Major Adoption-Related Events

  • 09-04-29 Part One Sponsorship Application Completed and Sent
  • 08-11-04 Dossier in Ethiopia -- the wait begins
  • 08-10-24 Dossier on its way to Ethiopia
  • 08-10-23 Dossier back to Imagine
  • 08-10-17 Dossier to Ottawa
  • 08-10-07 Dossier (finally complete) at Imagine
  • 08-09-10 Dossier (most) Sent to Imagine
  • 08-09-04 Provincial Approval Received
  • 08-07-08 Completed Dossier Sent to Province for Approval
  • 08-06-26 HAR Signed and sent back to ABC
  • 08-05-16 HAR Started
  • 08-04-22 Int'l Adoption Self-Study Course Completed
  • 08-04-07 Application sent to ABC
  • 08-02-19 Initial Application faxed to Imagine
  • 08-02-16 References Requested from Friends

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year All!

We came back a couple of days ago from our post-Christmas trip to the Rockies. What a great time we had in Jasper, skiing at Marmot! I thought that Jonah would finally be old enough for ski lessons this year -- when we were skiing Smithers, we were told they had to be three -- but unfortunately, Jonah had to be FOUR at Marmot. Oh well. We had a great time anyway. We spent some time skiing on the kiddy hill, mooching advice off of the ski instructors about how best to teach Jonah how to ski on his own. We were told that the best way for kidlets to learn to turn is to use airplane arms. Basically, if you want to turn one direction, tilt your arms (one up, one down) so that you are showing your armpit to the direction that you want to go. Seems counter-intuitive to me-- I'd've thought it was the other way around -- but it totally works! So Jonah practiced going one way and then the other on the hill (still on the harness), and then we played red light green light on a slower run, so he "french fried" (kept his skis parallel) to go, and "pizza-ed" (snow plowed) to stop. It was the best ski trip we'd had, hands down!

Well, in all fairness, the dynamics between the members of the family were not at an all time high. Take five over-played, under-rested people and stick them in the same place for three days straight, and there are bound to be some clashes. Add to that the fact that my two sisters are a couple of pre-pubescent hormonal gals, and well, you can guess. But even so, it was a sweet trip. The second day of skiing, Jonah was right tuckered out by mid morning, so after lunch, I put him in the daycare at the hill for the rest of the afternoon, and had the chance to ditch my rental skis and go snowboarding on my new Roman deck. LOVE IT!! It was so much fun! And while I ski so that Jonah will soon be skilled enough to be off leash and we can zip around the hill together, I really am not a big fan of skiing. I never really got great at it, despite starting when I was four. So I started snowboarding at 16 and have never looked back -- until I had a small child who could not ski between my legs when I was snowboarding. So I've skied the last couple of years, but I think by this time next year, I will have respite from the skis, because Jonah will be able to hold him own.
When we arrived home on Monday, however, our happy holiday was abruptly ended by the smell of poo as we came into the house. My dogs were downstairs (Felix in the kennel, because he chews) and he had pooped in his kennel. Apparently they (both of my dogs, but not my mam's) had had diarrhea since we left. Every evening when John, our dog-sitter came to let the pups out before bed, there was feces. And every evening, John would clean and bleach our floors. Good Man! But I guess Felix had defecated on his rug in his kennel, so John replaced it with a pillow, so when I came home, not only was the brown stuff everywhere, but it was mushed into the pillow fluff that covered the floor! Excellent! I'm sure nobody wants anymore details than that (I'm sure some have already stopped reading -- sorry) but yeah. Gross. So not a great welcome home, and the pups are still sick, even a couple of days later. I finally called the vet today, thinking if it was something they had eaten, it should be out of their system by now, but the vet said, no, it could still be something they ate, so I've been instructed to have them fast today, and then start them on a different diet for a week or so, to reset their systems.
So yeah, generally good times around the holidays. My sister bought me for Christmas some sweet paper from Close To My Heart (she's a demonstrator), and an 8 x 8 album to scrap my trip to Ethiopia. So sweet! I love this Boom-Di-Ada paper:

And I'm also looking forward to soon starting a cloth album to send to my sweet girl, once the referral has been made. We will print out pictures from the computer onto cloth and then use other fabrics to scrap instead of paper, so that she can see pictures of the family and if she chews on us, no big deal. The Ethiopia trip pages I would really like to have the templates for them finished before I go to Ethiopia, so that when I return, it'll just be a matter of picking photos to crop and glue in.

I know, I know, I have nothing BUT time at this point, but even so, it is nice to think that somewhere in the foreseeable future, there is an end to this whole crazy deal. So I will keep my crafty self occupied for the moment, pouring my affection to this as of yet unmet daughter of mine, via scrapbooks. And clothes. Oh mercy! I went to the Children's Place Monster sale yesterday, and had to practice some serious self-restraint. One thing I can be sure of is I will have one stylish girl, once she's home.

Speaking of coming home, Karen is back with Phoebe. I thought of her so many times in the last couple of weeks, waiting with baited breath for any updates, and when I finally made it onto the computer this morning, was overjoyed at the many posts and pictures that she has put out since coming home with her daughter. I'm living vicariously through her right now, comforting myself with the mantra, "Someday my turn." Someday.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas All!

Having had an absolutely blissful day myself, spending time with the family, I hope you all are making the most of the holiday, and I am praying for the many upcoming court dates, especially those of you who are up for round two in the courts, that all goes well and your babes are home soon.
My Jonah said something so sweet on Tuesday, as we were driving to a friend's for dinner, that I just have to share it. Warms my heart, that kid! Here it is:
J: I have a secret to tell you.
M: What's that?
J: When we get home, I am going to give you one of my quiet time toys to keep!
M: Wow, that's so nice!
J: I'm going to give you two!
M: You are so sweet, Jonah.
(after a minute's pause...)
J: I'm a keeping boy.
M: I don't know what that means.
J: I'm going to give away all my toys to keep.
M: That is so nice, Jonah. You must have a really big heart.
J: Cause you kiss me so much!

Makes me think I'm doing it right!
We're heading off to the mountains tomorrow, which I'm totally looking forward to. It's holidays, and so I should have nothing but time to spend with my boy, but the truth is, with all the people and multitudes of distractions (namely new Playmobil toys for Jonah, and a Wii for my sisters that has me distracted), I miss him and feel like I haven't spent enough time with him. These next few days of being together in the great outdoors will be good for the spirit.

Sweet girl of mine, wherever you may be right now, I'm thinking of you and praying you are well and healthy and loved. I'm missing you already.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wooo-Hoooo! Holidays!

Jonah taking off the ski boots (March 07)

I have been a little out of touch with this blog lately, as my internet is not working at home (apparently the phone company expects payment or something? Who can understand the inner-workings of these crazy companies?). Whatever, I'll square up the bill, but if they can't bother with an automated phone call to inform me I'm about to get cut of, I'll shop around for a different company. Maybe I'll bundle my satellite, phone, and internet with Shaw. Whatever. My fault I know, but, meh. It'll all work out.
On the up side I AM HOOOOOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Two weeks out of P-town and hanging out with family and friends in Edmonton. We are already having a great time. Games night last night at my sisters, and for today Christmas shopping with the brother-in-law, lunch with my best friend, dinner with old friends in town from Nanaimo in Tuesday, and on boxing day, off to Jasper for 4 days -- skating, skiing, relaxing! I'm trying to convince my sister to let her oldest daughter to come, but she's a bit protective ("She's so small," she keeps saying). Well, she may be small, but this will be Jonah's 3rd year out on skis, so come on! It's time! Of course knowing that I had Jonah out on the hill before he was two might make some think I am underprotective, but my boy loved it! couldn't get enough! And most of the time, he was not between my legs (thank goodness, because it is hard work!) but he was between the legs of an experienced ski instructor friend, while I was yelling "Left! Right!" into the radio headset to guide my blind boyfriend who I was with at the time.

Jonah and Lynne (the ski instructor)

Last year though, Jonah was two, and managed to do well on the harness! I was totally impressed. Toe-clips on his skis and a harness, and we were good to go! He skied a bit between my legs, but it was great to have a break with the harness and be able to stand upright. So I am hoping that she lets Miss Miriam come, because she and Jonah would have a great time!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Random Survey

The items I've done are in bold/underlined! Copy and paste this list to reflect your own experiences.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain (Mt Robson!)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (See #12)
20. Slept on an overnight train (See #91)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill (Don't tell!)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (See #12)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (does a tooth count?)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone's life

90. Sat on a jury (almost!)
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Monday, December 15, 2008

$11 House

I just entered the coolest contest, and I am so pumped. It is called the $11 dollar house and you can link to the site HERE. Basically, you send off $11 and an email saying why it would be great if you could win it, and the couple that is hosting the contest picks the person they think should get it. No random draw here! And they have to have a certain amount of entries to make it go, because they don't just want to give it away out of their own pockets (of course) and so enough people have to enter so that the house could be paid off. Hopefully the number of entrants will go up exponentially, as it gets more press. It's the real deal, profiled on CBC even. And if they don't have enough entrants, they will refund the money (if they choose not to do the draw).
I think it is pretty neat. And actually, the house is mere blocks from where I grew up which is cool, and if I win, well, no question, the debate about when to move back to Edmonton would be solved. So, I know that there are plenty of deserving people, and certainly many far more "in need" than myself, but if you want to send off a prayer on my behalf, well, that'd be great.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where Should I Be?

I'm in a sticky place career wise, and am not really sure what I should be doing about my job. I miss my family. I don't love my job, with the politics and games behind the scenes. And the wait time for referrals, well, keep getting longer. I understand (sort of) why the wait times are what they are, but of course it is disappointing. As disappointing as having to wait even longer for my sweet girl, is the fact that in order to fully collect on my parental leave, I have to stick it out in this current job. Well, I don't have to, but in my head it is the right thing to do. If I get a referral by the end of the school year (which would put my wait time at 8.5 months), then it would be fine to stick it out here, knowing that I'd only really have to wait half the year before I could go and get my daughter. However, if it takes, say a year by the time I get to my referral (which, unfortunately, would not surprise me), then I could have another whole school year under the belt before I start my leave. And if that is the case, I could see about getting a job in Edmonton for a year before my adoption is completed. That would get me home this summer (which would be so nice). However, I don't want to start a new job with a different district, only to be unable to finish out the contract, because I'd worry that it would get me blacklisted. So I don't know what to do. No resolution in this post, but it is a topic that is weighing heavily on my mind. What to do, what to do...

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Have you ever found something you just couldn't stop lusting over? For me (recently) it's babylegs. Huh. That doesn't sound good. That's not what I meant. What I mean is babylegs, the brand name of those itty-bitty little baby legwarmers! Dang they're cute. Check out these sweet pictures of Cindy's boys (a mom of Ethiopian triplet brothers) decked out in stylin' rainbow babylegs.
Well, today I thought to myself, maybe I can find me a deal on ebay. And what do you know? There they were, and even with shipping, they were about half the price. Oh yeah!

All three pairs for less than $30 CAN including shipping.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

God Bless the Librarian

I love our school librarian. I told Doris about my Jonah's bedtime woes and she came to me about an hour later, with a couple of books she'd picked out and signed out to me. She had said to me that maybe part of the reason for Jonah's reaction could be that he is genuinely scared when he goes to bed, and maybe part of it is that he feels like he's not as important to me as he wants to be. I was totally choked to hear that, because of course I love him with all I have, but she could be onto something. Most waking hours in the day are spent getting things done: getting breakfast made, getting ready for the day, getting out the door, getting my stuff together at the end of the school day, doing some photocopying, getting out to the car again, making dinner, eating, showering, and bedtime routines. Where in there do we find time for fun? The answer is weekends. And that's not okay. I mean it's not like we have no time together during the week; we play for a few minutes here and there, and cuddle up together on the couch to read together before bed, and most nights we end up in the same bed together. With the exception of school hours, we are physically attached, but not interacting the way he'd like. So maybe she is onto something. These are the books she gave me:

Both are written by Todd Snow, and basically follow the format, "You are brave when you..." and "You are important because..." They are simple but good and Jonah gets it, even can understand what it means that he is important (a tough concept for a three-year-old).

This next book, though, this is the treasure, and if you know any little guys who don't like to be away from their parents, it is awesome. Basically, it's about a little raccoon, who is afraid to start school and be away from the things he knows (including his mom). So his mom kisses the palm of his hand and tells him whenever he needs his mom's love, he can put it to his cheek and think, "Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you." We read the book and then I kissed Jonah's hand and he put it up to his cheek and I said, "Can you hear it?"

And he said, "It says, 'I love you.'"

"And who is saying that?"

"You," he says.

We had a really good bedtime. A couple of times I thought he was going to start fussing, but then I told him how great he was doing, and he'd stop and we did a quiet, lovely bedtime. Tucked him in, and not a peep. No tears, no excuses. If you have a young 'un who resists being put to bed, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Amendment and Bedtime Insanity

Some good news on the amendment front: I called ABC this afternoon to find out what was happening, because I had not heard anything on it for about a week. Ramone told me that she had sent it off to Perdita (the HAR writer) to sign, and then she would get it back, sign it herself and then send it directly to the province. I guess for the amendment I don't even have to sign it! So that takes one step and stop out of the equation, which is good, and hopefully since it is a mere 2 page document, it will be quickly forward to my favorite agency.
My favorite boy, on the other hand, is driving me crazy. Every night when I put him to bed, he is just fine until I tell him it's bedtime, then we have an hour-long meltdown, which he approaches from several directions. There is the foot-stomping, couch-punching anger, which I try to redirect with songs and a prayer, but usually I end up only doing one song and a prayer because he won't stop. And then he's frustrated by the fact that he only gets one song. And then I tuck him in and he's good as gold when I'm laying with him, but when I get up, the crying starts, and then the guilt trip -- "I'm scared" over and over. And I know that's not true, because when he is at my mam's or sister's he is fine, even in the dark. And then the anger again --"Dammit! Dammit!" (because he knows he's not allowed to use that word -- he didn't learn it from me). And eventually the constant crying drives me to the edge and I close his door, even though I know he hates that. But at that point, I have warned him over and over. So then it is 45, 60, 90 minutes past his bedtime, and I am ready to lose it. And I tell them that if he's quiet for a few minutes, I'll open the door again, but if we manage to get the door open again, he starts crying again right away, and it gets closed again. And that brings me to this point, with a red-faced, door-kicking pissed-off three year old yelling under the door crack,"Mummy you're a maniac!" because that's the best insult he's got.
So here's the question to you -- parents, parents-to-be, aunts, uncles, and readers of child behavior management books -- what the? What can I be doing differently? Because I am calm (usually), I tell him what I'm going to do if his behavior continues, and then I do that. I'm doing what I know and it's not working. So do you have any advice?

I Have Her Name

Well, I know that nothing is really happening on the adoption front, because of course, I am just waiting now, but I have had an exciting revelation – I have thought and (I think) decided on a name for my girl. I wasn’t going to change her name, out of a respect for her family, and I know somewhere in the name I will pick will be her name too (probably third), but I have the names that she will get from me. You’ll have to wait until she is my girl to hear them, but I will give a hint. Her first name will start with an A and her second with a B. But she will be called by a short form of the second. Those are your only clues.
I hate it when people are cryptic, but oh well.
On the spreadsheet front, I have made an Excel sheet to keep track of recent referrals and the many many people ahead of me, but the newest modification (yes I spend way to much time absorbed by this process) calculates the number of days people wait for a referral and then averages those numbers, and projects (based on the current date and average wait) my possible referral date. I know it won’t be right there and I know it’ll change as info is updated, but right now, end of June. I know wait times are increasing, but I don’t care. I just need to point my attention elsewhere!
It’s a good day! Eight and a half school days until Christmas holidays!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

God bless the creator of the 4-day weekend!

Oh, sweet weekend of being... not in P-town (where I live, but wish I didn't!). And I never thought I 'd be so thankful for Edmonton! I never loved it much when I lived there, but I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder!
We had such a nice weekend of hanging out with family and friends. My mam had her annual Christmas party, so I had an opportunity to visit with friends that I don't see regularly anymore, and of course, we ate too much good food (I like to get a jump on the Christmas weight gain - just kidding). I told people how things are going on the adoption front -- which basically can be summed up in two sentences "I am waiting. But it's going to be a long time before I can pick up my girl." And yeah. Good times.
And even though I came home to an answering machine message from a parent, who apparently feels like it's okay to call me at home, I feel well rested and ready for the week. Bring it! Ten more school days until Christmas! Yay! And the plan for Christmas? Well, catching up on all my marking, but also... Christmas! And then driving to Jasper on Boxing Day, and skating at Jasper Park Lodge. Then for the 2 days following: skiing at Marmot. AND this year, my favorite boy is old enough to take a ski lesson which means I can have an hour or two of snowboarding instead of wearing little training skis while being attached to my guy by a harness! Sweet!!! And then the next day, out to Maligne Canyon for a little cross-country ski, maybe a canyon hike, before heading back to Edmonton.
Jonah's father picked him up today for a visit, and asked if Jonah could sleep over one night over Christmas holidays. I think that'll be good. For all of us. Because I will have a rare opportunity to actually sleep through the night AND sleep in in the morning, Jonah will have a chance to spend some bonus time with his father, and Jon, well, he'll have a dose of what it is to have a small, cuddly boy wake up crying in the middle of the night, come crawl into your bed, and press his hot body and cold feet up against him for the remainder of the night, until his internal clock sets him off at six a.m. and he expects him to get up and play. And then if his dad doesn't get up, he may find that that pen that was left out has found a way to operate itself (Jonah'll swear he had nothing to do with it). Have a good sleepover boys! I know anyway, that I will enjoy it. But actually, I'll really miss my guy, because even with all of that, I'd rather he spend the night with me. In fact, he said something along those lines this weekend, when I was pushing the cart at Costco and he wanted Oma to do it instead. He said, "Mam, you want to be with me, but I want to be with Oma." Thanks a lot punk!
I bought a couple of diaper shirts for my girl today. Cute! I find myself picking her up a little something almost everytime I go out shopping. I can't help it. She is constantly on my mind. And I've only been waiting a month! Oh my. I'm just going to try to distance myself from the wait in hopes that I can just live my life, not wondering when it'll all happen. Yeah right. Well, wishful thinking anyway.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random Thoughts

Four weeks waiting. Okay, I know compared to you seven, eight, nine months plus folks, it's minor, but I'm excited. Time is passing. And it certainly doesn't hurt that school is keeping my busy and occupying the vast majority of space in my mind.
I'm looking forward to a 4-day weekend this week. I have to get sub plans together which takes some time, but I'm not too worried about it! My sitter is having a bit of a family crisis and has to go out of town on Thursday, and since I have no back-up sitter, I had to figure something out. So I booked a dentist appointment on Thursday and my sister's getting a doctor's appointment set up Friday, and so I get two medical days this week. It's maybe a little schemish, but I've never taken a medical day -- I've always done that stuff on weekends and evenings -- and I'm entitled to them so I don't feel so bad. And I'm certainly not going to complain about having a four day weekend in Edmonton with the family. We have our family Christmas party on Saturday, and so there are plenty of things to do -- baking and housecleaning and such. It'll be a great time.
No word yet on where my amendment is. I haven't signed it yet, so I'm not too sure. But it should be coming to me shortly I would think, and then to the province.
I am sooooooo looking forward to the holidays! The stretch from September to Christmas can be a long one, but after Christmas, it's broken up quite nicely: Teacher's Convention, Spring break, and then the end-of-year push. And when my girl comes, I am done here. I can't wait to return to the city (not for the city itself, but for the people who live there). I have to finish out the year here, to get my permanent teacher's certificate, but of course, there are no worries that my girl would come before the end of the school year. Hopefully by the end of the 2009 year, but even that I think is unlikely. It is hard not to be discourage by these ever-increasing time lines, but I have to acknowledge that the likelihood of me getting my referral before court closures is unlikely. Which also means I'll be stuck in the bottleneck of court dates and what-not. At this point, I just have to sigh and try to prepare myself for a long wait. However, I do think that if my Jonah is coming up to his 5th birthday when things finally go through with his sister, I will likely take him along, because at that age, and with such a significant event, he is bound to retain some memory of the trip.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I am not Buying a Baby.

What do you do when someone, even with good intentions, offends you? It's a tricky question, because I certainly don't want them to feel bad, but I am really thinking that these sorts of things should be tactfully addressed rather than overlooked. I know for sure that when my girl is present, I will be a little more proactive, but I just don't know what to say. Especially if that someone is not someone I know well.
Yesterday, I was waiting around at school for another teacher's mom to arrive because she had brought from Edmonton a box that I forgot at my mam's last weekend. I had only met her once before, but she was kind enough to bring it back. When she arrived, I had been talking with her daughter, my colleague, about the adoption, and where I'm at and what still is ahead, and her mom started asking questions, which is fine -- I'm pretty much an open book. But one of the questions she asked was, "Is she expensive?" I know what she meant, and so I answered the question and didn't feel like we had the sort of rapport that would justify a lesson in tact, and so I let it go. But really, I'M NOT BUYING A BABY! Seriously. I'm trying not to be offended, but I kind of am.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAR Amendment Complete

I'm pleased to say that the amendment for my HAR that will allow me to accept a referral for a less-than-perfectly-healthy-but-still-all-vital-organs-functioning child is completed and will be signed off by ABC and then me, and then Anne at the province. I'm feeling pretty good about that. I know that the odds are I'll still get a referral for a healthy young 'un but I just wanted to make sure that my little girl is taken care of, even if she needs some extra help.
The one thing I was advised not to accept, from my doctor-friend who I talked to, was a baby born prematurely (way premature), because then there could be problems related to oxygen deprivation at birth. I had never really thought of that, and was glad to have talked to her about it. She said that even though a little one seems healthy at birth, all sorts of problems could come up later. I know this holds true with any child, but with babies born long before full-term, there are greater risks.
So now what? I should file my PRV paperwork right? I mean, I'm sure there's really no rush, but I would hate for my girl to have to wait on me. I'm less than a month into the wait, and there is a part of me thinking, "Wow, those three weeks went quick!" and then there's the other part of me thinking, "Huh. Only three weeks?" I should really stop checking in on my fellow bloggers so often! Maybe if I limited myself to only once a week, I would be forced to get a hobby to pass the time!
On an aside, congrats to Karen, whose paperwork is on its way to Nairobi She can finally say that she will be able to hold her Phoebe in her arms soon!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moving On

I've survived the week and parent-teacher interviews (I still have a couple, but they are spread out over the next week or so, so no problem), and am feeling on the upswing. I'm bagged though -- out before ten last night. The general feedback I got from parents is that I need to filter what I say a bit better (fair) and that they would like updated progress reports on a regular basis (also fair). All in all it went well, and since I generally respond well to CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, I have no doubt that the next round of interviews will go more smoothly.
Other than that, I’m staring down the pipe at a 4-day weekend (well, tomorrow is a PD but I don’t have to teach). Oh, Yeah!!!
My thoughts, now that the main chaos of report cards and parent-teacher interviews has died down is that I just need to keep on going, persevere, learn from my mistakes and plug on.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Boy of Many Faces

I have been meaning to post these pics from the last week of October. I picked up a $1 pack of face paints -- perhaps the best dollar I've ever spent. Here are the many faces of my favorite boy:

A Pirate and his Gold
Actually that last one was the start of this (Mr. Incredible),
but it was so funny, I had to take a pic.
Wearing his sister's new hat ("No more pictures please!")

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cranky (and Griping -- Sorry).

I'm not ready for the weekend to end. It's just so nice to... not work. I've said it's been tough lately, and it really has. I'm not a perfect teacher -- I'm not sure such a person exists -- but I work really hard and run a tight ship and genuinely like my kids and want great things for them. But somehow, it's not enough. Unless kids are passing with excellence, there seem to be complaints from parents, that I am simply a poor teacher. I know this isn't true, but it is still so discouraging. If a student is missing an assignment, it is not only my job to inform them of this (which I do), but apparently it is also up to me to give up all my lunches to keep them in, and not only that, but hunt them down when inevitably they dodge the work-DT, and if that fails, I should be calling parents. Are you freakin kidding me? Do parents understand how many students I have, and how much this is asking of me? If they do, they do not care.
And I can't help but wonder, where is the parents' sense of responsibility? I'll happily sign any agenda I'm asked to, but less than 1% of parents ask me to do so, so that they know what students have for homework in my class. And I know my students (that parents are complaining on behalf of) are 12, but seriously, they have to learn responsibility for themselves too. That, as far as I am concerned is what the first term of junior high is for! After years of having teachers hold their hands and wipe their noses, they are given a chance at independence. And yes, most bomb this first, but they also bounce back! If they don't do as well as they think they should, most realize that they have to be doing more. Lesson learned, responsibility increases, all is well. Except for me, apparently. So I am actually dealing with a hoard of angry parents, led by one crazy bully, who cannot end a parent-teacher meeting on a high, despite my ability to spin things for the positive. So frustrating!
There is talk of a rec center being built in town, and seriously, I hope it goes. Because these people need a damn hobby! I understand that there is not much to do here, but spreading rumors about teachers and organizing meetings to justify teacher-bashing under the guise of bettering students' education? Give me a break. No wonder they have such a hard time keeping teachers. They've got me ready to run.
Anyway. I know it doesn't help to gripe, but I am just so frustrated. And stressed. I lost five pounds last week from the anxiety of my job. I woke up nauseated everyday, thinking about having to go in there. I would love to call in sick, and take a mental health day, but planning for subs and dealing with the aftermath... it's just not worth it.
Sigh... what to do? Move to the coast and open a bed and breakfast. Huh. For an off-the-cuff thought, that was not bad.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Hey Mam! That Man Has a Baby in His Belly!"

This was actually the worst week in my teaching career. The mob of parents with pitchforks and the bullying mentality of a couple and the sheep-like tendancies of others peeve me off! It is making me second-guess my choice of career.
On the up side, we were at the hospital on Tuesday, and Jonah calls out, "Hey mam! That man has a baby in his belly!" The guy didn't look our way, but I can't believe he didn't hear it. Yikes. And how can you redeem yourself after that? So we had a little chat about how even if a man has a big belly, there is never a baby in there. He just likes to eat. And if a lady has a big belly she may have a baby in there, but maybe she just likes to eat too, so we don't say anything. I don't know if it'll stick, but here's hoping. He's been around so many babies and prenant gals lately I guess it must be on his mind!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Waiting (and Shopping) Begins

I'm anticipating this wait, and even though I hope that I am laid back enough to be patient, and busy enough to keep this referral out of the surface of my mind, I do think that for sure the last couple of months will be rough. Especially if it takes more than seven months. Because then I'll be caught in court. I'm trying not to stress about it, but when I see people post updates that their little ones are another month older -- I don't know how they cope. I think it'll be very hard to see my sweet girl grow up in pictures.
But I've joined the ranks of the expecting. And so I'll engage in another "waiting" pastime: shopping. I love ebay. Especially when you can buy used kids clothes, because, really, how worn do they get? And hardly anyone bids on them, so you can get some sweet deals. Here are the latest buys (and to my mam and sister, if you are reading this, I don't buy stuff on ebay too often):

Here's a cute little outfit. Everything I got with these is cupcakey.

And this matches.

And so does this.

And this too.

These sweet riding-style pants came with a bonus matching shirt.

And this one is just a different color.

This is one of my favorites. It was actually new and is sooooo soft.

I'm imagining a couple of poofy pigtails sticking out the bottom.

So there we go. And now, for the rest of the month, I will pass the time writing my Novella. Gotta do something to pass the time, right?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Thanks all for your good wishes regarding my dossier arriving in Ethiopia.
This has been a busy last week -- report card marks are due tomorrow so my sister kept Jonah in Edmonton all week so I could get all my work done. It was a tough one -- being away from my boy for five days (the longest we've been apart). I can't help but wonder how much harder it'll be not to see my girl for months! Jonah did well though. I called him every evening before bed, but he was always more interested in playing with his cousins than chatting with me. Thanks for the ego check, favorite boy of mine! We just got back home, and even though I love Edmonton and my friends and family there, it is relaxing to be home. Here's my sister's take on the week.
I got ahold of the social worker who did my HAR, because if I want to change my child desired to include little ones with physical challenges, I have to get an amendment to my HAR, and get that okayed by Anne at the province, and then send it off to Imagine. I'll be honest -- it's kind of a pain in the butt, and really, that stuff should have been addressed in my HAR, but it really wasn't, to any significant degree. Because the social worker recommended me for a healthy child, and that's what the province okayed, I can't have anything but, unless I get permission from the province (hence, the amendment). I think that the odds that I will be proposed a child that is anything but 100% healthy is probably slim, but children with challenges are out there, and I can't look away and wonder if a little gal that could've been with me, might instead grow up family-less. So I'm working on the amendment.
And I am still wanting to do NaNoWriMo this month, but confess, with the hustle and bustle of report cards, I haven't even started! Well, it looks like the next part of the month will be even busier than the first. But busy is good for those trying to wait patiently.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Officially Waiting (confirmed)

It's true! Confirmation from you all (thanks all) and Erica tells me it's true... I am officially expecting. Baby on the way! Hallelujah! I am waiting. I've revised my spreadsheet, as has Brenda ;) Thanks for your good wishes.

Officially Waiting?

Okay, I just went to the post office today, and received a note from Anne Scully saying that they did indeed ship my dossier. Included was a tracking number which I just pounded in and... IT'S THERE!!! Signed and delivered just this morning! Help me out folks. Am I now officially waiting? Or do I have to wait for some confirmation from them or something? I'm about to burst! Please, someone respond!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Unreferable Healthy Babies

What is a healthy baby? This is what I started wondering last week. I put in my request with Imagine for a healthy baby girl, but there were no questions in the application about exactly what I would consider as far as health-related issues. When I think healthy, I think of a person with functional organs, basically. Someone who isn't going to stop breathing, or go into kidney failure or cardiac arrest. Someone whose brain works well and whose spine does its job. That's pretty much what I thought would count as healthy. But I was wrong.
I emailed Erica at Imagine last week, and basically asked her, what healthy looked like to them. I found out that children with club foot, or cleft palette or deafness aren't even proposed for adoption! WHAT?! I don't understand. I figured, maybe there are related complications with those first two, but when I talked to a friend today who is an OBGYN, she said, no, all those things are totally manageable. With surgery, cleft palette can be repaired, and with club foot, it can also be fixed (sort of). One foot might be slightly smaller or one leg slightly shorter, but basically, it'd be okay. So I don't understand why these little ones don't get referred. I mean, this stuff can happen to a child I give birth to. Something like fetal alcohol or fetal drug effects, wouldn't, but these things? It can happen! And instead of being referred and becoming a part of a family in Canada, where deformities can be taken care of surgically, they stay in orphanages in Ethiopia, and live out their lives with these malformations and that's just something they just have to live with.
Maybe I'm ignorant of the big picture, but it seems wrong to me to pass over these little guys. How must that feel to grow up without a family, probably realizing at a certain age that they had to spend their childhood in an orphanage because of the way they look, or because they were disabled in some way? What would that do to a person's sense of self worth? Thinking of it makes me want to cry. I don't want to volunteer for a life change. I don't want to seek out a child with spina bifida or CP or something like that. I'm a bit selfish I guess, to not want to give up hiking or wall climbing as a family. I would do it if my child, it turned out, was physically unable to do these things, but I wouldn't go looking for a child who couldn't. But physical deformities? These are fixable. These are manageable.
I'm emailing Erica tomorrow to let her know I'm open to one of these "unreferable" kids. I hope some who read this will be as baffled as I am and do the same.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Quick Post

Well, the to-do list for this week is coming along just fine. Gates are hung in the yard, but latches need to be attached, still. My NaNoWriMo plan is... non-existent, and my marking, well, sigh. It'll come. It'll have to; I have to start on report card this coming week! Ah well, all in good time.
I bought a thing of face paint last weekend for a dollar. Best dollar I've spent in a long time. Jonah has been a pirate, a clown, Spiderman, one of the Incredibles... and tomorrow he'll go off to the sitter's as a ladybug. I don't love Halloween, but my boy does like to dress up!
This week at school, we've had some fun school-spirit inspiring days. Crazy hat day, Super Hero day, PJ day, and something else I don't remember. For super hero day I went as Super-Nerd. With pants rolled up high, tape on the glasses, off-center ponytail, and a cape with an N, my students were like, "Who are you?" I told them, and the general response was, "As opposed to your... normal self?" suggesting that I'm normally a nerd (I am). My response, said in sarcasm, was, "As opposed to my super-cool alter ego! You probably don't even recognize me, do you?" "Um... Yeah. Right" was what I got back. I'm okay with my nerdy self. May as well make fun, right? Jonah went to the Family Day Home as Spiderman that day. And today I wore my PJ's to school, and Jonah wore his to Vicky's. Good times. Tomorrow, I'm sewing a baby-doll to the bum of my jeans and going as a babysitter. My 13-year-old students will get a kick out of it.
Anyway. This has been a bit of a trying week at school, and as much as I would like to vent and write about it, I would also like to forget about it, and not relive it as I share these journals with my girl in the future. I am determined to forget, so I'll just leave it. However, I will say that time like these, I can't wait to get out of this town. Blech. Looking forward to hanging with the family in E-town this weekend.
Got word from Erica today, at Imagine. Dossier has passed Anne and is off to Ethiopia. She'll let me know when it gets there. Come on! Let the waiting begin!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Week to Look Forward to.

Okay! It's a bit over half way into the weekend, and I am looking into the near future through rose-colored glasses. I'm choosing to stop fretting and stressing and BE POSITIVE! So here is a list of things I'm looking forward to in the next week:
1. I am looking forward to getting caught up with marking student work. I made a resolution to be better at marking and returning assignments and tests quickly, and so far, I am not doing great. This is the week to catch up.
2. I am looking forward to finishing (and starting -- eek!) my plan for my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project. If I plan to write 50,000 words in November, I'd better have a plan.
3. I am looking forward to having gates on my fences so my dog is finally contained. Not looking forward to the work, but the end project will be worth it.
4. I am looking forward to going to Edmonton next weekend, to hang out with family and friends.
5. I am looking forward to taking a PD course on Saturday -- all art all day! Two seminars: one on large-scale print-making and one on silk screening and stained glass. Sweet!
6. I am looking forward to finishing sorting through closets and rooms in my place, and picking out stuff to donate or sell. I've done 2 rooms so far and have 3 boxes to get rid of. I love minimizing! It is so freeing! (What I find hard and limiting is not buying anything. I'm trying really hard to buy only things for myself that I need, but the same does not hold true when it comes to my kids.)
It's going to be a big and busy week! And of course I am happy to follow my dossier as it makes it's way to Ethiopia!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Nerd with a Spreadsheet

I can't stop obsessing about a potential timeline for this adoption. If this helplessness that I've been feeling the last few days is an indicator of how the next year plus is going to go, I can't help but think I am going to go grey from worry and frustration before my girl comes home.
I told Jonah today, that he would not be meeting his sister for a long time and he would be 4 before he even gets to see a picture of her. I guess I shouldn't have told him anything about it, but he's perceptive and it's pretty much all I think about and talk about these days, so he was bound to wonder what was going on. Oh well, it was so abstract anyway, his invisible sister. He was dissapointed but fine.
When I feel powerless, I like to analyze and lay it all out in front of me. I'm a list maker, an organizer, despite what some close to me might think. It gives me peace and stability. So I made a spreadsheet of possible timelines.

Okay, I know that confirms what some probably already suspected: I am a total nerd. But this basically summarizes my chart: The earliest I can be ready to travel is next September. That's if I have a 6 month referral wait and court squeaks through under the gun (before closure) and Immigration is speedy and efficient as all government departments are. Yeah right. A little more realistic is an 8 month wait for a referral and about 5 months for court (plus closures) and immigration. That puts me ready to travel February 2010. Hopefully the worst-case scenario would be a 10 month referral wait and 6 months for post-referral business and I would be ready to travel May 2010. I wasn't really planning on teaching here for 2 full years (or nearly full) still, but it looks like it'll be at least 1.5 still. Boo. And while it makes me blue, it does help to have a realistic (and hopefully slightly pessimistic) outlook. Hope for the best and expect the worst -- it's a good way to be prepared.

Realistic Expectations

After email-stalking Erica for days and days, I decided to just give her a call, for my last few questions. According to her my dossier should arrive in Ethiopia in a week or two, which is good. She said they have to send it back through Anne Scully at the Province, and then they send it off. Erica said that they had been sending them through quickly at the province, but I can't help but worry a bit that I may have POed Anne when I stalked her this summer, and I am hoping she doesn't leave it laying around just to get back at me. Okay, she's a professional, and I'm sure she won't but I can't help but feel a bit vulnerable, with my future in the hands of strangers.
Erica also confirmed my suspicions about longer referral timelines. She said I can hope for 6 months, but in all likelihood, I will not be in court until next fall [sob]. So I've had to consciously rework my "plan" (if it can even be called that with so many variables that can change at a moment's notice), and accept that praying to have my baby home by Christmas 09 is probably a little more realistic. But probably not even. Spring 2010? It makes me want to cry.
There's this huge part of me that just wants to be excited by the progress, but an even huger part feeling deflated and powerless. I guess that pretty much sums up the adoption journey of every family.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Destination: Ethiopia

Well, things are on their way! I got my passport in the mail, and emailed Erica at Imagine to let her know I would scan and email it to her right away, and she said it was perfect timing because my dossier just came back from Ottawa. She emailed me today that my dossier would be on the way to Ethiopia TOMORROW!!! That means I am mere days (well, a week or two) away from being officially waiting! So excited. I told one of my pregnant colleagues my news and looked at her belly and couldn't help but well up inside, because I'm there too. I'm expecting. Yes!!!
On the other hand, I'm already worried about the referral. I know that's ridiculous, but I was told 6 months for a referral. Some are closer to 8. Well, if I get a 6, my babe will likely scrape through court before next year's court closures. If it's 8, it'll be an agonizing summer of waiting and missing my girl. Please Please Please let it be 6. Even 6.5. I know it's likely I'll be caught in court closures, I just hope I can avoid it. Thinking of my girl all summer, when I'm not working -- it'll be more than I can bear.
Now what? Immigration paperwork should probably be started and sent off. And I don't really know what else. Maybe I'll see if Imagine has a checklist of stuff you have to do. That would be great. They also have courses that they offer, and if you aren't in Ontario, they can give you the information by module or whatever. Has anyone taken one of these courses? They look very helpful. If you have, or know someone who has, will you please leave me a comment with some feedback on it? Thanks.
I just checked in on the Imagine site to see what courses they offer and I noticed an update for a change in adoption fees, effective November 15. Right now it is $6000 CAN for the agency fee and $6500 USD for the Ethiopian fee. Coming soon... $7000 CAN agency and $8000 USD to Ethiopia. Holy Smokes!!! And what with the dropping value of the Canadian dollar??? I am back to elated and counting my lucky stars I squeezed in under the gun. Phew.
I've just reread this post and sound a little manic with my wide-ranging emotions. Well! That's about right for someone who's expecting. Expecting. That's me. I can't help but think that maybe I should light a little birthday candle each day to celebrate what may be the birthday of my little girl. It's bound to fall on one of these days! I don't know what I'll do, but I will do something each day to acknowledge my second-born. My first daughter. My sweet girl. One of the top two loves of my life. My someday girl.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Here it is: the best part of my day

I'm sick and hacky and every time I start to talk, I start to cough. So when I tucked Jonah in tonight, I asked him to try praying. Usually we pray together, but I do most of the talking, or I pray for both of us. Tonight, this was Jonah's prayer:

Dear God,
Thank you for the day.
Thank you for my room and my door and my nightlight.
Thank you for all the great things we have.
Thank you for you (he points at me) and me.
Thank you for all the great things we have.
Bless all the people we know and love.

Best part of my day.
This next part has to with my daughter, not my son. I've already started buying clothes and things for my girl, but these I'm especially pumped about. I bought these Mary Jane Robeez on ebay yesterday for my girl. What a steal: $10.50 USD including shipping. Sweet.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hi. My name is Melissa, and I am an addict.

It's true. I am way too interested in reading about other people and their adoption journeys. I check in way too often to see if anyone has posted an update. I should probably take a break, but this little community, this group of one-time strangers, who have gotten to know each other through posts and emails and phone calls and (sometimes) get togethers, I just love to be a part of it.
It is true what some have said -- that these kindred spirits, these bloggers, know what it's about: adopting. We're all in it, at different stages, but it helps so much in the trials and frustrations and confusion of this complex process, to know that there is someone else out there who's been through it and survived, or is in it right now with you. That there are people keeping track of you and encouraging you along the way.
I love my family and friends and they are with me and support me and are there with a shoulder to cry on or an ear to lend. But this group -- none of which I've actually met in person, or even whose voices I've heard -- I value so much. They really do "get it" like nobody else who's not in it can.
I do believe that generally the result of technology is that people have become increasingly disconnected with one another, but I find that so many people who are recording their adoptions in online journals are raw with their emotions and very real about where they are at. Yeah, I'd rather know my fellow bloggers in person, but I am still just thankful for the parts of them I see in their writing.
So to all who are in it, thanks. For sharing where you're at, telling it like it is and encouraging me and each other along the way. I'm loving getting to know you all. Blessings to each of you and your new families.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Favorite (Short) Jonah Conversation of the Day

(While sitting eating supper on the couch -- yes we sometimes eat on the couch)
Me: Hey! Don't wipe your nose on me!
Jonah: It wasn't my nose, it was macaroni!
Much better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty

I signed up with Blog Action Day, committing myself to writing about a given topic today: poverty. And here I sit with the day passing quickly, and I can't think of anything brilliant to contribute. I read a great, tear-jerking post linked to from Lori's blog (see the menu on the right). It wasn't made of new ideas and I didn't hear anything that I hadn't heard before, but it still got me.
I started thinking about how to end poverty. A lot of the posts at the Blog Action Day site had to do with that topic. I can't but wonder if that is indeed possible. I have to think it is. I have a newspaper clipping from the Globe and Mail, that I laminated and posted on my whiteboard in my class. It says,
In the next 30 seconds, 8 people will die of hunger,
and 92000 tons of food will go to waste."
It blows my mind every time I read it. What are we doing wrong in this world that that is happening? I often worry about the exponentially-increasing world population. I wonder how many this planet can sustain before it starts fighting back. Al Gore said that the increasing frequency and severity of storms in the world can be attributed to global warming, and while industrialization and pollution are related to the increasing world population (in that an industrialized world, with it's increasing efficiency can sustain more people, who then create more pollution through vehicle usage, etc.), it is not because of the population.
That was off-topic, but the point I was trying to (eventually) make was simply that with the population going up so quick, I wonder not only if the world can counter-balance human environmental abuses, but also if the world is physically capable of producing enough to meet our basic needs and sustain the population. While I do believe that at some point, the world will not be able to, right now, I think we are definitely able to support the present population.
So then why do people in developing nations starve, while North Americans and other over-indulgent nations spend millions of dollars on diet books, programs, exercise plans and specialty foods? Why do we have so much? Of course, the answer is obvious: uneven distribution of resources in the world, and democracy. Okay, the former is a given, but certainly the latter can be debated.
The simplest reason for poverty is uneven distribution of resources. Some countries have them, and others just don't. Those that do benefit and reap the rewards of having these valuables, and it allows them to get money which then pays for any and all basic needs not already met by the immediate environment. You don't have manufactured goods, but you have oil? Just sell some of that and spend part of the profits on what you want. The problem with uneven resource distribution, especially in our times, is that we "have" nations are continually developing new ways to efficiently harvest resources, at the same time exploiting the "have-not" nations by engaging in unfair trading practices, underpaying laborers, and so on. Related to this is the problem of brain drain, in which the few (as a percentage of the population) who manage to get an advanced education end up moving away from their home country in search of better prospects for themselves and their families. The result of these things: an ever-widening gap between the rich and poor nations of the world. I can't help but think that the wider the gap gets, the harder the problem will be to remedy.
The other reason for the poverty of some nations can unequivocally be tied to a country's government. There is undoubtedly a correlation between a country's government and their economic stability and citizen well-being. And while I concede that there may be some benefit to a dictatorship in that the leader has a long-term investment in the people, and decisions can be made quicker than with a system requiring even the slightest degree of consensus (e.g. democracy), it cannot be ignored that democratic systems take care of the people. How can they not? We in Canada may gripe about the government (and the fact that Harper has just been re-elected -- sigh), but the fact remains: if we don't like them, in four years maximum (five if we are at war), we can eject them and replace the leaders of our country with people we believe will be better suited and more willing to meet our wants and needs. But in non-democratic nations, the people do not have the power. In a democracy, if the government does not take care of its citizens, they will not remain the government. Simple as that. So regardless of your political leanings, you have to acknowledge the value of democracy in citizens' well-being.
Anyway, I don't know how to fix it. I think that if citizens of the rich countries make a collective choice based on our own consciences and sense of what is right, if we can somehow avoid living as human nature dictates -- with our own well-being in mind -- even then, without the people of the world having a say in their governments, I doubt we will see an end to poverty, because in countries like that, surely the foreign aid and domestic resources will end up in the hands of those with the power. Those with the power must be the people in order to start spreading the wealth and closing the gap. I wanted to end this post on a high, but I can't. Sorry. I got nothing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

3-Year-Old Wisdom and My Big 31

The propose of this blog is to record the events and my thoughts related to the adoption process, but having just come out of a long weekend, there has been no forward movement. I thought I'd blog instead about my favorite three-year old boy, and the joy he brings. Everyday, he comes up with something new and hilarious, and so today, I want to recap some of these conversations before I forget them.

1. In the car about two weeks ago:
Jonah: Mountains don't jump, right?
Me: What?
Jonah: Mountains can't jump, right?
Me: Mountains?
Jonah: Yeah.
Me: Can't jump?
Jonah: Yeah.
Me: No, mountains can't jump.
Jonah: Because they're attached, right?
Me: Right.
Jonah: I can't jump either, because of my seat belt.
Me: Yeah.

2. Last week:
Jonah: Mam, can we talk about punching?
Me: Sure.
Jonah: Why can't I punch?
Me: Do you want me to punch you?
Jonah: No.
Me: Why not? Because it hurts?
Jonah: Yeah.
Me: That's why.

3. Today (after we talked about how he can earn a new toy, if he cleans up his toys for 10 days in a row):
Jonah: Can I open up the box?
Me: No, you have to wait until you've earned it.
Jonah: But on the box, it says, "Open this right now."
Me: Actually, it says, "Leave this closed until you earn it."
Jonah: Hm.

Jonah: Okay, I'll make you a deal. When we get home, you can do all the laundry three times and then you can open this box for me.
Me: No deal.

Jonah: I have a new baby mam, look!
Me: I'm driving right now Jonah. What does it look like?
Jonah: It's a box.
Me: Oh.
Jonah: A baby box.
Me: Does it cry much?
Jonah: No, it's a box!
Me: Does it poop in it's diapers?
Jonah: No! It doesn't wear diapers. It's a box!
Me: Okay. Well, it sounds like a good baby.

Okay, I know we both sound a little weird, but these are the kinds of conversations we have several times a day. Jonah's big thing right now is "Can we talk about it mam?" He asks this about various things, many times a day. He is such a character, constantly coming up with words and phrases I don't expect from him. Today, he was looking at a toy box, that had a picture on the back of all the different sets that exist. He says, "I want this whole collection." He's three! What three year old says that? I have never heard the word collection from him before. It never ceases to amaze me what he can learn.

And I love his sense of humor. I mean, it is definitely age-appropriate in development, but it cracks me up. When he hears a word he thinks is funny, he'll keep repeating it and laughing. Weirdo. We were at the mall today with the family, and Jonah and his cousin Miriam (who is 10 months older than him) were walking, holding hands. And Jonah picked up on a word, and repeated it to Miriam, and they laughed together a couple of times about it, but after the third repeat, Miriam started to look at him like, "What is wrong with you?" Okay, so he's not funny, but I love to laugh at him! He recently was introduced to the song, "This little light of mine" and often he goes, "Hide it under a bush -- that's funny! Don't let Satan blow it out -- that's funny too." I don't know what he finds so funny about it, but everytime we sing it, he laughs.

Well, we had a great weekend, visiting the family. Everytime we have to come back home from Edmonton, Jonah bawls because he doesn't want to leave. Neither do I. I love being in Edmonton with the family. On Saturday, we went to my sister's scrapbooking and had a great time. We made 3 double-page spreads in one evening, including titles (God bless the inventor if the Cricut!) and journalling. Oh yeah! Any then Sunday was my 31st Birthday, and we went to church, had a family lunch (croissants -- yum!), family dinner (pesto lasagna -- yum!) and played some 3-handed bridge with my sister and mam, and watched a movie too. Then this morning I visited with an old friend, met up with the family at the mall and got my hair cut at a hairdresser. A real hair dresser. Usually I get my sister to trim my blunt cut twice a year. But I actually decided to do something new. Layers around my face and a side part. Maybe a bit conservative by North American standards, but a huge leap for me! And after the mall we went back to my mam's for cheese fondue and chocolate fondue. Generally a weekend of sweet indulging. My sister bought me this great purse for my birthday, that is shiny black with red flowers on it. I will try to post a pic, because the description didn't do it justice. And then my mam gave me a beautiful silver bracelet with these really light purple-pink stones in it. I feel like a real grown-up. And a girl. Okay, so maybe this should have already happened, but I am generally too simple (in my tastes and lifestyle) for that.
The best part of my birthday? Imagining that this time next year, I should not only know my daughter, but I will hopefully be making plans for my trip if I'm not already back (praying hard about that!). I thought 30 was a bit of a tough birthday, but at 31 I realize that life just keeps getting better. It really does.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Oh! I'm so glad it's nearly the end of the week. We have a PD day tomorrow (well, they say is a Professional Development day, but really, it is a breakfast, speeches from folks who are retiring from teaching, some rah-rah speaker to motivate us, and then lunch and g'bye!), and it is in a town 1 1/2 hours away. Hard to motivate myself to go given the distance, I tell you, but whatever. Free food. I was once told that food is the lowest form of reward -- in that for any creature (yes I'm talking animals here) that can understand rewards, food is what they respond to best (I'm thinking now of rats in a maze). Ah well, I'm okay with it!
I haven't heard yet if Erica has sent off my paperwork to Ottawa. She said she could, but hasn't emailed confirmation that it is in fact on the way. I've heard from a couple of people that this stage takes about a week, but now I realized that the passport is still going to hold things up. Oh well.
I feel a bit right now like I've been floating down a somewhat turbulent river and am now at a point where the river narrows into a chute and flows fast and heavy, before dumping out in a waterfall to another faster-moving part of river. This is it... the water is flowing so rapidly that I can't stop even if I wanted to (which I don't). And the drop into the next part is coming. The inevitable ups and downs that will carry me along for the next many months through unknown waters. I'm bound to pass (and even get caught up in) unseen snags lurking below the water which will no doubt cause me discouragement and despair. And even knowing that they are there and anticipating the catches will probably not prepare me better to deal with them. But going into this chute right now, getting ready for the drop... my stomach full of butterflies, but I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dossier to Ottawa Soon?

I talked to Erica (from Imagine) today, and apparently, all parts of my application are present and accounted for. Except for my passport. I got it back in the mail a couple of weeks ago, saying that my guarantor was not good enough and I had to resubmit. But I had to wait until I went back to Edmonton again to find someone with a 5 year valid passport, who has known me for at least 2 years. And when I went last week, I could not for the life of me find my passport picture, which they had also sent back, and I just needed it signed by my new guarantor. And then the day got away on me and I was on my way back to my town, with my application still not complete.
I was back in Edmonton again this past weekend and had found my picture and everything and so brought it to church for my pastor to sign and when I pulled out the envelope after the service, my photo was gone... again. Seriously!!! So I said to myself, "Heck this," and went and got new passport pics done, dropped by my pastor's house and got it done. Phew. It was sent off express Monday, and because there is already a file open, I just quoted the file number and things should cruise along pretty quick.
I thought I'd have to wait for my application to have the recent passport in it, but Erica said it might be okay to send it off to Ottawa with my old passport, as long as my name hasn't changed. It hasn't (hurray for being a terminally single girl!). So hopefully, my application will be on my way to our nation's capital soon. Yay!
I also asked about an updated estimate for wait times, and she said it is about 6 months -- longer than what I was told a mere 4 or 5 months ago, but not a surprise given what my fellow bloggers have been reporting.
So that's the news on the adoption front.
On a personal note, I got an email from my ex's girlfriend 2 or 3 days ago, to arrange a visit for this coming long weekend (if you didn't read my recent post on the ex, click here), and I just emailed her back to have Jon contact me to arrange visits from now on. Shock and surprise, he hasn't bothered to email me. Now I can't help but feel guilty that my actions may keep my boy and his dad apart, but even so, I'm not going to pursue him.
A little bummed that I've got no takers on my NaNoWriMo challenge. I even left the post up and didn't write a new one, hoping that someone would jump in, but that's okay. I'm still going to do it. I had thought I might write something which reflects my life, just because this is my first go and I want to be able to complete it, even if it is not brilliant. And well, I know my life. But the more I think about it, the more I want to write a sort of futuristic war/ adventure type of story. I'm in the early planning stages, but I have many little blips of ideas that I hope I'll be able to pull together into a unified plot. We'll see. I'll let you know when I know.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Looking for Something to Pass the Time?

Okay adopters, I know the waiting sucks. I know some of you are ready to pull your hair out and sit down and cry at the frustration of the wait. So I'm pitching an idea that you might want to think about, in order to pass the time (a whole month's worth of time). Something to take your mind off of the wait and to turn your energy to something creative and fun. Curiosity piqued?
It's that time: National Novel Writing Month (A.K.A. NaNoWriMo, pronounced NAno-RHYMo). Okay, it's an American National Event, but non-Americans are welcome to participate. The challenge: to write a 50,000 word novel about anything, in just 30 days! Sounds impossible? It's not! In fact, if you write every day of the month (of November) you need to put out less than 2000 words a day. A very reasonable expectation I think.
I know it is the beginning of October, but if you draft up a plan, you are much more likely to finish than if you just burst forward with no direction. So there you go. Get planning, and if you do choose to participate, let me know, because then we can encourage each other.
If you want to sign up for the challenge, check out this site (down for construction when this was posted, but will be up again soon, hopefully). There is no cost (unless you consider the blood, sweat and tears you'll be putting into your writing), and there are NaNoWriMo Events all over, where you can get together with other budding authors.
If the satisfaction of being able to say (casually), "Oh yeah, I've written a novel," is not enough to convince you, well keep in mind this will change your focus for a month, and keep you from being frustrated at the wait.
I've reread this and can't help but feel like I'm trying to sell you on this. I am, but not because I work for NaNoWriMo or anything; I just want company in this adventure. Looking forward to hopefully hearing from some of you!

Monday, September 29, 2008

He's the Ex for a Reason

A couple of not so exciting developments: my back is miraculously healed. Seriously, a miracle. Yesterday, it still hurt. And I took a pill for the pain yesterday afternoon, to relax those muscles, and I haven't needed one since. I'm at 100% today. Yay!
A kind of irritating development in my interactions with Jonah's dad. In the spring, he fell off the planet. No contact for 3 long months. My boy cried all the time, about missing his dad and talked about how his dad didn't like him, and he didn't like his dad. He saw a pic of his dad and called him by our neighbor's name, and pointed at random shaven-headed strangers on the street and said, "Daddy!" It was a crappy time.
Then he bounced back in. And I was so mad at him and hurt for Jonah and thought he was such an @$$, I wanted nothing to do with him, except that Jonah isn't old enough to make plans with his dad on his own. So I talked to his girlfriend and told her I'd find it easier to deal with her, and she was fine with it. They live together and whatever, so it's just as easy to communicate through her, and she's happy to be in the Jonah-loop. The problem? Now they are coming out here on a regular basis and wanting to take Jonah for regular visits. Okay, I know this isn't actually a problem, because it's good for my boy, I just feel like it's not reflective of his dad's level of interest. I mean, he was so inconsistent (well, actually he was consistently disinterested it seemed), and now visits are like clockwork, thanks to the girlfriend. I know this is good for Jonah, but if they ever break up, Jonah will have these expectations of his father, and Jon is not likely to pull through and deliver.
Anyway, I emailed the girlfriend this week. She had sent me a note about setting up a visit on Sunday. I emailed her back that a visit would be fine, but when we are in E-town, I'd like Jon to come by himself, because it shows initiative on his part, and it's important to see that contact is what he wants, and that he isn't just coming because the girlfriend tells him to (I said it nicely though). I didn't really think it was a big deal -- visits are about Jonah and his dad, and wanting to see Jon prove that he is actually interested in contact -- I don't think it is totally unreasonable. Anyway, she emailed me back this eloquently worded note, that basically said, "That's nice. I'm still coming." So to be clearer, I emailed her back saying that I feel like we (she and I) are the adults in all of this, making play-dates for our boys, and this is not how it should be, and that I just wanted him to put in some effort. I really thought (and think) this is fair.
So Jon calls to say he'll pick Jonah up in the morning -- no problem. But then, they both show up. She waits in the car, then they take Jonah back to their place. When they dropped him off again she waved from the car. Yeah. I'm done with her. I know I sound unreasonable and petty. But I'm so annoyed at being completely disregarded by them. I was clear, I think even fairly reasonable. All I wanted was some effort from Jon -- an indicator of his intentions and commitment to his son. And what irks me is the total disregard from their end. I'm so mad.
Now you all probably think I'm a big petty jerk, but ever since Jonah's been born, I've made requests of Jon (you know, like "change Jonah a few times today," and "feed him around noon") and he doesn't care. If I ask something of him, he does the opposite (which explains the baby soaked up to his armpits, put down for a one o'clock nap without being offered lunch -- true story). I'm so over dealing with him. And she's out of the loop. If he wants to see our boy, he's going to have to make the arrangements. I'm not setting up play-dates with his mom/girlfriend anymore.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oh, Mine Achin' Back!

I'm taking a sick day today. I'm not exactly sick, but my back is killing me. I threw it out last week playing at the playground with Jonah. Ow.
There's this piece of equipment like a merry-go-round in the air, tilted at a slight angle. So when you are on the low side, you run on the ground, and on the high side, you fly up into the air. Fun, right? I played on it this summer with my sisters and there was no problem. But last week, I saw some girls from the elementary end of my school playing on it, trying to run on the high side (?) so I said, "Here, try it like this," and showed them how to do it. Only for some reason on the high side I kept my arms bent like I was doing a chin-up, rather that hanging from straight arms. Didn't think too much of it at the time, but by the end of the evening, I was like... hmm, my back doesn't feel quite right.
Doing it right this summer
The next morning I went into work, and actually had to leave because my back hurt so bad. How did I pull a muscle eating brownies while watching TV last night? I wondered to myself. It wasn't until the end of that day that I figured it out. Apparently, I have become too portly to carry my own weight without injuring myself. Self esteem? Are you still there?
Over the weekend, I thought it had gotten better. I even worked on my fence (because it has to get done before the snow falls or my beast gets picked up by the pound as a stray), and no problem. But yesterday at work, I bent over to pick something up, and it was back. Like an earthquake, it started as an intensely painful epicenter, and slowly spread outward and upward. I'm sucking it up and going to a doctor today. I don't know what they can do about a muscle pull, but hopefully, they can do something.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Do I Need A Man?

I'm an independent woman. I'm educated, hard-working, self-sufficient, and smart. But there are times when I think to myself, "I could really use a man." It's not that I need a man, so much as one would come in useful on occasion. There is the obvious reasons for wanting a man -- for company, love, sharing of responsibility, and well... you know. But that's not the reason I've found myself wanting one on recent occasions.
I have a fence to build. I've been working on it most of the summer. I'm tired of the bloody thing! I want to snap my fingers and have it done. And I don't want to pay students to do my heavy lifting (they are moving cement patio blocks for me). I mean, I could do it, but I am so stinking tired from just regular life. I just want to have a man, for even a week, to finish my fence. My neighbor is married, and she keeps the house clean and makes food, and her husband takes care of the yard, does the shoveling in winter and takes out the garbage. I'm not really jealous of the marriage, I just want someone to take care of my yard and garbage.
I had another mouse this week. It's an ongoing problem. I haven't had one for a while, but in the last week, I just knew. So I set a trap inside a paper bag in the pantry (for easy pick up), and while I was watching TV the other evening, I heard it snap. "I knew it!" I said to myself, and decidedly ignored the sound, opting to clean it up in the daytime (because, as a disliker of darkness and dead things, I just thought it seemed like a good idea). But then I heard the trap banging around in my pantry. "Just the last throws before death," I told myself. But they continued, on and on.
I peeked into the pantry, and saw the mouse, neck in trap, running around frantically, fear-pooping everywhere. What a survivor! You kind of have to respect the little guy. I didn't want it dead then, I just wanted it out of my house. But I do not have the stomach to pick up a live mouse in a trap to carry it outside and release it. I just can't. I thought maybe I could throw the whole thing in the toilet and drown him quick, and then he wouldn't suffer anymore, but I just don't have that in me either. So I went looking for a man. One of my students lives across the street, and I know his dad so I zipped over. But it was almost eleven at night, so there was no sign of movement. I heard low voices and saw two guys standing on the lawn of the Legion, near my place. So I went over to see if I knew them. I didn't. "So, how are you with mice?" I started my introduction. They agreed to come and help me out, and free my little critter. We exchanged names as they came inside (maybe not the best call, but I was desperate) and the one on mouse duty declined my offer of a pair of socks to cover his hands. Then they were gone, with many thanks from me, and I haven't seen them since. But it is just one more example of when a man in the house would come in useful.
Do I NEED a man? Not really. Would I like one? Absolutely... and not just for the mice and yardwork.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Anticipating the Shoe

You know, I read all these different blogs, about the mom adopting from Ethiopia, only to have her daughter die of SIDS weeks before she was supposed to be picked up, the couples who have dealt with miscarriages, the adoption referral that was denied at court by a stupid judge (which ended up working out at the appeal stage), and I can't help but feel like the other shoe has to drop at some point. Everyone has their trials and struggles, and it's not like my life has been perfect, or that things in my life are exactly where I want them to be, but generally, I have had it pretty easy. Well, maybe not, but things don't really get to me, so I always feel like things have been easy.
I know that the wait is going to suck and be emotionally draining, and the time from referral to pick-up is going to be at least as tough, but it's hard for me to think about it. I'm not used to things in life being so tough, and feeling so helpless. I think that must probably be the worst part of it -- feeling like there is nothing you can do, that you are powerless to move things ahead and that you are at the mercy of people a million miles away and fate itself. Hmm. I'm still at the point of blissful stokedness (yep, I'm making that a word), and it's a bit hard to imagine how it'll feel to be there. It's hard too, to imagine I can avoid the turmoil and strains that come with the territory. I don't know if I can force myself to toughen up in preparation for the roller coaster, but I don't know if I can avoid it either. I guess the best I can do is try to roll with the punches, and to force myself to peel me up off the floor when I inevitably get knocked down.
Maybe I shouldn't think about this in advance, it's not really going to do me any good, but I'm just... thinking.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mail, My Sweet Boy and Grace

I faxed off my Notice of Assessment to Imagine today, and got an email back to send the original. And I hadn't yet filled out some of the agency paperwork, and so I printed it off and did that too. So then after school, I tried to get away quick to the post office to send it off, and only after the envelope was on the mail truck (which had waited for me to add my letter to the bag), did I realized that I had only sent the paperwork, not the Notice of Assessment! Dang! So I ran right back in and they kept the truck there while I paid for and addressed another express mail package! Well, at least it's done, right?
I was praying with Jonah at bedtime tonight, and we prayed that his little sister would be safe and healthy and growing up strong in her mummy's belly. And after we were done, Jonah asked something about, when she goes back to Ethiopia (after she's been here). I told him, "She's going to stay with us and live with us."
"Oh!" he smiled.
"And she's going to share your room," I added.
"Oh, okay," he said.
And when you get too big for your tricycle and learn to ride a bike with no training wheels, can she have your bike?" I ask.
"Yeah, she can have it."
Good guy.
If you are not already reading up on Grace's trip to Ethiopia (she met her Anna today and posted all about it -- get a tissue and click on the link on the right-hand column). So exciting.