Thursday, November 30, 2006


According to the handy dandy tracking system on USPS site, our application was delivered yesterday morning at 10:49 a.m. According to the official paperwork, we should "allow 90 days for processing." Of course, who knows how accurate that time line is, I have heard of nightmarish long waits for approval.
Now, here is my stupid question of the day: Is it 90 days to get a fingerprint appointment, or it is 90 days for the total process?" I realize this is something I should allready know, but obviously I don't or I wouldn't be asking. ha.

Also, should I have R send away for his birth certificate now, or should we wait to do that? R was born in Mississippi, so its not as easy as going down to the county clerk's office and getting a copy- which is how I obtained copies of my birth certificate. I know that dossier paperwork needs to be no older than six months- I don't want to send away for his birth certificate only to have to go through the trouble again later because it is oudated. On the other hand, if we can do this now, I'd just as soon get it done.

And, since I am on a roll with questions, here is another one. What happens if someone changes jobs AFTER the homestudy and INS "stuff" is done? Do we have to start all over again? Do we need to do an adendum to the homestudy? I know that all the information in the homestudy has to match the dossier paperwork - and the dossier paperwork asks for employment letters- so obviously there is going to be a "mis match" if a job change takes place after homestudy and INS.

If anyone has any insights to any/all of this questions, do share. Inquiring Minds Want to Know :)

Monday, November 27, 2006

My favorite piece of furniture in the baby's room

The dresser in this picture has a story connected to it (good thing, right, as it doesn't exactly match the scottie dog theme). This dresser belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. When my mom was pregnant for me, my father redid the dresser and put the puppy dog decals on it- my parents didn't have a lot of money when the were married and it was the one thing he could do for my mom (and for me). When my sister had her first child, the dresser was given to her for my niece's bedroom. Then my sister had her son, and he inherited the dresser. Recently my mom gave it to me, so that when our child comes home, he will be the next generation to enjoy it.

My dad passed away in August of 2004, so our son will never know him in person. But he will have this dresser that his grandpa worked so lovingly on so that his daughter (me) would have a nice piece of furniture for her room. And I will be able to tell our son the story about this dresser- how his grandma had it when she as a toddler, how I had it (newly refinished with puppy icons) when I was a baby, how A had it in her room, and then A had it in his. And I hope that in the telling of that story our son will get a sense of what his grandpa was like- a man who, when he had no money, was struggled to make ends meet, and had a new wife, and a baby on the way, put what spare time he had into refinishing a beat up old dresser so that it was shiny and new.

So that is why, even though it does not really fit the "theme" of the nursery, it is my favorite piece of furniture.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bogey and Ben

My friend L and I took some pictures of the nursery (still a lot of work to do on it), and Bogey and Ben decided to get in on the action. Both boys like the crib as they can see out the window when they are in it. Of course, the one thing you are never supposed to do is let the dogs in the crib, as they will think of it as their territory. Unfortunately, Bogey and Ben did not read that particular article in Adoptive Parents magazine!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Our completed homestudy arrived today in the mail! Save for two misspellings, everything looks good. So we are going to take the chance that those two misspellings (minor ones) are not going to ruin our lives and we filled out the 1-600A today (actually just finished it a few minutes ago), gathered the required documents, wrote out the check, and addressed the envelope. On monday I will go down to the post office and send it off via certified mail.

Then we wait on Detroit to get it, review it, give us our fingerpint appointment, and approve it.

I am thrilled to reach this next step...but now my ever obsessive worry wart mind is allready afraid that for some reason they will deny our application.

Does that happen often???????

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Where or Where....

is our blasted homestudy? Our final visit was September 17th! It is now November 21st. We went over the rough draft, sent in the corrections, and now here we sit. waiting. waiting. waiting.
I really hate waiting. I know, I know, I need to have patience. Adoption takes patience.
But seriously, what is the hold up, people!!! 1400 bucks plus travel, lodging, and meals....I should think that is more than enough money to qualify for faster service than this!
ok. I am done ranting. for now.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Life in Hicksville, USA

Proof that I live in Hicksville, USA:

Saturday, 10 a.m. R and I hop in the car to go the post office to apply for our passports. We walk in the door, place our paperwork on the counter, and look at the post office worker expectantly. "We would like to apply for our passports please."
Post Office Worker: "oh my. we don't do those here."
R: "You don't?"
Post Office Worker: "No, I don't think so. Let me check (shouts to some anonymous postal worker in the backroom "Hey we don't do passports, do we?" She shouts back "Never done one before."). Nope, Sorry. we don't do them."
R: "How about the Marquette Post Office?" (Referring to the "big city" of Marquette about twenty minutes away)
Post Office Worker: "Oh no. They don't do them either. I think you have to go to Green Bay to get it done."
Me: "Green Bay WISCONSIN?" (a three and a half hour drive. to another state. for a passport. what the hell is this, some kind of Saturday Night Live version of Mayberry?)
Post Office Worker: "Yes. In fact I need to go get one myself. We have family in the Soo (Sault Ste Marie, Michigan) and I just heard we can't go across the bridge to shop (Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada) without a passport."
R: "Do you think you could call Marquette and ask them if they do them?" (cleary incredilous and probably ready to divorce me for dragging up here to Hicksville where you have to drive to the next state over to get a #(*&# Passport)
Post Office Worker: "Um sure. Why not." (at least he is an agreeable sort. If a little goofy)
[Post Office Worker calls Marquette Post Office while R and I exchange looks and mouth to each other "GREEN BAY?" ]
Post Office Worker: "Imagine that. they say they don't do it. But that you can go to the County Court House and they do it."
Me: "OK. that makes sense."
R: "Great. thanks"
Post OFfice worker: " Where is that exactly? The court house I mean. Is in the same building as the Post Office is?" (clearly he is thinking about the federal court, which is upstairs from the marquette post office)
Me: "No. It is by the jail. The County Clerk's Office, You know, the "other" court house." [Now, I happen to know this man has lived in the Upper Penninsula his whole life. He has been at this particular post office forever and a day. Marquette is only twenty minutes up the road. The only place to shop. Where Walmart is, for goodness sake. How can he NOT KNOW WHERE THE DARN
Post Office Worker: "Oh ok. thanks. Glad to know that I don't have to go to Green Bay."
Me: "Sure thing. Have a nice day."

And that, my friends, is life in Hicksville, USA

Friday, November 17, 2006

Confessions of a scared PAP

A very good friend of mine, J, was adopted as an infant during the time period when domestic adoptions were, for all intents and purposes, closed. Over the years, she has managed to gather a few precious pearls of information about her birth mother, but never enough to actually find her. She has allways wanted to know more, a fact that she has willingly shared with close friends and has been careful to downplay with her mother- who is very sensitive about the birth family "issue."

The other day, through a series of serendipitous events (I really cannot give details, as it is her story to share) she connected with her birth mother's family. She is so excited, overwhelmed, scared, and thrilled. She will be meeting her biological aunt and other family members soon.

I told her how thrilled I was for her to finally have some of the missing pieces about her birth parents. And I truly am thrilled for her. And scared for her. and, as much as I am able to, I feel her excitement and nervousness and sense of being overwhelmed with the whole experience. I love her dearly and was brought to tears by her reaction. "I feel like a completely new person." she told me. That makes sense to me.

All that being true, I must confess: among all the happy feelings and joy I had for her I also had a reaction that I am puzzled, and a bit ashamed, of: A small, but distinct sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. A sense of what? dismay? fear? Both. And more.

When I shared this news with R over dinner last night, he said "oh my gosh, she must be so thrilled.' But he also had an almost imperceptible wince. Ah, he feels it also.

Why, I asked him, am I so bothered by this? I should be nothing but happy. And yet...yet I feel other decidedly not happy feelings.

The truth is, as much as I am so "hip" about adoption, the triad, the "its good to know about birth parents and isn't open adoption so wonderful" and all of that "stuff" (and I do truly believe in and advocate for openness in adoption) deep deep DEEP down, I have that "not politically correct" feeling that in some ways I really do not want to know that much about our child's birth mother. I dread the days that are likely to come where my child wants to know more about her, wants to find her, meet her, and has fantasies about her.

In a word, I am jealous of her, the woman who will carry and give birth to our child. I have a deep seated fear that I am "second best." If not "second best" at the very least "second choice." And a part of me can completely understand J's mother's "sensitivity" about J's birth parents. I hate that I will not be able to answer the questions our child will have- at least not answer them in a satisfactory matter. Our child will wonder, will want to know, and will have to wrestle with what it means to be adopted. I do not want him to ever feel he cannot ask questions, wonder about his birth mother (and father), and have fantasies about meeting her (them).

But I know that when he does ask, wonder, and fantasize, I will have this tiny, but distinct, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. small, petty jealousy. Feelings of inadequacy. And, I am ashamed to admit it, relief that his birth family is thousands of miles away in Vietnam, not 100 miles away in a small town in our state.

And this, my friends, has me feeling terrible. Do I really have what it takes to be a good parent to our child. I fear that I may not be. I know that I am hardly the ideal adoptive parent.

J, I know you dont' know about this blog and probably won't ever read this. But know that I love you. I support you completely as you enter into this exciting and overwhelming journey to connect with your birth family. Forgive me for not being a better person. I find comfort in knowing that you, being such an open and caring and sharing person, will be able to connect with my child in ways that I never will- that you will be there for him when those questions arise in ways that I may not be able, that you will be there to step in where I may fail to understand and help me be a better parent, a better person.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The hunt for "Moon Doggie"

Thank you, everyone, for your advice about Bogey's newly aquired "toy phobia" and your comments on the crib bedding. Lee asked where we found this bedding (Hi Lee! We used to be on a Scottie yahoo group together!), so I thought I would share a little bit about the "hunt" for this particular bedding style.
This crib set (and accessories: rug, bookends, two peg shelf, diaper stacker, and lamp) is from the "Moon Doggie" line from a company called "California Kids." We used to live in Fairhope, Alabama, and in the next town over, Daphnee, Alabama was a "Tuesday Morning" store where we loved to shop. Well, right next door to "Tuesday Morning" was a baby furniture/nursery store and, on the wall in this store, was this awesome rug with a white scottie on it (the rug from the "moon doggie" line). I dragged R in there one saturday (this was after we decided to adopt and were sure we would be adopting from Gautemala) to check it out. Turns out there was a whole line of products with this cute white/wheaten scottie dog! And, of course, the whole line of products was ridiculously expensive and there was no way I could convince R that we needed to buy it. He looked at the price list and said "Ebay."

This was two (almost three) years ago. I have searched Ebay everyday for "California Kids Moon Doggie." Early on in my search I did manage to bid on (and win) the crib set: bumper, sheets, and comforter for a whopping 100 bucks (the catalog price for this set was approx $356.00 and up). Then there was a dry spell of about a year where nothing "Moon Doggie" was ever put on ebay. About a year ago, I found THE RUG on ebay and bought it (50 bucks, brand new which was a steal!). Then, just about six months ago, some wonderful person put up an auction with the crib set (two sets of sheets, bumper, comforter, pillow), book shelf, book ends, diaper stacker, painted "moon doggie" pictures, painted "moon" and "stars" pictures (Must have been done by the seller, as the line does not show these, but they are so darn cute!), and four painted wood picture frames that match the reds and yellows in the "moon doggie" print.

I bid. I won. Are you ready for this? winning bid 65.00 plus shipping!!!!!
of course, I now have two crib sets of "moon doggie" - which even I admit is a bit ridiculous. But hey, the wooden book ends alone are close to a hundred dollars (they are supposedly "hand painted" according to the California Kids catalog), so how could I not bid on this lot? Who knows, we might need that extra crib set. And if not, maybe I can re-sell it on ebay.

Now all I need is the elusive "moon doggie" lamp! But Ebay seems to be going through a dry spell with moon doggie stuff. sigh. I WANT THAT LAMP!!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"Bogey" Baby Bedding

I haven't been able to take a photo of the baby's room (and truthfully, everyone else's nursery photos are so awesome that I am afraid I can't compete anyway), but I thought I could post a pic of the bedding we picked out and purchased for the baby's room.

The Bogey Blues

My poor scottie dog, Bogey, has the blues! He has allways been a toy loving dog- he has a basket full of "babies" (i.e. stuffed toys with squeekers in them) in the living room and a smaller box of toys in our bedroom and througout the day he takes them out and brings them to us to play. R and Bogey have a ritual: every evening around five thirty, Bogey grabs one of his babies from the basket and brings it to Robert with a pleading "AROOO" , tail wagging, ears up, and feet prancing: his way of saying "it's time to play NOW." This has been the ritual since he was a puppy- he is now two years old-and it is one of the things we love about him (Ben loves babies also, but prefers to rip them apart and take the squeeker out. He only gets the urge to "play" this way every once in awhile).

Last week, however, Tragedy struck. Bogey and R were playing with a new toy- a very long "loofa dog" with multiple squeekers- and, somehow, in the game of tug they were engaged in, Bogey's beard got pulled. Bogey squawked, came barreling upstairs (I was in the bedroom at the time) and lept into my lap, shaking and whimpering.

Bogey has not touched one of his precious babies since. He absolutely will NOT play toys with R. He will not play toys with me. He will not even play with them by himself. We have tried and tried to entice him to play again, but nothing doin. Everytime R tries to engage him in a game of tug, Bogey wags his tail, whimpers, (he clearly wants to play), and then tucks his tail down and seeks me out to hold him.

We did a lot of research on Scottish Terrier's before we got Bogey, so we knew they were rather sensitive dogs- their feelings get hurt very easily. But Bogey seems to be takin this to the extreme! It's breaking my heart (and R's too- he feels so guilty!) to see my once toy lovin playful little buddy moping around and *not* playing at all.

Has anyone out there ever dealt with this kind of neurotic dog behavior before? I am desperate for ideas for how to help this little goof ball get back to his normal self. Before this, the only thing that ever "scared" him was R sneezing (a sure fire way to get Bogey to run to me to "save him" is for R to let out a sneeze!). Where is that little tough guy scottie attitude? He wasn't hurt- I checked his teeth, his gums, and his beard and could not find any sign of serious trauma.

Does the Dog Whisperer deal with "Toy Trauma"?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Birthday Presents

Well, after much rushing around and dealing with very rude customer service people, I finally bought R a birthday present: a handheld GPS system. Basically an expensive toy for big boys. ha.

BUT..when I got home and checked our email, an even better birthday present was in the inbox: the rough draft of our homestudy!!!!!!!

Once he is done playing with his new toy (he is outside right now with Bogey checking it out) we will look at the homestudy and see if we need to correct any factual information in it. (oh please let everything be perfect!)

Happy Birthday!

Today is R's birthday!!! Of course he is working late and then has a meeting, so it pretty much screws up any birthday celebration plans for the day. sigh. I was going to take him out to dinner someplace nice. Now I am going to have to go to plan B: buy him a birthday present. Only I have idea what to buy him!

Hopefully by his next birthday I will be able to buy him a "happy birthday daddy" card.

But if the wait time keeps growing at the rate it is, I think we will be lucky if he is a father by the big 5-0 birthday.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Law Mommy's Blog Challenge

G over at Adventures of Law Mommy has sent out an SOS- she is in between books and desperate for new reads. As an avid reader, I completely understand the desperation of not having a book to read. Not sure how much this will help you out, my friend (I have rather eclectic taste in books) but here is a list of the books I have read in the last month and a half:

Leaving the Saints - by Martha Beck (a memoir about her struggles with her Mormon faith. She also wrote a wonderful book "Expecting Adam" about the pregnancy and birth of her son with downs syndrome)
A Hole in the World- Richard Rhodes (a favorite memoir of mine, deals with child abuse)
After Long Silence - Helen Fremont (a memoir of the Holocaust. Helen's parents were from Eastern Europe, escaped to america, raised their children as Catholic- it was only as adults that Helen and her sister discovered their parents are Jewish)
On Hitler's Mountain: overcoming the legacy of a Nazi childhood - Irmgard A. Hunt (memoir)
The Morality of Adoption: Social-Psychological,Theological, and Legal Perspectives - Timothy P. Jackson, editor
Name All the Animals- Alison Smith (memoir of childhood/brother's suicide)
When Heaven and Earth Change Places - a vietnamese woman's journey from war to peace- Le Ly Hayslip
After Sorrow Comes Joy- one woman's struggle to bring hope to thousands of children in Vietnam and India - Cherie Clark
Finding Katherine: a spiritual journey to Vietnam and Motherhood - Dr Ellen Fitzenrider
A Wild Ride up the Cupboards-Anne Bauer (memoir: mother of a son with autism)
Send in the Idiots:Stories from the other side of Autism- Kamran Nazeer
Night- Elie Wiesel (famous holocuast memoir)
Learning Joy from Dogs without Collars- Lauralee Summer (memoir of growing up homeless. Lauralee eventually gets into Harvard)
When Broken Glass Floats: Growing up under the Kmer Rouge - Chanrithy Him
First They Killed My Father: a daugther of Cambodia Remembers - Loung Ung
Colors of the Mountain- Da Chen (memoir of a boyhood in China)
Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daugther - Adeline Yen Mah
All Souls: A Family Story from Southie- Michael Patrick MacDonald (memoir of growing up in South Boston)
Change Me Into Zeus's Daugther- Barbara Robinette Moss (a memior of growing up poor in the south)
Three Weeks With My Brother- Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks
Under the Banner of Heaven: A story of Violent Faith - Jon Krakauer
The Baby Boat: A memoir of Adoption - Patty Dann

Some Fiction Books (cuz I realize I am a memoir Junkie and should include some fiction I read as most people are not memoir junkies)

Me and Emma - Elizabeth Flock
Mother of Pearl- Melinda Haynes (Melinda and I met while I was working on my M.T.S...she is a tremendous writer- before reading her book, the only fiction writer from the south I was a huge fan of was Pat Conroy.)
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (oldie but goodie, I reread it periodically)

Well, that is about it for what I have read recently. I am sure I will go through a fiction phase soon- so perhaps we can do this again when I have more fiction books to report (but seriously, read Mother of Pearl. it rocks) Right now I am re-reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince....I hate reading this one, for the ending depresses the hell out of me. But I am hitting a 'no books to read" crisis myself and so I am delving back into my shelves these days.

Where is Noelle?

Has anyone heard from "My Sweet Noelle"? Every time I check her blog, the latest entry is the 9/11 entry. Is there something wrong with my link, or is she mising in action?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Baby Boat

A delightful excerpt from an adoption memoir I am reading called "The Baby Boat":
June 22, 1996
When I bent down to get the New York Times on the front door the other day (which day I'm not entirely sure; the days of the week have melted into one another), there was a front page article on children from Russia, adopted by Americans, who have turned out to be pyromaniacs.
Today, when a neighbor came by to meet the baby, she studied Kuba sucking on a rubber ball on the kitchen floor and pronounced: "He looks okay. Do you know anything about his parents?"
I was tempted to say, "We're terrific, don't you think?" and light a match, but refrained. [ p216,The Baby Boat by Patty Dann, published by Hyperion, New York, 1998]

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Blog On!

Thank you, everyone who left a comment or sent me an email about my little freak out the other day over blogging about the adoption. I am especially grateful to those of you who wrote me who are with the same agency we chose, as it allayed some of my nuerotic fears. I have decided that as long as I am careful, there is no reason why I should not blog on!

Nothing all that exciting going on in yooperland- we managed to hunt down a free notary republic to notarize the one page document requested by our agency that needs to be included in the mass of papers known as home study documents (aka our life on paper) and everything has been sent out to the "right" people: the agreement to the adoption agency and the final few things that the homestudy agency needed in order to finally finish the homestudy. So much for "we will have it done within a week of the final visit." Ah well. Patience is a virtue, right?

In other news, I am becoming quite adept at putting catalogs together and packaged for shipping. 100 done yesterday, 300 more to go. Rather mind-numbing stuff, to be honest. I have to keep reminding myself about all the bonuses of being a work at home ..person (boy I can't wait to type work at home mom!): save a lot of money in gas, the dogs are not left alone for umpteen hours on end, I don't have to fall into full blown panic mode if I wake up late, I am not working with at risk teenagers anymore (which I enjoyed for the most part, but it is a lot easier to deal with customers asking about their orders than it is to deal with homelessness, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, child abuse, etc) and I am not having to drive one hour to get to work and one hour back again everyday (this is a big bonus now that winter is on its way...I so hated that drive in the winter time. and there are so many deer on the road that I am allways paranoid I am going to commit vehicular bambi homicide)...
soo....its all good, right? right! (oh please please please let me remain convinced of this!!!)
one final little funny story to tell....yesterday (Halloween) I went over to the new Family Center that a group of us have worked very hard to create and get up and running....with the idea that we would hand out glow in the dark sillicone bracelets to the trick or treaters, along with a little invitation card for the open house next week. The house that was donated to us for the Center (rent free for six months, then we have to pick up the rent cost) is located across the street from a pretty congested apartment complex- prime location for trick or treaters, right?
Wrong. Turns out all the trick or treaters (who were probably freezing as the weather was not kind this year) stuck to that side of the street and very few ventured over to our side of the street. So....I finally grabbed out little light up pumkin candy bucket (filled with the bracelets and little invites) and went out on the sidewalk trying to lure the kids over.....I wasnt out there but a few minutes (with several "takers" by the way) before it occurred to me what I was doing: offering treats to kids to get them to come to the house! Worse, I was a stranger (the enemy of McGruff the crime dog lol) standing out on a dark street, wearing a baseball cap on backwards (part of my rather lame costume: a red sox fan)- which probably made me look like a cross between a gang banger and the profile of a child molester. Yikes!!!!