself for a long time. We break up the computer time, though. I don't like the idea of a child in front of a computer, TV or Nintendo for hours, even if it is educational. Kids need to jump and play and explore and get dirty. In fact, that's one of the things that sold me on his school. They alternate 20 minutes of sitting work with 20 minutes of active learning. The perfect combo for a 4 year old boy (or girl!)

Friday, August 17, 2007

200 Days

It's official. Today is our 200th day in PGN. Two hundred days. What can I say? (At least, what can I say that is printable to the general public!) Let her OUT! Now! Or I am gonna go all Mama Bear on you and it won't be pretty!!!!!!

PBJ at 6 days old
PBJ at 9 months old

Thursday, August 16, 2007

All my fault....

This is Tropical Storm Erin. She is all my fault! You see, ever since we built our house it has been raining. I have named our house The Ark because of it. It had finally cleared off and we were having dry, hot weather, normal for this time of year. So we scheduled the additional concrete work around our house and then we can get the sprinklers and sod laid. Today was the day to pour the concrete. So, of course, we get hit with a tropical storm dead-on, and what's worse is we are on the 'dirty' side, the side that dumps buckets of rain. See the deepest red portion of the radar? That's us. I am so sick of mud, mud, mud. I swear, once we get grass in the yard I am going to roll around in it and praise it's glory!!!

PBJ Update: Some of you have seen the news about Guatemalan orphanages being raided and police arresting people who are associated with adoptions. It is a mess down there right now. Many people are hoping that after the presidential elections in September that things will cool off. I hope that's true. The stress of the situation was too much for PBJ's foster mother. She quit and actually moved away to insure the safety of her family. I feel so bad for her. She is a wonderful woman and cared so much for PBJ. It makes me sick that she is that frightened. They have moved PBJ to a new foster home, and have all the kids in hiding right now. No children are to leave the homes except for an emergency. Her agency is wonderful and seems to really care about the welfare of the children. I know it wasn't easy to give me this news, but they did it in a kind and gentle way. I trust that they will do whatever is needed to keep our daughter safe.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Blame Game

As a follow-up to yesterdays post, I want to talk about blame. As I have mentioned before, it seems some people feel that we are to blame for our horrific adoption experience. We should have been more careful. We should have made better choices. Etc, etc. I admit that I hold some of the blame. I did the research, I chose the agency, I got us into this mess. But am I really to blame?

How much of the blame does the agency deserve? Honestly, they can't control what goes on in a foreign country with a foreign government. I understand that and I never expected them to be able to. I went in with my eyes wide open. No naive misconceptions that it would be perfect. I knew things could go wrong and that there were risks. I just didn't realize that some of the risks were being dealt to me by my own agency, or at least by their ommission of certain details.

How much of the blame does the facilitator in Guatemala deserve? He offered up a child that was not legally available. He is less than forthcoming with information. He is downright difficult and his attornies work at a snails pace. They have misplaced our file, accidentally submitted it to family court without a birth certificate, and dragged their feet at every step in the process. Are they ultimately to blame?

And how about the system in Guatemala? Is it to blame? A system where there are essentially no government controls over the process and where there seem to be no rules or regulations? Where there seems to be little regard to the welfare of the children and yet they have no system in place to take care of unwanted kids if adoptions stop?

How about people who used a bad agency in the past and yet never spoke up about their ordeals? Did no one have a bad time with our agency before we came along? I sure found no evidence of it at the time I was researching agencies. Not a peep. Did this agency have some sort of mid-life crisis and go from decent to indicted in 2 years time? (By the way, every case I cited yesterday is from my agency in the past 2 years and I have spoken with each and every one of those families)

Should I blame the birth mother who messed up the birth certificate that then took 18 months to correct?

Or maybe the blame lies on God for allowing bad things to happen in this world?

You know what, blame is an ugly thing. It doesn't solve anything. It doesn't fix anything. It just festers and rots away at my soul. I have spent too much time blaming myself already. I wish I had a dime for every time I have kicked myself. What is worthwhile is spreading the word that it's time to clean up the system, not only in Guatemala but everywhere. Right the wrongs and make adoption about the children, about matching children and families, about creating healthy, happy families. It's not going to be easy, and it won't be quick, but it is important. In fact, it is one of the most important things I have ever been involved with. Come on everybody, we have to do this for the kids. Yeeeehah!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Defining 'Fraud' in adoptions

It starts out so innocently. The desire for a child. Whether you pursue adoption because of infertility issues or just the desire to adopt, you dream of bringing home a child to love and cherish. You research the options. What fits best for you? Domestic or international? Infant or older child? China, Guatemala, Africa, Columbia......the choices are intimidating. But you choose.
Next, you need an agency. (Technically, there are some cases you don't need one, but the majority do) The agency is there to assist you in finding 'your' child. The adoption process is complex and variable and the role of the agency should be to navigate that for you and act as your advocate. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.
You know my story. We were matched to our son who was not legally available for adoption. After 18 months, hiring additional attorneys and shedding many tears, we have made a little progress. He is now supposedly legally available, if they can find the birthmother to come in for the DNA test and sign off her rights. Was our agency guilty of fraud or just negligence? I guess the courts will be deciding that.....
Here are some other stories. I'll leave it up to you to decide for yourselves where the line is crossed into fraud.
Family A turned to adoption because their first biological child has a severe medical condition that other children could also be born with. Because they are already dealing with a seriously special needs child, they made it very clear they could not accept a child with major issues. They were matched to a baby boy and monthly medical updates showed him to be healthy. The family asked repeatedly about the child, and even after the agency people visited the child the reports were all that he was healthy and on target. The adoption completed and the family traveled to pick up their son. The child they were handed was limp, blue, and obviously very ill. They flew back to the states and he was immediately admitted to the hospital in critical condition. He had a serious congenital heart defect, a life threatening infection, and severe delays. It took 10 days of hospitalization to stabilize him enough to perform the open heart surgery to save his life.
Family B was matched to a little girl. They were told she was 3 years old only to learn later she was actually 5, the same age as their other daughter. They got regular updates on the progress of the case, but began to doubt the truth after many many months of delays. They hired extra help and learned that the child was not legally available and never had been, and that all the 'progress' they had been told was a lie. Now, over 2 years later, she still is not available legally yet the family cannot get their money back or get answers about this girl.
Family C was matched to a set of twins, paid their double-fees and sent in all the paperwork. They waited and waited for the case to begin, then after many months were told the birth mother had reclaimed the children. After some digging, they found that the twins had been matched to another family before they were matched with them and the agency knew this all along. The birth mother had never reclaimed them. The agency refused to refund the money and was never able to produce a new referral.
Family D accepted the referral of an infant boy, conditional on having an IA doctor review the records. In order to hold the child for them, they had to pay the first half of the fees up front. The IA doctor saw too many warning signs and told the family to pass on this child. The agency told the family, as per the contract, that they could not refund their money but would get them a new referral. Months passed, excuses were given, no new referral was offered. In the meantime, other families were receiving referrals. This family has been waiting over a year.
If I hired someone to perform a service for me, say cleaning my carpets, and they promise to clean them and do it this week, and I pay them to do it, then I have the expectation that I will have clean carpets by the end of the week. If I contract with an adoption agency to facilitate my adoption of a child, and they state that the average timeframe is 6-8 months, the children are healthy and they will keep me updated, then what can I truly expect? I know there are no guarantees on timeframes, but I expected that it would be CLOSE to the time they stated. I expected to be matched to a child that was legally adoptable. I expected to be kept updated with the TRUTH. And if something went wrong, which I knew was a possibility, then they would do whatever they needed to do to fix it or find me a new child. Instead I got lies, threats, intimidation, charged bogus fees, and emotionally put thru the wringer. This is definitely NOT what I thought I contracted for!
So why is adoption any different than another service? If anything, because human lives are at stake, it should be held to a higher level of accountability. Did you know that many states do not have any licensing requirements or legislation governing the actions of adoption agencies? Completely unregulated. That is terrifying!
This is clearly a case of a few bad apples spoiling the whole thing. Adoption is a wonderful thing and many agencies provide terrific service. I always tell people that when they are researching agencies, find out how they performed when things went wrong. That is when the truth comes out. Anyone can look good when things are all smooth sailing. But how did they do when the proverbial defecation hit the fan?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Happy Weekend

I know that weekends can be the toughest for adopting families since nothing happens during them. I still like weekends, though, because I can put aside my anxiety and relax. This past weekend was special. My in-laws and nephew Curt stopped in for a short visit. They got to see our new house, spend time with us and the kids and do some good ol' catching up. They had just gotten off a 5-day cruise out of new Orleans, and drove from there to Houston just for us. They left this morning on their way back to northern Missouri. It was too short, much too short of a visit! I am very bl;essed to have wonderful in-laws. My only complaint is that I don't get to see them often enough!!!!
I have another reason why weekends are wonderful. I get to spend time with my kids. Levi, especially, was in full swing this weekend showing off and being silly.
We have a new tradition of getting hotcakes and sausage from McD's after church. (Can anyone read his shirt*? He did NOT wear that to church! It's a hand-me down for yard work only.....Hee!)
Ta Dah!
Everyone look at me!!!!


Here's my silly face.....

I wonder if I can put both of my hands in my mouth?

Levi decided he wanted to see if Mina's clothes would fit him. Yep, sure enough, they do. (Mina is my friend's daughter who comes to our house each day to stay with Nanny. Levi thought she was his brother Ahren for a long time....)

You can't see me, you can't see me....

* His shirt reads 'My Hooters Mom beat up your soccer mom'

I have witnesses finally that Levi says the strangest things. I really have the feeling that people must think I make this stuff up. (Or that I am on some drug-induced trip where I hear voices....) But honestly, Levi says some of the most incredible things.

My MIL, Curt, Levi and I were on the way to WalMart. We were chatting about stuff, when Levi pipes up from his car seat. He asks, 'Can you bury frozen underwear in the ground?' There was a moment of silence..... followed by our laughter. He speaks very clearly, so there is no misunderstanding him. His next question was, 'Do they bury dead people in the ground'?. I try and answer his question accurately, when I can. Oh, and he wants to be Sponge Bob when he grows up. Yup, all those parenting skills are really paying me back......

Friday, August 10, 2007

My apologies

I would like to apologize for some of my language of late. When I get angry or really upset, I resort to not-nice language. Therefore, today I bring you a lovely poem.

" Summer " a poem by Abigail Elizabeth McIntyre


It's Hot !

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Cut the Holier-than-thou Crap, OK?

Earlier this week, on a website called, a blog post appeared about the case against Waiting Angels and ethics in adoption. is an adoption website that provides photolistings of children. We didn't find either of our kids from a photolisting but I do love to look at them. Anyway, here is alink to the story on Precious.

At first I thought how wonderful it is that someone else is sharing the word about the pain we have suffered......then I started thinking about it a little more. And then I read the comments. More of the same stuff we have heard before. "If only we had researched them we wouldn't have been in this situation", "You should have used a good agency, like I did", "You can protect yourself by checking agencies out first". These people want to believe that if they contact the BBB and there are no complaints, then the agency is fine. That by talking to hand-selected references that they can get an honest idea of what the agency is like. That just a little bit of research can prevent someone from taking advantage of you.

Let me set you straight. If someone wants to con you, they are going to make sure that your research finds nothing. They aren't going to have you talk to a reference that isn't favorable. They aren't going to join the BBB where complaints can be lodged. And furthermore, there are many agencies that contractually prohibit saying anything negative about them and will use many different threats to keep unhappy clients 'in line'. Seriously, many many people I have talked to have been threatened with having their adoptions pulled if they speak up. Intimidation at it's ugliest.

I am glad people report they have used good agencies and had good experiences. That is how it is supposed to be. But don't look down your noses at us who didn't get the good experience and accuse us of being at fault. You very easily could have been in the same shoes we are. Don't go congratulating yourselves on being smarter than we are. We are not stupid, we didn't do anything to deserve this.

So let me say this, once more, loud and clear. Bad things happen to good people. We aren't giving up, we won't back down and we are fightin mad. It's time that everyone pulled together to get rid of every unethical, greedy, corrupt or just plain inept agency. The lives of the children depends on it.

What I want to be when I grow up....

First, let me say that I don't think my dear hubby thinks I am quite as funny as I think I am. I had a lot of fun writing yesterday's post, but he didn't seem amused. I thought it was some seriously funny material. I guess I had better not quit my day job....

So what do I want to be when I grow up since my comedy career is dead? Let me give you a hint:

I want to be a chef. I want to create fabulous food. I want to have a cooking show on the Food Network. I want to take classes at the CIA (Culinary Institute of Arts) and learn pastry skills. I want to spend all day in a kitchen experimenting with new recipes. That would be heaven....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lessons in Communication

I have the best husband. He is sweet and caring, handsome, kind, a great father and the love of my life. He is also the strong silent type. Me, I'm more the chatty-Kathy type. Here is a snippet from a conversation we had this weekend.

Me: Wow, I am so pleased with the way the flower bed turned out.
Him: Mmmm-hmmm.
Me: I love the boulders. It's weird how sometimes something you picture in your head works out so well.
Him: Mmmm.
Me: I am so happy with it! This was a good bit of work we did.
Him: Um-hmmm.

See what I mean? Not a lot of feedback there, and yet I know he likes it. So, I have thought up how the conversation could have gone to make it better.....

Me: Wow, I am so pleased with the way the flower bed turned out.
Him: It really is nice, isn't it.
Me: I love the boulders. It's weird how sometimes something you picture in your head works out so well.
Him: Those really add just the right touch.
Me: I am so happy with it! This was a good bit of work we did.
Him: We really did a good job.

Or, to put it over the top, home-run, outta the park.......

Me: Wow, I am so pleased with the way the flower bed turned out.
Him: It is fantastic. I am amazed at how perfect it is!
Me: I love the boulders. It's weird how sometimes something you picture in your head works out so well.
Him: Honey, you are a genius! You have a real knack for landscaping.
Me: I am so happy with it! This was a good bit of work we did.
Him: I am so lucky I married you. You are the best. Here, let me rub your back and make you dinner.

Hmmm, maybe I would do better if I stopped making him the butt of my redneck jokes.......

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Oh my aching back

So landscaping continues around our place. I want to get the majority of the beds in before the sod comes so it will make it that much easier to show them where to put it. Here are some photos of how much we have done and how far we have to go.....

You might be a redneck if...... your idea of entertaining the kids is to ride around on the tractor. **

I wanted something to give interest and variety to the biggest bed in front, so I picked out two rocks. Turned out the one on the bottom was 1600 pounds and the smaller one was 700 pounds. They used a forklift to place them where I wanted them.

The small beds along the front are filled with rainbow rock so that the water off the roof doesn't wipe out the beds. (No gutters....yet)
I picked plants that will not get huge, require much trimming, are drought and full-sun tolerant and that deer won't normally eat. I used the heaviest landscape fabric I could buy so maybe, just maybe, the weeds won't be a problem for a few years.
I also picked plants that butterflies and hummingbirds will like.

The spot on the back right is where I will place a large tree to anchor the back corner and frame the house from the street. I didn't have enough time or energy left to get that done t his weekend, but next weekend is coming soon!

This week my hubby has a crew coming to pour more concrete, adding a patio, walkways and more parking. Then the sod will come. Forty pallets of sod...yikes! We are paying to have them lay it. I like to work hard, but that is way too much for us to try and do! Especially given the temps right now (heat index around 115 degrees)

** I am not calling my husband a redneck. Just having a little fun at his expense! (Hee!!!)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Why you do dat?

I am pretty much an open book about our adoptions. In the 2 years we have been actively pursuing them I have talked, written, posted and told our storiy to anyone who would listen. It is no secret to anyone who knows us.

A couple of weeks ago Levi was invited to a birthday party for a friend's child. At the party were lots of other families that I did not know. People would ask if levi was my only child, and I would answer that I have 5 kids. Two older girls and a boy and girl we are adopting. I know this opens me up for questions, and people can ask the strangest things. I have a great sense of humor and nothing they say bothers me.

At this particular party was an older woman who was raised in China. She had the most pleasant accent and was so nice. She was asking me about my kids, and when I mentioned we were adopting, she asked me, "Why you do dat?" She didn't say it in a way to make me feel like she thought I was crazy or that she didn't like it. She was genuinely curious why. So I told her and her eyes sparkled. She told me we were good and she wanted to meet my children once they were home.

I smiled all the way home. Not because she deemed us good, or that she didn't look down her nose at us because we were adopting. I felt good because our story made her smile. I have no idea if adoption has personally touched her life, but I could see her joy in watching all of the children at the party. Next year we will have 2 more to add to the bunch at the party....

Friday, August 03, 2007

How could you not love a face like this

He is such a sweet child. Calm and happy, easy-going, sweet natured to the nth degree. Those personality traits should make it easier for him to transition when he finally gets to come home. Then again, he may be in college before this process completes!

Back around the time that the whole story of Waiting Angels was breaking all over the news, there was a lot of discussion on the forumns and various boards about the situation. Most of it was supportive, but I remember one woman who over and over again asked how anyone could have signed with them. How could we be so stupid and not see the warning signs? In her opinion, apparently, we were getting what we deserved for not being more careful. Careful? Let's see. I researched agencies all over the internet and there was nothing bad about WA. I talked to other clients, both in process and with a child home and there was nothing bad about them. I checked the BBB and you guessed it, nothing bad about them. No forumn posts, no agency bashing, no lawsuits, no red flags that I could find.

At the time, her comments stung me terribly. Somehow this was all my fault. We would have our child home if I hadn't been so stupid. In hindsight, she is full of shit. Yep, a cuss word in print. That's how strongly I feel about her (and others) judgment of us. Not only had we been dealt a terrible blow and had our hearts shredded, we had people like this making it so much worse. Honestly, I think the people who felt like this woman did were trying to convince themselves that this sort of thing would never happen to them. That the people who ended up in these situations had done something to be there, they deserved it and should have seen it coming.

Bad things happen to good people. God has a plan and the plan includes us and this little boy. It includes a long and difficult journey. It has tested us in many ways, made us stronger, more determined and more committed. It has led us to reach out to others and lend a hand of support. I wish it had been easier. Who wouldn't? But this is our journey and we must embrace it. Besides, how could anyone say No to that face........

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

PBJ Update

After we learned while in Guatemala that PBJ's case had been kicked out again, we have been waiting to hear why, how it was fixed and when it was resubmitted. Finally, today, we got the answers. Here is what happened:

PBJ's mother is indigenous Mayan. She is from a tiny village that speaks a distinct dialect of Spanish. When she applied for her 'cedula' or birth document, they listed her as mute, since she could not speak to them and did not understand the other people. She isn't deaf and is not really mute, she just didn't understand the language. So, when the adoption files reached the reviewer, they had doubts as to whether the birth mom really understood her rights and the decision she was making. They had to schedule her to be interviewed with an interpretor and also get her documents corrected to not state that she is mute. This is all completed now and the files are back into PGN for several weeks. That starts the 8-10 week wait all over again. Back to the bottom of the pile.

Also, the US Embassy announced yesterday that they are adding a second DNA test on the child to the already-complicated process. The second test would come at the end of the porcess to insure the child was still the same one. Who knows if this will add more delays and how much it will cost. Hopefully it won't be too bad!

If we could just get her home before her first birthday in October.....