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Thursday, May 31, 2012

At tae kwon do watching Gabe

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Court Trip anniversary

Here are the thoughts and experiences of our actual court day, a little over a year ago.....we had not passed and had a very odd situation....but it finally did work out- after heart ache, paper work, several glasses of wines and many weeks later
Court date- the day we didn't pass

The major silver lining of our court case trip was that Sam was already in Addis Ababa and we were able to see him several times....he had some special needs and we needed to get xrays done and discuss his legs/prognosis with the medical team that works with the care center (not the doctor from our agency). More visits with our wonderful boy- seeking medical answers
For those wondering- our official court decisions was finally given on June 29th and our decree came on July 1st 2011 :) 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Officially one year since we held Sam for the first time

This time last year i was both elated and in shock. I was elated with how wonderfully "squishy", bubbly, cuddly and lovey my new son was; he squealed with delight and reached for his "ababa" instantly. It was magical and we could not have asked for a more instant connection. I was amazed and thrilled that we were so lucky. What was even more magical is that we took to him instantly as was more than any AP could ask for. What had us in shock was hi care center. We didn't knwo he would be in such an extreme special needs broke our hearts- and it was just so hard to imagine how he grew up in this space with so many kids that were just so in need of intense therapies, - but he somehow thrived in this that is still part of the magic. Here are my thoughts on that day
I can not wrap my head around it being a year ago seems like yesterday. I could tell you what i ate for breakfast, what i wore and details of the drive to his center like i just got out of the guest house bus.....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

touch down and heartstrings

so a year ago today we touched down in Addis Ababa around 730 am. We made it through the Visa line, got our luggage, exchanged money and went through customs...and waited. I remember getting off the plane and smell in the intense smells of diesel. Our ride to the guest house had not yet arrived. A wonderful driver for the Hilton allowed us to use his cell phone several times. We were picked up about 45 minutes later and made our way to the guest house in time enough to breakfast,then crashed for a little while. We were then taken to the post office shops to look around and tour a bit around the capital. The next day we visited Trees of Glory- i need to link to that post for tomorrow :)
It feels like it was yesterday.....i can't believe its been a year
I feel that maybe the emotion of this anniversary and the transition i am literally making this week of leaving teaching for an unknown time, Sam finally being out of casts *for good* (we hope) and as we get closer to becoming formally matched with the little girl who has captured our hearts just has my mind and heart going in all kinds of directions. The new agency we are using is no longer taking applications for their Ethiopia program. They are now focusing on the waiting children they have and the families who have already applied and may be waiting for upwards of 18 months for a referral of a healthy child/infant. The director of the program has been great with communicating with us....we have had many questions and we are researching issues of adopting out of birth order, older child adoption and other special needs. The director has interviewed me, and then john and then us together to really help us understand concerns about this adoption and what it will mean for our family. She has given us the green light to move forward with our homestudy (which we would need regardless) and that after our visit with our social worker we can be matched with her.....while we wait for the HS to be written and to send in our immigration paperwork. Our match with Sam was very much the same. We were permitted to request to go to committee for him before the HS was written, but after it had been underway. I believe we started our HS in May 2010, was matched June 2010 and our HS was ready July 2010. In this way our HS will be more specific to being approved for a WC, with special needs, out of birth order it won;t have to be changed later. Just in case something happens with this referral we will probably have our HS be open to children aged 1- 8years old....big age range- but i wouldnt want to have it amended later..... 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

en route to london- a year later

So this time last year we were day-tripping around London on very little catch a red-eye to Addis and arrive May 23rd......its nearly been a year since were first held our little man....May 25th! i will be linking back to my first days with him. We were so lucky to have so much time with him for court- we had probably 6 different visits. It was heartbreaking for other families with my agencies to travel for a day only to spend an hour with their babies....we were a lucky family to have so much "Sam time"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

health update- adoption progression

i feel stagnant with this adoption, we finally are getting the health/medical check ups for the boys this friday and for myself next week. I dread bringing in both boys to my doctor, so i am trying to figure out a way for john to watch them. However, hes already been taking so much time off, altering his schedule to be with Sam until my school year is officially over...its just taking so long to fill out forms...and i am confused what to do about the financial declaration since i have changed just working part time for so much less. We will still qualify/be able to afford the adoption and we may actually qualify for more grants now that i am part time and not making as much.
In great news- we got a health update on the little girl we are hoping to adopt. Shes doing really well, and according to her weight and height it puts her in the middle, 50th% for a child who is 5 1/2 we are pretty confidant that shes between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2,,,,though malnutrition could have caused her to remain small, but really be closer to 7.  Regardless, it seems developmentally shes right on with her given birthdate of being 5 1/2. We were happy for the medical report....her report in December had us very concerned for her health, but its improved greatly, and we have found out she has been moved to Addis. She is originally from quite far away, on the border with Southern Sudan. Due to her medical concerns last December she was moved to Addis for better medical care.

Happy last week of school...i am uncertain when i will teach again....but i am going back to my original calling of working with animals. I will still continue with my doctoral work....but just unsure about when or if i will be back in the class room anytime soon. Tomorrow i am going to an orientation to start training for being a pet-therapy team with one of my wonderful dogs. Zeek is going to be an amazing pet-therapy companion and i am really excited :) I hope to work with special needs kids, kids in DJJ, with learning disabilities...i am really interested in utilizing pet-therapy with foster/adoptive children with RAD tendencies. First things first is that we must finish Zeeks training...

Friday, May 18, 2012

No weekend for moi

This weekend will be the 2nd weekend i work at a large boarding/grooming/dog day care kennel. My first love was animals...i worked at a pet store for over two years, then with a wild life care center affiliated with the Broward County ASPCA, then did an internship with Farm Sanctuary in upstate NY, i have worked at two different rescues here in SC.....the work is physical, dirty and smelly but i love it. I have been really wanting to work more with therapy dogs and at risk kids....its something i really think would be amazingly rewarding weekend for me
We have a big anniversary coming up next will be the anniversary of meeting Samuel and going to court to officially adopt him. It seems like yesterday...i can tell you what we wore, ate and even watched on the plane. Those days are so vivid in my mind, ...i cant believe its nearly been a year !!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

i should think about *her*

I should think about *her*, - especially today. Her being Sam's first mom. But i have to be truthful, i havent much thought about her. I have not been the emotional adoptive mom that has wept for the first mom, the mom Sam missed, the mom that was forced to give him up. I do know she was seen by the nuns at the indigent children and mothers/expecting mother's center. She sought care there while pregnant....she ended up delivering there out of an emergency, apparently Sam was breach, there were complications. The nuns delivered him. I was able to speak with one of the nuns, she followed him and a group of children to Addis. Sam was left at the medical clinic near the center....and they kept him ....for 18 months before seeking adoption (his first adoption efforts were to European agencies) He was abandoned but at this center they often housed and treated ill/disabled children who were never able to be adopted for various reasons. Families would visit their disabled children, it was almost like a foster group home for children in need of round-the-clock care....but no documentation of any mom, or family visiting Sam.. The little boy with the very twisted legs/feet. I empathize with what she must have gone through, and still somehow question why no one visited or came....even after his first surgery- when might have been "fixed".....but the nuns were quite upfront about him, and how their center works (much different than the traditional orphanages that work with American agencies)....and they said no one ever came. These are European nuns, the ones that helped name him.

Maybe i do not think of her because i just feel no connection to her. Sam feels like *mine*,...the love i feel for Sam is as strong and intense as the love i feel for Gabe, my biological son...i usually just never even fathom that Sam spent his first 3 years elsewhere...he is so connected to our family- although we do keep many Ethiopian connections. Maybe i just shelter myself from getting wrapped up in the emotional toll of having to identify and invest my heart in what his first mother must have gone through.
When we went to court I sat by a birth mom, ...well she ended up sitting by me. It obviously wasn't Sam's birth-mom- since he was an abandonment case....but it was someones birth-mom. My heart trembled for her...she was called back before I was....i wondered about what she had to say, agree to , and try and understand.....there was a man that retrieved her along with a few other moms, but i was so nervous about my own proceedings (which did not go well)- that i didn't catch this group of women again, ...i had meant to try and watch them as they walked say a little prayer for them...wish them well, somehow, in a silent way ....i think about them more than i visualize Sam's first mom. Did something horrible happen to her? Was she unable to bear having to formally relinquish him? Could she not stand the sight of him because he was handicapped? Part of me thinks that she felt he was defective and lesser than....and that just hurts my heart so much- so maybe that's the reason i do not connect with her....Whatever her reasons for sacrificing her son into the fate of the disabled care center's clinic, it paved the way for Sam to be my son.... so i must be thankful for that...and for him saying in a very deliberate way (he practiced with my husband) "Happy mudda day momma! Have a birthday cake?" - sososo adorable,...too bad there was not cake

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Date night

By Date Night- i mean John and I and my friend Manda and Sam....At one point Sam was screaming/ordering/demanding that Manda kiss him. He loves blondes- in a way he can't even hide. We went to Blue Cactus for some great Korean food and walked around 5 points
Sam got to 2nd base with this lady!! hehehe

Friday, May 11, 2012

because i am not as eloquent as she....

This blog is amazing, true the mommy wars are beyond those with moms

I never thought i would be as moved about adoption as i have become...and as frustrated and angry at the failing systems both in the US and abroad that continue to act in corrupt ways, without the true interests of the children at heart. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

elephants, tae kwon do, spider cries and leggos

today has been an eventful day, as per my title. I didn't even throw in there a lengthy phone consultation/interview with our prospective adoption agency. We are still getting HS updated...this is taking forever...damn car and AC trouble, and taking off two 1/2 weeks for Sam's rehab has just stalled us....but it will get done....i am hoping that as my b-day present on June 16th we will be in the writing up stage of our new HS. We just need to compile our new/renewed references, new financial statement and new medicals...then a visit from our bubbly and fun social worker. Apparently our new agency would also like to speak with all of us together to further discuss adopting SN and out of birth order....which is what will likely occur. In fact, we actually have to document that we discuss the realities of SN and out of birth order adoption with other families who have done i may be hitting up some of you AP mommas out there who have done one or both. Do i qualify as a person to talk to about SN? I do talk to myself alot...and Sam has SN....i may just have to put myself down :) Anyhow, the conversation was good. We have a clearer idea of their WC program and when we can qualify to be officially matched. We are mainly interested in one little girl and possibly a little boy (not together) The little boy is slightly younger than Sam, like by 8 months or so and the little girl is the 6ish year old little girl i have mentioned before....still no "serious interest" in either and I have known about them both since early March....The little girl has been in care since late last year. We have alot of thinking about family dynamics to do....and i have been really trying to evaluate certain personality traits, mainly with Sam. Although he totally surprised me this week- we found a wonderful new baby sitter, also an African adoptive family with other bio children....3 that are 3 and under! Their 3 year old and Sam ended up getting along great...after a rocky start. Sam just seems to be soso competitive with boys! Now you show him a little blond girl (like the cute little tinker bell looking girly we saw today at the zoo, or like a certain fellow church member) and Sam *melts*...he loves little girls.
Anyhoo, in more child activity news Gabe started tae kwon do this week and had his 2nd class tonight....he is really liking it and i am happy we are able to send him . We have participated in various martial arts over the years and i am really liking this studio....except its like 20 minutes that sucks.
So the "spider cries" has to do with the Shrek Halloween films that we access on Netflix....Sam has come to love Shrek...except for one scene with spiders in one of these extra films. As John and I were preparing dinner we hear Sam shrieking and crying like hes being attacked....come to find out he saw the spider scene *alone* and couldn't handle....poor little man. It took him 15 minutes to recover but he refused to let us off turn off the film. He has also been playing with Leggos and with that has come that ever familiar desire to create/frustration with failure mixed bag of emotions....often leaving him crying about the leggos, but like the Shrek film, refusing to stop playing with them.
I am also starting a weekend job at a local kennel/boarding/grooming facility. It pays horribly of course, but i need to start raising $ to get HS and immigration stuff done this summer and hopefully dossier materials in late summer. Plus i really love animals and have lots of experience with dogs and kitties....
So this summer it looks like i will be home mostly all week, except for the three weeks of UUCC Hogwarts camp and then part time work on the weekends....sounds great to me!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Case of the Mondays

How do i get a "case of the Mondays" when I am not even working? Well I am working, but not in my teaching position....still. Usually my wonderful husband kisses me good bye and i run through a list of questions " did gabe get the bus, did he get his homework signed off....does he have his swim bag ? (hes in a two week swim lesson unit right now). This morning my husband was sweet and allowed me to sleep uninterrupted, no kissing good bye and no chance for me to ask about Gabe and all his school necessities. However, it was this morning of all mornings that Gabe and John forgot the swim bag. AND our possible adoption agency requested some paper work to be scanned and faxed/emailed...John was supposed to do that too....poor guy. I woke up at 8am, jumped on Yahoo chat and started in on my questions...."swim bag? paperwork?" to both :( His nice gesture turned into him scurrying back home to get swim bag and get paperwork...he didn't even have to do it, i could have take the bag and drive the paperwork to him....but he was adamant that this was "his fault"....i hate Mondays!
I had an interview today, at a school that's similar to mine- struggling with many issues....only it seems their curriculum is even less diverse than my current although i feel the interview went well, i am not certain i am a total fit. It is a nice school- less than 5 years old, huge and "new"....but i am hoping to get into more creative curriculum and work in a different type of program. Still, a big part of me feels i need to teach and stay active....but if its just more of the same, then its not whats best right now. We will see. In other news, Sam went to a new babysitter today. Actually this is the third time ever that someone has watched him outside of our home.....except for at church/school. Sam wore himself out- so many toys and so much stimulation. When we got home, he asked for a hug, a blanket and to lay down....poor guy. Hes going back tomorrow, maybe the transition home will be a little better. I have two more interviews this week.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Can't keep a good man down....

or in this case a newly-turned 4 year old with two casts....seriously this boy DOES*NOT*STOP. Hes crawling and trying to walk on his casts then complains that it hurts...hes scooting all around and climbing on the couch....i fear he may be doing damage to the sutures or pins....and there is no way to tell, its all wrapped up in these big hard, orange casts.
Its been alot of Sam-Mom time...which is always great for our attachment- but its getting stressful for Sams attachment to his brothers and John. Sam has gotten quite used to the "mommy and me" dynamic so in the evening when John and Gabe are home Sam gets irritable and insists that they are "bad guys" and need "time out"- its frustrating because i need him/want him to be close to Gabe. Gabe was home sick yesterday, so i thought the one-on-one time between they two of them would be good. Not so much....they bickered and argued and competed over everything. The issues is that Sam refuses to take direction or receive help from Gabe....Gabe helping Sam with the race car track or with a puzzle leaves Sam yelling at Gabe for his perceived interference. I try and explain that Gabe is a helper- Gabe helps Sam....I think Sam started to understand as they tried their 2nd puzzle. Sam throws these little pouty fits...not really loud at all- just shuts down, and grunts/pouts. This grunt noise that he does has topped my "most annoying sounds list" in a big way.
In other news- i have some job interviews for next week. They are for two different schools. I am ideally needing/looking for part time work. Although John would like me to stay home, i just think if we are going to fund another adoption as well as home repairs and a new-used car for john then i need to work part time.
I applied to a different high school in my district b/c they had an opening for a specific program i am interested in. It would be full time- not ideal. But i know the principal, and hes a great guy.
The other interview is with an alternative school- it is part time and i would be working in an intervention program with students who have different learning disabilities. This interests me greatly, fits my part time schedule and is a pretty great private school. Both are great prospects and would hopefully help me refine a research focus :)

In even *other  news*....i will be getting my hair did!!! i am excited. Hair cuts are something i cut out to save $ plus i wanted to grow mine out....two years later i have had only two actual hair cuts in that time...just trims. Today i am getting a trim too BUT am getting red color! excitement

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

should I?

Go back to red hair ?! I love this

4:30 appt this Friday!