Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wrestling a Water Hose

See this yellow water hose?

Let me tell you something. I. Hate. This. Stinkin'. Hose. Yep that's right I said hate. "But Courtney," you say, "hate is such a strong word. Words like hate should be reserved for things like brussel sprouts and parachute pants and 1980s hairstyles." Nope, I'm not backing down. I said hate, and I'm stickin' with it.

Let me explain. In an effort to revive the Mojave Desert a.k.a. our backyard, I've been watering . . . a lot. First off, this is giving my non-yard loving husband a heart attack. He's not very passionate about mowing and yard work in general . . . even though he has the granddaddy of all lawn mowers. Secondly, he keeps saying, "Our water bill is going to be so high!". Sigh . . . from me. Grimace . . . from him. So I volunteered to pay the water bill next month. I'm not going to try to explain our bill paying system. Our finances are confusing and complicated. Nuff said.

Anyway, focus people, so I'm watering a lot, and I swear that that stupid water hose waits until I get clear on the other side of the yard to set the sprinkler or spray the dirt, and then ties itself in knots. I'm not kidding. It has a mind of its own. It's kind of scary. Like a horror movie . . . "The Yellow Water Hose that Attacked the Short Girl". So I walk ten miles back and just when I reach down to loosen the kink, it wraps itself around my legs and begins squeezing the life out of me . . . or I undo the kink and continue watering the barren wasteland (either way . . . whatever works for you). Just as I'm getting into the dirt watering groove, whaddaya (all one word) think happens? It kinks itself right back up. And once again I hike back to the source of the problem. By the time I reach the kink, I'm sweating profusely and in desperate need of water. No I don't drink water from the hose. I'm already crazy. I can't afford to get lead poisoning. I swear this happens about 50 more times before it's all said and done.

And that is why I hate the water hose. On the other hand, in spite of this ridiculous drought, the Mojave Desert is looking pretty good.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hear That? Me Neither . . .

My house is quiet this morning. Like the kind of quiet that tells you there is definitely not a child (or a husband) within the four (or five or six . . . ) walls of your home. It's the kind of quiet a mother rarely hears. And while I love the chatter of my three year old son, it's the kind of quiet I cherish.

Let's just be honest here. I'm going to put it all out there. Am I the only person that thinks about buying ear plugs somedays? Not so much for Andrew, but for everyone in general. I mean there are times I want to holler, "Would everyone please stop talking to me for five minutes?!?". Just so you know, I'm not crazy or psycho or anything, and I love, love, love my family, but I need my space and time alone which is often hard to come by. Sometimes, between teaching school, where I hear "Mrs. Davis" 2.5 million times in an eight hour period, and then coming home and hearing two (sometimes three) people talking non-stop, while the dogs run around barking, I just want to lock myself away for a while. Which is why my desk is in my closet. I can hide there.

Anyway, this summer Andrew is going to "school" on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I've never done this before this year. I really like having him at home, and he plays really well by himself. But he has a tendency to be anti-social like me, so when given the opportunity it's good that he socialize (at least that's what I'm telling myself :)). Back to my point, the daycare he attended before was connected with the school so when the school shut down for the summer so did the daycare. But this year we planned on switching daycares. I've loved the daycare he has been in since he was ten months old. I love the teachers, and they have loved Andrew. On his last day there, I couldn't hang around because I thought I might burst into tears. Of course, given the fact that I burst into tears with almost every major (and not so major) transition in Andrew's life it's really not a surprise. In spite of my love for his daycare, it was time to move on. We have a fabulous preschool at the Lutheran church in our town. The biggest problem that we faced was that Andrew was having none of it. When I told him he would start a new preschool in the fall he cried. What can I say? He's overly dramatic sensitive like his mama.

I knew he needed time to adjust and transition, so I asked them to call if they had any part time openings in the summer. It is rare that this school has openings. Andrew has been on the waiting list since he was ten months old (and they only take kids three years old and up). So when they called and asked if I was still interested in Tuesdays and Thursdays, I was like "Heck Yes!". (Anyone catch my Napoleon Dynamite reference? Yep, it's official, I'm a dork.)

Needless to say, that's why he's in school right now, and I'm sitting in a very quiet house and drinking my coffee without any interruption. Not to worry, by the end of the day I will miss my child's non-stop (when I say non-stop, I literally mean non-stop) talking  like crazy and will be thrilled to kiss his chubby, albeit dirty, little cheeks. But until then . . .

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What's Been Happening?

Okay, so I just put two and two together and realized that our fingerprints for Homeland Security also have to be approved by the FBI. Only this time it's electronic. I think I've been down this road. Remember the ink prints? Why can't the left hand talk to the right hand and get it together? Why must we be fingerprinted twice? I realize that not all countries require ink prints, but geeze louise people, I could save everyone a lot of time and money here.

On another note we had a busy weekend. We went to the Watermelon Thump in our hometown. The town where we grew up is small. It's filled with pumping units, there are two of the best barbecue places in the world (I'm gonna get grief for that comment), and every half hour or so a train goes right through the middle of town. It has a population of about 5500 and two stoplights, and it's home. Every year during the Thump it grows by leaps and bounds. People come from all over to enjoy the insanity that is the Watermelon Thump. The truth is, I'm not much on the crowds combined with the heat, but it would a federal offense not to visit the Thump and hang out for a while. And besides that my Aunt Karen was the Grand Marshall in the parade on Saturday.

On Thursday night we let Andrew ride the germ infested and dangerous carnival rides, and eat foods we would never let him consume on any other day of his life. Can you say funnel cakes and fried "everything" on a stick?

Looking up at the Ferris Wheel.

Hanging out with his cousins and acting like his father.

Taking a spin on a motorcycle.

Rounding out the evening on the fastest carousel ever. I kid you not, that thing was flying. Like I was ready to catch a kid or two as they flew off. Andrew named his horse Paycheck. I have no idea where that came from.

On Friday we took a break from the heat and took Andrew to see Cars 2. It was a little above his head, and I wasn't too crazy about it. Remember those pumping units I mentioned earlier? Well my family is in the oil business. If you've seen the movie this will make sense. If you haven't well then you're totally lost. Sorry. Either way, he had fun.

Ready to go to the movies

On Saturday morning we ventured back out into the sweltering heat to enjoy the Annual Watermelon Thump Parade with friends and family.

Aunt Karen doing a "grand" job of "marshalling" the parade. Sorry about the picture quality. I'm not good at shooting moving objects.

See how Andrew is sitting? He's super cool like his mother.

Enjoying the sights and sounds with cousin Chloe.

After the parade and lunch, we felt like we'd paid our dues for the year, and so we headed home to do yardwork. Yep, I said yardwork. We put on some more sunscreen and got to work on our pathetic and greatly neglected backyard. Even though we're in the middle of a drought and are sadly behind for rainfall for the year, I am determined to ressurect our backyard. My husband is thrilled.

After, working for hours we were finally ready to call it a day but not before Superman showed up to help with the watering.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

Like my "Lost in Space" reference? Talk about a show with great special effects. ;)

I was too lazy to unload the dishes from the dishwasher so I just washed a bunch of dishes by hand. Which begs the question, does the fact that I just washed dishes by hand negate the fact that I was too lazy to unload the dishwasher?

Okay, yeah, pointless conversation. I know.

The good news (see there is a point to this post) is we (we meaning I) talked to our caseworker Soojin Thursday. In her words we are "90% done" with our paperwork. What a relief! We also received a letter from Homeland Security stating that we should come in for questioning. Just kidding. It actually said we would be getting our fingerprinting appointment time and place in the mail sometime in the near future. Not completely sure what the time frame is on near future but we are one step closer. After that we wait to receive our approval letter. Once that is in hand, we get everything apostilled and sent off to our adoption agency. Our dossier will have to be translated which is taking around four weeks at this point. Once it is translated it will be submitted to the MOJ in Bulgaria.

The bad news is I have managed to thoroughly freak myself out. I've told ya'll before that the internet is my best friend and my worst enemy. Everyone has heard the quote "knowledge is power" by Sir Francis Bacon. I agree with this quote most of the time, but I also buy into the notion that too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Especially, when you're me. And of course, there is the fact that when we lean on our own knowledge and not on God, we are failing to acknowledge what a mighty God we serve. (Go ahead . . . sing the song . . . I didn't do that on purpose, but as soon as I typed it the song popped into my head). Proverbs 3:5-6 (New King James Version) 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 

So anyway, I decided to join a couple Bulgaria adoption forums on the internet. I figured I might get some advice and find some much needed information. But the thing I forgot, is that I don't filter things well. I take everything and everyone at face value, and that can lead to problems. Needless to say, in one of the forums the subject of wait times came up. And I started following the thread. Yeah, shouldn't have done that. People were commenting that no one was adopting healthy children from Bulgaria (which we know isn't true because our own agency has seen referrals for healthy children). People were saying that if you are thinking about starting you should just stop because the wait will be well over 36 months (our adoption agency has 36 months as a max . . . breathe deeply, don't panic). People were saying that the adoption agencies were lying. That one I was able to shut down in my mind very quickly. I trust our agency. I trust the people that work there. Anyway, I had a moment. I got over it rather quickly . . . my drama is relatively short-lived (most of the time).

The first thing I did was unsubscribe to the emails. I'm choosing to go the whole "ignorance is bliss" route here. I don't have all the answers, but I do firmly believe that things will pick up for Bulgaria. I'm sure that there are people who will say "you're just a rookie" and "we all had that kind of hope at one point". I'm just gonna say "blah, blah, blah". Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm stupid. Or maybe I'm just going to have to remember that we are on this road and we're not turning back. We have to stay the course and trust God to bring us through. I am going to ask for prayers from you guys though. Please pray for us to have peace and to fully trust in God throughout this process. Also, pray that Bulgaria gets it together and starts sending out referrals much more quickly. There are a lot of children waiting for parents to bring them home. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your support. Both are greatly appreciated.

Psalm 31:19-24

New King James Version (NKJV)

 19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
         Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
         Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
         In the presence of the sons of men!
 20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
         From the plots of man;
         You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion
         From the strife of tongues.

 21 Blessed be the LORD,
         For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
 22 For I said in my haste,
         “I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
         Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
         When I cried out to You.

 23 Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints!
         For the LORD preserves the faithful,
         And fully repays the proud person.
 24 Be of good courage,
         And He shall strengthen your heart,
         All you who hope in the LORD.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome to the ER . . . Your Room is Down the Hall, On the Right

First, I am aware that my title on my last post was very much grammatically incorrect. It's bothering me too. I'm not changing it. That's all.

Last night, we decided to head to church with Patrick. We don't go during the school year, because it's just too hard to get fed and bathed and out the door on time. Plus it has us climbing into bed way past bedtime. But during the summer, we try to go with him as much as possible.

Anyway, last night we went, but before we left I mentioned to Patrick that I wanted to be home by 9:00. I was tired and didn't want to be up half the night. Uh, anyone remember Murphy's Law? Yeah, it didn't cross my mind either. So, we got to church, and made it through praise & worship without any major problems. Andrew was in a good mood, and was ready to go to "Sunday" School. After the music was finished, I dropped him off with his teachers and headed to help Patrick with the youth.

Youth was uneventful, and I didn't have to lay the smack down on anyone so that was good. Just as we were finishing up, one of the teachers from Andrew's class comes to get me and tells me that his ear is hurting really badly. Now, Andrew has had a lot of ear infections. He's had tubes three times. At one point he was on antibiotics for 40 days solid. Any time he says his ear hurts I take it seriously.

I went to check on him, and sure enough, there he sat with his hand over his left ear. He kept saying it was hurting "bad" so I decided to gather up his things. All the while, Andrew continued to complain, and I was about ready to hit the ER because the last time this happened (with tubes in his ears) the fluid couldn't drain and his ear drum burst. Before, we made a final decision on what to do, Patrick took Andrew to the bathroom, and that's when the wailing crying began. I couldn't figure out what was going on, but Andrew was coming apart at the seams, so I busted in the bathroom. That's when he said it, "Mommy, I put a pencil in my ear." Oh for the love of money . . . child, you have got to be kidding me! Nope, he wasn't kidding. He actually put a pencil in his ear. So we knew for sure that a trip to the ER was warranted.

When we got to the ER it was packed. I mean it was crawling with people. It was like "Hey let's all head to the ER and have a family reunion. Yay!" Very few people actually looked sick. That didn't matter. I went into full on germaphobe mode. Don't anyone dare touch anything, and keep your breathing shallow. You're less likely to inhale something that way. Sounds good anyway. Thank the good Lord above, we got called back relatively quickly, where we then waited for an eternity. I thought Andrew might be driving by the time we got out of there.

Like I said, we waited for an eternity, and I really didn't care if it was a senile patient from the psych ward (there is no psych ward in the hospital we were at), I just wanted someone to look in his ear. It was late, and you would think my child would be tired. Possibly falling asleep. Oh no, he was singing and dancing and repeatedly asking us to take his picture on our phones. It was becoming evident that his ear wasn't damaged, but darnit, I had already paid my copay, and somebody was looking in that ear. While we waited, I eavesdropped on the other patients through the curtains. The things people do and say amaze me. I mean the ER would be first rate entertainment if wasn't for all the bacteria, viruses, blood, and bodily fluids. Sorry. I shouldn't have said bodily fluids.

Anyway, after approximately 15 years, the Doctor or P.A. or Janitor or whoever the nice man was, came and took about 2.3 seconds to look in Andrew's ear. Guess what? It was fine. Then they chatted about carnival rides. Strange? Yes, but then again my life is bizarre so nothing surprises me anymore. He told us to sit tight, and he would get us our discharge papers . . . cue Jeopardy theme song . . . now cue it 150 more times.

Finally after a decade or ten, this very nice, very clueless nurse brings us our discharge papers. She says, "I'm so glad there was nothing in his ear." I respond, "Oh we didn't think there was anything in there. We were just concerned because he shoved a pencil down it and wanted to be sure he didn't damage anything." She answers, "Oh yeah, I'm really glad that pencil wasn't still in there." I stare at her blankly and nod and then say, "Well he just poked it in. He didn't leave it there." Which she follows with, "I know, I know. I'm just really glad the doctor didn't find the object in there." It was 11:00 p.m. I was exhausted, and this nurse apparently thought that we wouldn't notice if a pencil was stuck in our child's ear. I mean, how small did she think this pencil was? I gave up. I wasn't explaining it again.

We left. So much for making it to bed early. We finally laid down a little before midnight.  

And that girls and boys is why you do not let your children use pencils and/or pens until they are 35.

The End

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Me, TLC, and Discovery Have a Date

In case you're wondering, TLC does not stand for Tender Loving Care. It stands for The Learning Channel. And in case you care (or not) I have a major addiction to both TLC and Discovery. Just a side note: This is a pointless post with absolutely no redeeming value. Just thought I'd warn you.

The thing is, I don't watch much t.v. at all. I prefer reading to t.v. any day. Patrick and I don't have any certain series we can't miss. You won't find us sitting in front of the t.v. after dinner. But when given the chance, I have a short list of shows I watch. Enter the Tivo or DVR or whatever that heaven sent thing is called. We didn't have one of these babies because I was too cheap to pay for it until just recently. And the only reason we got it was because we threatened to reduce our cable coverage. Enter free DVR and some other stuff. Enter the ability to record shows to watch on my schedule. Enter bliss. Now I have something to watch while ironing. Ironing is something I have a love-hate relationship with. I love crisp wrinkle-free clothes, and my husband can't look like a slob. But, I hate ironing. Hence the love-hate relationship. At least watching something I enjoy makes it more bearable.

So anyway, back to TLC and Discovery. They have some of the most interesting and frankly, strangest shows I've ever seen.

Deadliest Catch - I'm thinking about taking up crab fishing. What do you think? Can't you see me getting thrown over the side of a fishing boat?

My Strange Addiction - Really, who eats toilet paper or sleeps with their blow dryer? I guess these people do.

The Duggars: 19 Kids and Counting - Yes, I said 19. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the Duggars. I don't agree with their views on birth control (but I won't go into all that here). I do, however, think that in spite of the fame and attention, they've managed to maintain a somewhat normal and happy life. I do agree with a lot of their values, and their show is fun to watch.

The Little Couple - I just like them. And they live in Texas. Nuff said ya'll.

Little People, Big World - No longer on the air. One of my all time favorites. Forever missed. Yes, I'm being ridiculous and melodramatic . . . live with it.

Cake Boss - Oh Buddy, Buddy, Buddy . . . I would have you bake my kid's birthday cake. But you're in Hoboken, New Jersey, and I'm in Texas. Besides, I'm 110% sure I can't afford you. But I still love your show.

Kate +8 - I don't watch it! Back in the day, when Andrew was first "borned" (as he puts it), and I was supposed to be laying on the couch recovering from my C-Section but was really changing diapers, washing dishes, doing laundry and putting up Christmas decorations in October, I got hooked on Jon & Kate+8.  (Do not do what I did. I was up 8 hours after my C-section with my nurse trailing behind telling me I should go back to bed. Come you know where or high water I was getting to that NICU to see my baby. Nevermind that I almost passed clean out on the NICU floor. That shall remain a secret. Got it?) Where was I? Oh yes, I was hooked on J&K+8. I thought the kids were cute, and their arguing, in the beginning, wasn't too bad. I mean what can you expect from people with 8 kids? But it quickly became apparent that Kate was, well there is no nice word for what she was and still is, so I'll leave it at she had no respect for her husband. Then Jon completely lost all sanity and they both chose fame and fortune over their kids. And, well,  I have come to despise the whole show, and I think it's a joke. Sorry if you like it, but I will not watch it.

Sister Wives - I so do not agree with their lifestyle. It actually makes me angry, but I can't seem to look away. It's kind of like a train wreck. And so I watch it. I mean I find it hard to believe that many women can live together without clawing each other's eyes out . . . Besides that, I think it's a huge publicity stunt.

And there you have it . . . a completely unsolicited list of the ridiculous shows I sometimes watch (and even some I don't). You will notice Hoarder's: Buried Alive isn't on the list. It hits too close to home. Just kidding honey.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Waving the White Flag

I knew I was pregnant with Andrew really early on. As soon as I knew, I switched into overprotective mother mode. I watched what I ate, exercised, never slept on my back, paid careful attention to exactly how much weight I gained (not too much, not too little) . . . I was insanely careful. I mean the entire time I was pregnant I didn't touch lunch meat. All around me pregnant friends were eating sub sandwiches (which I craved like crazy), and I resisted. There is a very strong possibility I went overboard, but then that's my personality.

When Andrew was born prematurely, I kicked it up a notch. Except for doctor and family visits he didn't see the light of day for almost 10 weeks. Even then I was paranoid very careful. No way anyone that didn't first pass a 200 point inspection was touching my baby.

As Andrew grew, I began to realize that I had to let go a little. His first day in daycare (he was 10 months old) he got a minuscule bruise on his leg, which I promptly pointed out to his teacher. She laughed and said, "Honey, he's gonna get a lot more bruises than that."

We've been through a lot in the past four years. Andrew came early. He was so tiny and looked so fragile. He's been sick. I've said before we should have our own room at the pediatrician's office. For crying out loud, the child has had three sets of ear tubes. He's been hurt. I'm incredibly thankful he has a hard head. He's misbehaved and thrown fits. Guess it just comes with the territory. He's also told me he loves me more times than I can count. He gives spontaneous hugs and kisses. And at night, right before he drifts off and I go in to check on him he asks, "Can you yay with me . . . for just a yittle while?" (Translated: Can you lay with me for just a little while? In case you don't speak preschooler) Through it all, I've had to learn that at the end of the day I really have very little control. Yikes! Over and over again I have to leave Andrew in the hands of God.

Which brings me to my point. Bet you didn't know that was all the pre-show!

The other day I was looking in our pantry, which happens to be very full because of the junk food that made its way back from our vacation, and the thought pops into my head, "This pantry is too full and is a big, ridiculous, disorganized mess". That thought was rapidly followed by, "How selfish can you be? I wonder if our little girl (if she's born yet) has enough food? I wonder if she's hungry?". These kind of thoughts can escalate extremely quickly, "I wonder if she's clean?" "I wonder if she's held?" "I wonder if she's rocked?" "I wonder if she's loved?" . . . things like starvation, neglect, and malnourishment really hit home when you're talking about your own baby.

The truth is I can't answer any of those questions except the last one. The last one I can answer clearly, "Yes, she is loved." She is loved by us, but even more, she is loved by the one true God. I have realized that I cannot follow the line of thinking into which these thoughts lead. It's completely unproductive and causes me to worry about things over which I have no control. But I can pray, and I can give it to God. I can trust Him to bring people into her life that will hold her, that will rock her, that will bathe her, that will feed her, that will be there for her. So you know what? I'm waving the white flag. I surrender. It's not in my hands, and in all honesty, it never was . . .

(click on the title to hear the song)
By Marc James

I'm giving You my heart
All that is within
I lay it all down
For the sake of You my King
I'm giving You my dreams laying down my rights
I'm giving up my pride
For the promise of new life

And I Surrender
All to You, all to You

I'm singing You this song
I'm waiting at the Cross
All the world holds dear
I count it all as loss
For the sake of knowing You
For the glory of Your name
To know the lasting joy
Even sharing in Your pain

Monday, June 20, 2011

20 Things You May or May Not Know About Me

Sorry about the wordy ones. I like to talk . . . a lot.
  1. I don't like sweet tea.
  2. I've only been camping once in my life. It was in college. I'm still traumatized. I will never go again.
  3. I did not dream about my wedding day all of my life. I had it all planned and organized in one week.
  4. I was raised to be a strong, loving, and independent woman. My mom taught me, by example, that it is rarely about me. (Even on my wedding day she didn't buy into all the "this is your day" hype. It wasn't my day. It was our day to share with friends and family. Whew . . . sorry . . . not sure where that came from.) I strive to be more like my mom everyday.  A lot of days I fail miserably.
  5. When I was 18 my parents drug me to a university four hours from home, tied me up, gagged me, and forced me to stay (okay, I may be exaggerating a little bit but not much). I will forever be thankful they did this. I will do the same thing to my kids (minus the tying up and gagging part . . . you do know that's all a joke . . . right?).
  6. My husband and I had a long distance relationship all through college, and it worked beautifully.
  7. I lived alone my senior year in college. It was bliss.
  8. I love to shop.
  9. I'm a good manager of money.
  10. I'm a germaphobe clean freak.
  11. I'm terribly uncoordinated.
  12. I love to read, and I'm not a big t.v./movies person (except for TLC & Discovery . . . I'm addicted).
  13. When I was in school, I was good at academics and hated sports (see terribly uncoordinated). However, I do like to work out . . . alone.
  14. I'm very hard-headed opinionated and a little on the bossy side.
  15. The top three gifts I've ever gotten (listed in no particular order): my Kindle, my gas grill, and my treadmill (all from my husband :)).
  16. I would be a professional student if I could. I'm a nerd.
  17. If I was independently wealthy, I would buy a motor home and see all of the great big United States of America. I'm 80 at heart. Have I mentioned, I'm a nerd?
  18. I dream in color.
  19. I could have never fathomed that I would love being a mother as much as I do.
  20. God followed by my family are the most important things in my life.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Fathers laugh when you do something totally inappropriate and mortifying in a public place and then loudly and proudly ask "do you smell it?" (Just keeping it real here). Fathers wrestle with you and let you "fight them up" right before bedtime so that it takes you approximately six years to settle down and go to sleep. Fathers let you eat McDonalds and grilled cheese every meal for four days while your mom is in bed with the flu. Fathers watch "Finding Nemo" for the 800th time just because you want to (which just happens to be a movie about a father's love for his son). Fathers rescue you from your mother (or rescue your mother from you) when she's on the brink and may or may not be ready to pull two handfuls of hair out.

Fathers protect. Fathers laugh. Fathers play. Fathers lead. Fathers guide. Fathers pray.

Fathers love.

I been blessed twice in my life. First, by a wonderful father to raise, support, and love me. Second, by a wonderful husband who turned out to be an amazing father. I don't think I'm alone when I say, there are few things better than seeing your husband love your child(ren). Happy Father's Day to two amazing men. Thanks for being the dads you are. Your children are blessed because of you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hello My Name is Courtney . . .

So I realized today, yeah it takes me a while to catch on to things, that some people may come here thinking it is strictly an adoption blog and then may be annoyed, surprised, shocked, take your pick, when there are posts about everything from adoption to Oreos (Oreos how I love thee). So I thought I'd clear the air a little.

I did start this is a pseudo-adoption blog. We, meaning my husband and myself (as opposed to me and the dogs?), are currently in the process of adopting from Bulgaria. We are waiting for Bulgaria (or at least a little girl from there). Except we are not quite to the "official" waiting stage of the game yet. If you didn't know that then you are probably brand-spanking new to this blog. Hang around for a while.

So yes, one of my main purposes is to chronicle our adoption. All the highs and lows and everything in between. And the everything in between is where all those other posts come in. You know how you were always shocked when you saw one of your teachers shopping or eating out? Like you spent most of your childhood thinking that they ate and slept at the school. Well, sometimes that's kind of what it's like for adoptive families. Adoption never leaves our minds. Just like pregnancy doesn't leave the mind of a pregnant woman. But in between all the craziness of paperwork and waiting, and redoing paperwork, and worrying and stressing, we also have to eat, sleep, play, fight, laugh, and cry. Life still happens.

I've also had a lot of people that know me tell me that they've learned more about me through my blog than they have in years of knowing me. That's because I'm socially inept. Haha! Just kidding (sort of). But the truth is, I'm not an extremely demonstrative person (except with my family), and I've never been the type to walk into a room and have people flock to me. A lot of people think I'm shy. I'm not, I actually talk a lot, but most of the time it takes a long time for me to get comfortable enough to really talk to people (especially in one-on-one situations). There are a few people in this world I click with, and with them I can talk for hours from the get go. But if you've ever thought I'm being rude by not speaking to you, I'm not. I promise! I'm actually racking my brain for something semi-intelligent to say. Nine times out of ten I end up sounding like a moron. Like I said I'm socially inept. Anyway that's where my writing comes in. I've always found it easy to write. When I was very young, I found that writing was a great way to express myself. And so this blog was born (I say that as if it were the birth of something great. Haha! Now that's funny!).

This blog is the story of our lives adoption and all (sounds so poetic). Sometimes it's interesting, sometimes it's hilarious, a lot of times it's probably a little blah, but it is what it is. I hope my kids look back one day and enjoy reading all the craziness. Or they'll look back and think their mom is just plain crazy. Either way welcome to the Funny Farm.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hungry Anyone?

Ignore the huge box of cookies in the background. We took those on vacation. We didn't eat them. Now they're sitting in my kitchen taunting me.

This is what I'm doing today . . . baking . . . not eating. I've made double chocolate brownies and peanut butter brownies for our youth group's bake sale tomorrow, and I've made a strawberry cake for Patrick's (30th) birthday dinner tonight. Later on I'm going to grill ribs and chicken to go along with some corn on the cob and watermelon (don't worry I'm not grilling the watermelon).

Now see the mixing bowl sitting on top of the stove by the un-iced cake? That's there for a reason. But first I should make a confession. I am not a recipe follower. In the kitchen I'm a rebel. I haphazardly measure (if I measure at all), I don't pay attention to what I'm doing, I've been known to forget ingredients, and I make a ginormous mess. Especially when it comes to baking. Which is why I don't bake all that often. Anyway, in that bowl is the icing for the cake. The icing calls for butter creamed with powdered sugar. Easy enough. I softened the butter, threw it in my mixer, and then for some reason I don't fully understand tossed the (still cold) strawberries I had just pureed on top of it. Shoot a mosquito. That wasn't smart. I knew better, but did it stop me? Nope. Then, because if I don't have some sort of disaster in the kitchen it's not a complete day, I turned on my mixer. Creamed? Not so much. More like chunks of cold butter mixed in with strawberries. So anyway, I set the mixing bowl on a warm burner hoping to soften the butter. But then I had to be careful not to cook the icing. Thank the good Lord it worked. Here's the final result.

And that by the way is double the amount of icing I needed. I drank the rest. Ha!Ha! Just kidding. Now I've gotta run and scrape strawberries off the floor. Not so much kidding about that. Have a fanastic Friday everyone.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

For This Child . . .

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Hannah and Samuel. If you've never read it you can find it in 1 Samuel 1:1. This is the story of a woman who more than anything wanted a child yet could not conceive. In her desperation she cried out to God, and He heard. But Hannah didn't hold on to Samuel. She gave him back to God at a very young age. Just after he was weaned she took him to live at the temple. Many of us can't imagine what it would be like to leave our children at the temple. But Hannah did what she felt God was calling her to do, and while God doesn't call you to literally take your children to live at your church, although some of you may think that's not a bad idea, He does call us to dedicate our children to Him.

One of my favorite scriptures in this passage is 1 Samuel 1:27
"27 For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him."

Andrew is my first Samuel. I waited a long time for him. I actually wanted to name him Samuel, but with our last name being Davis, Patrick was afraid people would call him Sammy Davis, Jr. (Andrew fits him better anyway). Our daughter will be our second Samuel. I pray for her daily. Right now we hold her in our hearts. One day we will hold her in our arms.

Both of our children belong to God. I don't think that has ever been a question in our lives. Honestly, I'm not sure how people parent without God's guidance and help. Being a parent is not easy. It is so challenging, but it is also so fulfilling. I encourage you today to dedicate your children to God. I encourage you to pray for them. To seek God's guidance in raising them. To trust Him to lead you and guide you and help you to be the best parent you can be. I have no doubt that you will find that the road is so much easier with God's leading and guiding.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

For our Dossier we have to submit photos of our family, the interior of our home, and the exterior of our home. I had the photos of our family on my computer, and I've been taking pictures of the interior of our house on those rare occassions when it doesn't look like a tornado hit a toy store in our house. I have not done the exterior photos yet. Someone needs to mow the grass. I don't mow the grass. I had to mow it growing up, and so I now refuse to do it. I'm a good wife that way.

Anyway, the thing is my husband is a realtor and takes pictures of houses all the time. He also has programs on his computer to set them up. I have no programs, and I have very few skills when it comes to placing pictures on pages or flyers or whatever you want to call them. I could've let him take the pictures and arrange them on pages, but that would've been easy. I prefer to do things the difficult way if at all possible. It's how I roll. So I've spent the better part of my day trying to arrange pictures on Microsoft Word so that they look halfway decent. It is far from perfect, but it is done, and I'm not changing it.

You know what? I just remembered that my work laptop is sitting in the other room. It has all kinds of programs that do all sorts of things (wow that's not vague at all). Too bad I'm too lazy to redo everything on it.

Okay, so because I worked my tail end off, and because I think you care so much . . . not . . . I copied the flyers or pages or whatever into paint and saved them as a jpeg so I could share them with you (I know there is an easier way . . . I like to do things the hard way . . . see above). A couple (or about 27) things. First, I added a frame to most of the pictures. You know to jazz them up. But that frame looks like a bunch of dots when copied into paint. Also, I used the classy spray paint feature and painted over our last names and middle initials. Seeing as how you can find my last name on other parts of this blog that is completely pointless, but I did it anyway. You know, just in case you're trying to steal my very cool identity. Don't worry it doesn't have all these dots and spray paint marks real life (as if you're having trouble sleeping because you think these pictures look a little on the tacky side). Secondly, try to control your insane jealousy over the beauty of my house. Especially, the lime green table cloth in the kitchen. I put it on for Easter. It's not still there, but yeah it was a very distasteful part of our lives for a few days. Thirdly, yes we have a lot of televisions. No, we don't regularly use all of them. Yes, the nicest one is in the playroom. The old one in there bit the dust so the playroom got a flatscreen. We also have a flatscreen hanging in our bathroom (no comments, it's the only place I get to watch t.v.). We have no other flatscreens for a couple of reasons. 1.Our t.v.s work fine . . . and I'm holding out until they break (baseball bat anyone) 2.Our entertainment center can't hold a huge t.v. and Patrick won't buy one that fits inside. He actually suggested we set one top. Uh no, I don't think so. Anyway our entertainment center is huge and heavy and wasn't cheap, and so it and the t.v. both stay. Sorry about all that completely useless information.

And now presenting . . . in all their glory  (or not). . .  The Photos of Our Home and Family (again, ignore the dumb dots)

 This may hands down without a doubt, be one of the worst blog posts I've posted so far. I mean could it get any uglier?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Short & Sweet

So after much ado about something, we finally overnighted the I-800A form to NBC this afternoon. I had everything filled out and ready to go last night except for one question. The form asked me to reference the pre-adoption requirements/laws for Texas and state that they were completed. Now I was 100% certain they were completed, but I had know idea what exactly they were. Therefore, I couldn't exactly reference them. So I emailed our home study agency. The poor girl was like "Do they want the whole code? Do they know how long it is?" We were both lost as to what to do. And by lost I mean completely clueless. Part of the reason this came up is because our home study agency is here in Texas while our adoption agency is in Oregon. Normally, this is an adoption agency question, but our adoption agency is not familiar with Texas law. I spent hours looking through adoption law trying to figure out what does and does not apply to international adoption. Finally in desperation I emailed our caseworker in Oregon, and prayed about it. Yes I know I should've prayed first, but sometimes I get ahead of myself and forget to do the most important thing first. In spite of the fact that I put the cart in front of the horse (again), God came through in the form of our very awesome caseworker. Somehow she found the necessary information and emailed it to me all typed up and concise and ready to be notarized!

So we sealed everything and overnighted it. After it was sent I realized that I had dated everything the 15th of June instead of the 14th of June. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I had it in my head that I wanted it to arrive on the 15th so I apparently dated everything the 15th. I am hoping and praying (mostly praying) that it doesn't make a difference. We would greatly appreciate your prayers that this is all completed in a very timely manner (like before I go back to work in August). Once we finish this we can get everything assembled and apostilled and then send our dossier to AGCI and ultimately Bulgaria.

That's all for tonight. Enjoy your evening everyone.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Approval Letters, Gangplanks, Bad Service, and Wrong Turns (all in one post)

First off, I have six notarized copies of the completed home study in my hot little hands along with an approval letter, and boy am I happy. Everything looks great and we are ready to get this wagon train a-movin. Tomorrow I will be sending off the I800A to NBC (along with some mula and some other other impt. docs). So here's a quick question for any of you international adoption folks (especially those living in the Central Texas area). Could someone please clarify the time frame on this? I mean if I overnight it tomorrow then about how long will it take to get our fingerprinting appointment? And then when we get the appointment time how much notice do they give you? A day? A week? A month? I'm a bit confused on this part, and I don't want to annoy my poor caseworker to death. You have no idea how many questions I have already asked her. Any anwers would be much appreciated . . . please and thank you.

So anyhow totally changing the subject, we just got back from the beach.

We had a blast. Yes Andrew is wearing pajamas in the above picture. We made the mistake of going out after his bath. Which led to another bath. Andrew was a complete fish, although he preferred the pool to the ocean. He's at the age where you can just put some floaties on him, throw him in the pool, and go grab a bite to eat. . . And that was a joke. You can put the phone away. You don't have to call Child Protective Services on me. But in all honesty he wore arm floaties, and "swam" all over the pool. I tried to keep up with him, but everytime I touched him, he had a complete break down. He apparently can "swim" all by himself. So Patrick and I spent a large amount of time chasing him around the ridiculously large pool.

We went with my sister and her family, and frankly, they wear me out. I mean their clocks run differently than ours. Andrew is of the early to bed and early to rise school. Her kids are not. The problem is, even when Andrew goes to bed late he still rises early. So yeah, we were already a little tired, but on the way home we decided to go through Corpus Christi and take the boys through the USS Lexington. Other than the fact that it was around 1 million degrees yesterday the boys had a lot of fun.

We saw a few of these. . .

And went up and down about 297 flights of these . . .

The boys also had an important conference on the state of affairs (whatever that means). It was all very serious. Well at least Nathan and Anthony thought it was serious (I think they were just starving). Brendon and Andrew not so much.

Before we hit the road we made my bro-in-law walk the gangplank. Hey don't mess with me or I'll lay the smack down on you. Yeah, but I'm not kidding when I say that thing was sc-ar-y. I mean one wrong move and your catapulted out to sea.

So funny story about the trip home. We left the Lexington at around 1:30 and we were all tired, hot, and hungry. Not the greatest combination, especially when you have 4 boys 12 and under involved. We drove down the road a ways trying to find somewhere decent to eat. We didn't really want to eat fast food so we decided to pull over at a chain restaurant that was just down the highway. (I won't mention the name but if your ever in Portland, Texas let me know, and I'll tell you where not to eat). Anyway we entered this fine establishment around 2:00 p.m. It wasn't crowded, and we figured we'd be in and out in under an hour. We were seated immediately, and our drink order was taken rather quickly. And that ladies and gents is where the quickly stopped. Our drinks came after about 15 minutes and we managed to hold down the waitress for a few minutes to take our food order. Seeing as how we were thirsty we sucked the drinks dry in about 2.5 seconds. And then we waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. We had ordered a couple appetizers (don't forget that we were on the brink of starvation at this point) which finally arrived, and we asked for refills on the drinks. Mine and Patrick's got refilled, but not my sister's or Hector's or any of the kids'. After another 15-20 minutes (we had been here almost an hour at this point) our waitress comes by and says "oh can I refill those drinks?". We were like "Sure, the ones you were gonna refill 26 hours ago?!?" Not to worry, we weren't that rude, but really people get it together.

Of course the drinks never made it back to our table and then our waitress disappears. Like I Dream of Jeannie style. Finally after another 15 minutes some guy brings most of the food except for Patrick's and Hector's. We tried to ask about their food, but you had to dive on the ground and grab someone by the ankles to get them to stop long enough to listen to you. I sent up a smoke signal, and got someone to our table to ask about the rest of our order, and the waitress (different one this time) was like "Oh yeah, your waitress got sick and left. Let me see if she put that in or not." What? For Pete's Parker people you have got to be kidding me. I mean I'm sorry the poor girl got sick, but does that mean you just leave us to slowly starve to death here? About five minutes later a different waiter brings their food out freshly nuked. They ate it in less than 10 minutes, which is a miracle for my husband because he eats slower than molasses in January, and we were ready to be on our way.

Everyone went to the restroom, and Sarah and I waited for the ticket. We waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. Beginning to see a pattern? The men went to load up the boys. And I sent up another smoke signal. Finally after another 10-15 minutes, some man brings our ticket and says "Yeah that power surge really messed things up." Um, what? Did our waitress get shocked instead of sick? It was like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone. Sarah begins reading the ticket like it's a romance novel, and I was so not caring at this point. I grabbed it from her, and immediately noticed that they actually had the gall to add in the tip. Now I'm normally a good tipper, but if they thought I was leaving a tip when no one had the decency to apologize or check on us or give me a free dessert they had lost their bloomin' minds. Who exactly were we leaving the tip for? So we left our cash sans tip and headed out. Now if you are are a waiter or waitress I know it's a tough job. I am in no way denying that, but this was hands down the worst service I have ever had anywhere. And I've eaten out at a lot of different places, but this was the first time I have not left a tip.

So two hours later, we booked it out of there caravan style with me leading the pack (okay my sister's truck was the only other vehicle but work with me here). Two things are important to note (1) I've been to the beach a million times (2) I always take a wrong turn and go the long way (not the wrong way, just the long way). This time I had my handy dandy navigation system to work with (it's never failed me), but lo and behold when it came time to make the turn in the correct direction it told me to turn right . . . into a pasture. Hello? So I got all flustered (imagine that) and ended up turning at the wrong turn. Then the navigation system started to freak out and kept screaming "turn left then turn left" in a robotic voice. At which point I threatened to destroy it, and anyway, there was no way to turn around even if I wanted to (which I didn't . . . see bold above). Needless to say, we may have seen miles and miles of Texas that we didn't want to see yesterday. That's what happens when you let someone with no sense of direction lead the pack. Oops! Sorry!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Howdy Folks

We're home. We finally made it home after a ridiculously long lunch and a little detour. I was driving and took a wrong turn . . . yes I've been to the beach 700 times give or take a few . . . yes I still made a wrong turn . . . yes I'm directionally challenged even when using a navigation system . . . story to come along with pictures later, but until then check out the past few posts on Kirill. If you don't cry well then I don't know what's wrong with you. Just kidding. But in all seriousness grab your tissue box and take a moment to watch the videos they have posted. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Insanity Defined

Tomorrow morning we are headed to the beach along with my sister and her family. Her three boys plus my one boy equals four boys ages 3 to 12. That ladies and gentlemen is insanity.

So, in anticipation of this big trip I started making lists about a week and a half ago. My first list was made sitting at the bar in my Mom's kitchen on Memorial Day. This of course was a preliminary list, which I had the best intentions of reorganizing. My bratty little brother tore it in half. Why? Because he's annoying. Like I don't know how to use tape.

Anyway, this past Monday, I loaded Andrew up and we headed to a nearby town that actually has stores other than an original Wal Mart (I kid you not . . . old school Wal Mart here) and an overcrowded HEB. I hate going to HEB! I we decided to eat lunch at Chik-fil-A. Two things (1) I eat there because I'm madly in love with their lemonade (I may propose next time I'm there) and (2) I rarely let Andrew play on the playground, because I'm crazy and have to bathe him in Wet Wipes when he's done. Okay, now that all that's out in the open . . . We sat down with our food, and I pulled out my phone so I could rewrite and organize my preliminary list, but when I went to get the list out of it's designated pocket in my purse it. was. gone. I mean like disappeared, vanished into thin air! I promptly asked for a paper bag to breathe into. After my panic attack subsided, I began racking my brain trying to remember everything that was on the list. I punched two lists into my phone (it took for-ev-er . . . you remember how they said for-ev-er on "The Sandlot" . . . say it like that). One I sent to Sarah, my organizationally challenged sister (and she didn't even have the decency to respond to my message), and one for myself. I'm not sure what Andrew was doing while I was working on these lists . . . probably stealing my french fries since I got him fruit with his meal. Yes, I'm that mother.

I then shoved my food down my throat and we headed for Sam's. As much as I hate going to HEB, I love going to Sam's. There is so much stuff you don't need there. It's like a glimpse into Heaven. That was a joke . . . laugh. So, everytime I put  something in my basket I sent Sarah a text telling her what I was getting. I also called her like 12 times. I don't trust her to follow my lists. Who knows what she would actually buy if left to her own devices? Would you believe that she neither responded to my texts or answered my calls? If you know her, you will believe it. She's wildly irresponsible and rebellious that way. I'm wildly annoying by calling people every ten seconds. I finally called my grandmother's phone to get Sarah on the phone (she was with my sister otherwise that would be pointless). When I finally got her on the phone, she said two things, "I've been ignoring you" and "I'm out in the parking lot". Really Sarah? Thanks.

As punishment I followed her around Sam's for a while and instructed her on what to buy. Andrew really wanted to go with her. Apparently she's more fun than me. She lets him eat junk and play on germ infested playgrounds. Whatever! After a while, I got tired of pushing the full basket around and chasing Andrew at the same time so we left. The End.

What's the point to this whole story? There isn't one except to point out that I may be a little on the bossy side. It's okay, I admit it. Anyway, you won't hear from me for a few days. I'm not taking my computer to the beach, and I don't blog from my phone. Finger cramps and all. Also, and completely random, I changed the settings to have a mobile page when you are viewing this on your phone. If anyone uses their phone to read these, and you absolutely hate it let me know and I'll change it back. Talk to ya'll next week!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Where We Stand

So our home study is now complete and awaiting final approval from our adoption agency. Since it has been reviewed once before, I think it is safe to assume that it will need very few if any revisions. From there we will fill out our I800A and submit it to NBC along with our home study and some other documentation.

NBC stands for National Benefits Center and is a department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that was created to process Hague Convention cases. The Hague Adoption Convention dictates how an international adoption will be processed. Not all countries are Hague countries. There are certain guidelines a country must meet in order to become a Hague country. Bulgaria is still working to get their footing as a Hague Country which is why things are not moving forward very quickly. Ultimately, the level of stability and protection it brings both the children and the parents is worth it. Just as a point of reference, China is another Hague country. The current wait for a healthy child in China is now hovering around five years. This is not due so much to slow processing, although China does have a lot more requirements than Bulgaria, but it is do more so to the enormous number of adoptions that China processes each year. In 2010, 3401 children were adopted from China.  Compare that with 40 in Bulgaria. You can look up all the adoption stats you please (because I know you're dying to) on the U.S. Government's Adoption Website.

After we submit our I800A to NBC, we should receive a fingerprinting appointment for around 3-4 weeks later. Hopefully, sometime in the last two weeks of July. We will then be fingerprinted and if everything goes as planned, we hope to receive our approval from NBC in August.

From that point, our next step will be to gather all our documents and have them apostilled at the capitol through the Texas Secretary of State's office. I've explained what an apostille is before, but basically it validates the documents and proves that the notarizations are authentic.

Once we have finished all of this, we will submit everything to AGCI and then from there to Bulgaria. We will then wait for approval and to be registered with the country of Bulgaria. Once we are registered, we then begin what we expect to be about an 18-24 month wait. We will not know anything about our daughter until we receive a referral. The waiting period is long, and I have no doubt, at times it will be very frustrating, but we are not going into this with our eyes shut. We are praying that things pick up and our wait is shortened, but as I've said time and time again, we will be blessed with the daughter that God intends for us at just the right time.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers, and in particular pray that everything gets done quickly and smoothly so that we can be registered with MOJ in Bulgaria. Right now that is our short term goal, and I am very excited to actually see it within our grasp. Thank you again for all your encouragement and support. And sorry if this reads a little bit (or a lot) like a (very interesting) research paper. It's my analytical mind that likes to sort everything and explain it as well as possible.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Evolution of a Mother

When I got married I drove a cute, two door Pontiac Grand Am. (Patrick drove a Ford Mustang, in case you care. He still thinks he needs one . . . he's in denial.) Now I drive a Chevy Traverse (which rocks by the way) and my husband not so lovingly calls it the SUVan. Whatever! I will never drive a mini-van. (No offense is meant by that statement. Mini-vans are awesome!)

When we bought our house we had a completely empty bedroom, a guest room, and workout room/office. Now we have a playroom, a guest room/workout room/future baby's room, and a three year old boy's bedroom.

In our first few years of marriage we went to San Francisco a couple times, skiing in Tahoe, to Kauai, Hawaii, South Padre Island, and anywhere else we wanted. We ate when we wanted, shopped when we wanted, and stayed up as late as we wanted (Why would anyone in their right mind get up at 6:30 if they don't have to? Oh yeah, news flash, three year olds are not in their right minds). We used to avoid hotels with lots of "noisy" kids. Now we search them out. The more pee in the pool, the better (you can laugh . . . that was a joke). But in case you didn't know "kid friendly" is code for lots of pee in the pool. I'm just letting you know in advance. Don't worry they use tons of chlorine at "kid friendly" hotels. It's set my eyes on fire more than once.

So what's the point of all this? Am I whining? Actually, no. But as I was leaving Sam's today, with a cart full of food, and a three year old by the hand, it occurred to me how much my life has changed since I got married almost 8 years ago. I used to take a day off of work for myself every so often and save the rest. Now I'm lucky if I make it to May with any sick days left. I've spent so much time in the pediatrician's office in the last 3.5 years that we should have our own room. They could call it the Davis Suite. Sounds good doesn't it?

Our lives are now dictated by nap times, bed times, lunch times, gymnastics classes, swimming lessons . . . you get the picture. My idea of a fun night is to take a hot bath without Andrew bustin' in on me and to get in bed by ten p.m. Try to contain your jealousy. You only wish your life were so exciting.

But as crazy as it all seems, I don't miss my pre-child life (at least not on most days). The other day, I was driving, alone shockingly enough, and Darius Rucker's song "It Won't Be Like This for Long" came on the radio. And as I'm listening to it, I realized that Andrew is almost four. Four! Years! Old! Tears. And then I realized that I'll be 30 in a few days. Thirty! Flood of tears (again I'm joking . . . sort of). And then I realized, that time really does fly by. And it is such a terrifying honor to be a parent, and watch a child grow into an adult.

I'm not the same person I was 8 years ago. I have the wrinkles, bags, spider veins, and a few pounds to prove it. But my life is more blessed, more complete, and more meaningful on it's worst days than it ever was before.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Opening It Up to Questions (and some prayer requests)

Here's a few questions and answers on children adopted from Bulgaria. Most of the information is taken from Creating a Family's Website - "25 Factors to Consider When Adopting From Bulgaria". Have to give credit where credit is due. If you click on the link you can see other questions and answers, but keep in mind that most the information is from May 2009 so some may not be current. For example it states wait times to be 18 months, but we now know that they are between 24-36 months.

What descent/race are the children being adopted?
"Most children are of Roma (Gypsy) ethnicity or Turkish decent, with dark skin tones.  Prospective parents are not allowed to request ethnicity or skin tone, and must be open to all children of any ethnicity." - Creating A Family

How are the children cared for?
Most of the children reside in orphanages although the country is trying to move toward a foster care system.

Why are the children given up for adoption?
"Unwed motherhood, poverty, cultural acceptance of abandonment.  Most of the children available for international adoption from Bulgaria were relinquished or abandoned at birth and have not been removed from the home due to abuse and neglect." - Creating a Family

What is the youngest age a child can be adopted?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone.
18 months - According to some recent information, there may be a move to allow even younger children to be adopted.

If you have any questions at all regarding adoption, why we adopted, or anything else about us in general please feel free to leave the question in the comments, email me, or facebook me. If I think the question is too personal or off limits, I'll let you know, but feel free to ask away. I'll try to answer them as best as I can in an upcoming post. If no one asks, then I'll assume I've done a pretty good job of keeping ya'll informed.

I also have a couple prayer requests. First, the FBI clearance still hasn't made it into our mailbox. Please pray that it gets here. Our mail has been known to get "lost" on occassion. Second, pray that we get everything completed by the time I go back to work on August 9. That gives us a two month window, which is doable, but it doesn't leave any room for error. And we have a deadline of September so we need to get this done. Also, pray that I'll have favor at work both now and when it comes time to travel. I'm pretty sure I'm covered by FMLA, but I really don't want to have a confrontation with anyone. Sometimes I feel like certain people in positions of power don't understand that this is just as important as having a baby biologically. I'm not going to go into detail. I'm just asking for your prayers.

Friday, June 3, 2011

No Heads Will Be Removed During the Reading of this Post

Don't worry I'm not going to berate anyone today. You can even ask me if I've heard anything about our baby, I won't eat you for lunch. I promise. I was in a very sarcastic mood yesterday. It happens sometimes. It was just annoyance with a myriad of little things. Which I'm (mostly) over now. King Kong the witch is dead or at least sleeping soundly! If you missed all that fun and really want to know what I'm talking about you can read here, but I warn you it ain't pretty.

So if you are following the story of Kirill, the second part is posted here. The miracle of this story never ceases to amaze me. God is still in the mountain moving business. No doubt about it.

I'm hoping my FBI clearance is in today's mail. I'm really thankful that I don't have to redo my fingerprints. I've mildly burnt my fingers in the past couple of weeks, and I don't think they would turn out very good. The thing is, I don't think they were that great any of the times they were done. Another testament to God being able to move mountains. I know that it may not seem like a big thing, but when you're dealing with something so essential, albeit basic, to the process, it is a big thing. The quality of the fingerprints or lack thereof wasn't anyone's fault, I cook a lot and seem to have scars on my fingers as a result. They're not noticeable, and it would never matter except if I were to commit a felony or decide to adopt internationally. I decided that committing a felony wasn't really my thing so I went down the adoption road. I'm not sure how I got to the previous sentence. I kind of just started typing and that's were I ended up. A scary look into the inner workings of my mind.

Andrew just asked when his baby sister was coming. Oh the irony. Not to mention that the concept of time is not really present at three years old. Everything is either, and I quote, "yast night" or "tomorrow" (yes I intentionally spelled last yast). Don't worry he'll forget and ask me again tomorrow. He's awesome like that.

Anyway, one of the next steps will involve electronic fingerprinting with NBC and submitting our I-800A. I'm still not entirely clear on who NBC is . . . I haven't tried that hard to figure it out. If you can't tell, I'm kind of being led like a horse with blinders on. Look straight ahead and follow instructions. No birdwalking here. The good news is, the first half of our paperwork is done. The bad news is we still have about half of the paperwork and approval process left to go. Either way, we are moving forward.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers, and if you'll just say a brief prayer for adoptive families in general, I promise it will be greatly appreciated. There are so many obstacles to overcome, but we know that "with God all things are possible" (taken from Matthew 19:26).