Monday, July 31, 2006

Putting My Feet Up!

I debated about posting about this but I figure what the heck, you guys already think I'm nuts. I went to the foot doctor this morning to have a foot wart (actually two) removed from the ball of my right foot. I know, I know, EEEWWW! I guess that part is not really all that strange. The strange part is that I have had this foot wart for OVER twenty years! Yup, twenty years! I had one removed when I was about nine or ten and it was terrible. The doctor dug down so deep in my foot that I have been scared ever since. I have tried over the counter medication over the years but it never really did anything to get rid of it. I guess the strange part is that I'm kinda attached to the little guy(s). I would dangle the wart foot at the kids over the years and they would SCREAM! Poor Ava is going to miss out on that! I would have this joke that it I was ever killed tragically my family could move the toe tag and identify just my foot. So why am I ready to say goodbye now? It is really embarrassing when getting a massage to say, "Hey, I don't need my feet done." Pedicures..................Only in my dreams! It was time. So, I went to the foot doctor this morning. I NEVER realized that it was going to be any big deal. The doctor explained that they would put the acid on it (50 times stronger that over the counter medications) and it would form a big blister tonight. I can't get it wet for 48 hours and I have to pop the blister in the morning! I guess I'm going to have to try and stay off of it for a couple of days! The doctor said, "It's probably going to take a couple treatments since it pretty much set up home here." He said the wart is probably saying, "HEY, what's going on here????" I had told him I was just as attached to it, as it was to me! He laughed. I told him the joke about identifying my body if I'm killed tragically . He laughed louder. He said, "Yeah, they won't need to use dental records with you!!" I'm sure he left the room thinking...........CRAZY WOMAN! So, I'm going to take it easy today and put my feet up and wait for the big blister to form! Sounds like fun, no? I'm hoping the referrals start rolling in and that will keep me busy. So as I sit here my wart(s) is dying a slow and painful death. Goodbye, old friend! Yeah, I know.........I'm crazy!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Stork Alert

The CCAA has not yet updated their site. However, my agency has issued a Stork Alert! It appears that families logged in between June 29, 2005 & including July 13, 2005 will be receiving their referrals!!!! In case you forgot (how the hell could you??? Shame. On. You.) our LID (log-in-date) is March 8, 2006. That means there are 238 days between our precious log-in-date and the cut off date for this batch of referrals. Does that mean we should get a referral (or Ava's precious picture) in 238 days. Ahhh, no. Does the 238 number mean anything? Not really. Back in the good old days when the CCAA was referring entire months (instead of the 15 days that were referred this month) it probably would mean a little more. It did help me to see that we are indeed getting closer with each batch. It helps to be able to count down and actually see some progress. Congratulations to all the families receiving their referrals!!! I'm so sorry to the families that didn't make it in this batch. Just remember.......You. Are. Next.

Weigh In Wednesday!

I know, I missed Weigh In Wednesday because of being so darn depressed over the rumors last week. I hope I haven't lost all my Weigh In buddies. In spite of being depressed and discovering Cake Batter ice cream (let me tell ya, my depression "made me" eat A LOT of it)..........................I LOST 1.5 pounds in two weeks! I have lost a total of 6.5 pounds since I started. I also stopped taking those diet pills a week or so ago. You had to take them a hour before you eat and sometimes that's a little hard to judge. I have still been trying to stay away from bread and I REALLY think that has been what has helped. If left up to me, I would eat bread & potatoes day in and day out FOREVER!!! That's all I would need. Oh, and Cake Batter ice cream for dessert! So how are you guys doing??? Are you still there even if I was a loser and didn't post anything last week? Hello???????

Monday, July 24, 2006

Being Prepared

Below is a letter from Amy Eldrdige, from Love Without Boundaries, addressing the recent adoption disruptions and parental preparedness - I copied this from Tammy's blog. If you are reading this, think about posting it on your site - a waiting parent who reads your blog may benefit from it.

I have been so saddened by this situation. I most definitely wish there was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of institutional care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that there are just as many parents who are not online reading everything they can find on adoption as are.There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out there who have no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who head overseas to pick up their "China doll" only to be handed a baby who is unresponsive, thin, unable to eat..and on and on and on. While adopting my son last month, I walked several times over to the White Swan to talk to parents, and over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue whatsoever about the issues their kids were having. I heard so many times things like, "she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle tone" (muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile" (pure grieving from being taken from her foster mom). I guess since I live China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not the case.I talked to at least a dozen parents who didn't even know their child's orphanage name, and while I gently said "you might want to memorize that for your child's sake", at the same time I was trying to process how many parents get all the way to China without ever reading about post-institutional issues. It was sobering to me.Babies in the NSN as well as the SN path can have issues with attachment, motor skills, emotional issues and more. I think all of us on the WCC list acknowledge that, while also acknowledging that all children (whether bio or not) can have these same issues. Living in an orphanage of course increases the odds.I think the easy out is to say that agencies have to do more, as well as social workers, but I do think that most of them do try to give information to the parents but often parents don't want to hear it or else think it won't happen to them. Again, I am often surprised to talk to parents leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family was adopting from our foster care program, and when I told them that the child was dEEPLY attached to the mom, the father said, "guess she might cry for an hour or so then?" An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a year! I tried to explain that this little girl was about ready to lose everything she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be sunny, happy, and full of personality after an hour. I told them to please remember the 72 hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see her spark, but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as well.I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read the "bad stuff", and so I do think that ultimately it is the parents who are at fault for not doing more to educate themselves. There certainly are books galore out there about post-institutional issues. I equate this to when I was pregnant with my kids and I would read "What to Expect When Expecting", and I would get to the C-section part and always skip it. Each and every time I would jump to the next chapter as "that wasn't going to happen to me". Well, on my fifth baby, when they were rushing me in for an emergency C section, I sure was wishing I had read that section earlier! But at that point in the OR, while they were strapping my hands down to the table, it was too late, and so I felt complete panic when I could have been prepared. I think adoption from China is very similar to giving birth.. it is much more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC, but I now encourage every family I meet to read the harder ones as well, because if you are the family who is handed a child that is limp and listless and who looks autistic, what you have learned in the past will help you make the right decision for your family during those very emotional first few days.I have been called many times in the last few years by parents in China worried about their children. I agree that having a support network to help you through the initial time is essential. Everyone should go to China with at least one phone number of someone they can call if they are panicked upon meeting their new child. I remember feeling so alone when I was handed my daughter and she was so tiny and limp. Because our foundation often helps with the kids who have been disrupted, I am aware that sometimes there are children who have much more serious issues than originally reported..and that is such a hard thing for a parent to get to China and then discover their child is truly autistic or has serious mental delays. I think everyone on both the China and international side would agree that it is absolutely wrong of an orphanage to not be honest in their reports, and no one would excuse that, but I also know without a doubt that the majority of kids who are disrupted are just suffering from institutional issues and would catch up quickly in a loving home. It is always a very sad day for the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know is absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by their new parents for being "delayed".I think far too many people believe their child's life is going to begin the moment they meet them. The truth is, and everyone must realize it..a child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their experiences are shaping who they are. The vast majority of aunties that I have met in China are such kind and caring people, but it absolutely is not the same as having a mom and dad at your beck and call. I have had new parents call and say "we didn't think living in an orphanage would affect her at all", and those statements truly puzzle me. How could they not contemplate life in an orphanage? Walk through Babies R Us and you will see every gadget known to man to make our children's lives here as ideal as possible. Now Americans have two way video monitors, so that when baby awakens not only can mommy see when to immediately rush in and comfort him, but she can talk to baby so that he doesn't even have one single second where he feels alone. How many new parents would have a newborn and then put that baby in a crib 22 hours a day on their own? How many would only feed their baby, even if they were really crying hard, every 8 hours? Or prop the bottle in her crib and then not watch to see if she ever really ate? Of course no one would do that..we feed newborns on demand, comfort on demand, love continuously..and whether people want to recognize it or not, that is NOT the life of an orphan in an institution. ...even when the aunties are as good as gold. I remember one night when I took some volunteers in for the night shift in an orphanage, when normally just a few aunties are working. One mom looked at me with tears in her eyes as she slowly realized that it was absolutely impossible with just two hands to feed every child, to comfort every child, to soothe every baby who was crying. She said her heart was aching to realize that her own daughter most likely had many, many times where she cried without someone to comfort her.....and she told me that for the first time she finally understood why her daughter had such a deep seated fear of being out of her mom's sight.The aunties are trying their absolute best, but that doesn't equal mother/child care. I remember being in an orphanage in the north this past winter and the aunties were so proud of how they had 6-8 layers of clothes and blankets on every baby to keep them warm. They were swaddled so tight that they couldn't move, but it was freezing in the orphanage and so the aunties wanted the babies to stay as warm as possible. What alternative did they have? It really was freezing there..I was cold in my wool coat, so the babies couldn't be up and about with just 1-2 layers on, with the ability to move their arms and legs. To stay warm they had to be immobile, and so of course all of those kids have weak muscle tone. But the aunties were truly trying their best, and when a parent is given one of those beautiful children on adoption day, I am sure they will go back to their room with concern and say "she can't sit up by herself..she can't put weight on her legs". That is absolutely the truth, but she also survived 10 degree weather in a very cold province and she will catch up soon enough with parents to encourage her.To not acknowledge that living in orphanage circumstances can cause lower body weights, low muscle tone, inability to make good eye contact is very sad to me. Can it be overcome? Most definitely! The one thing I have learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they are fighters and survivors. But for some reason, people seem to want to ignore these issues in public forums.Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several times in person was adopted, and we all knew that this child was a "spitfire". When the family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she was too much of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt. She absolutely was not what they expected. When they called their agency, they were told they had two choices: adopt the child, bring her to the US, and change their expectations of what they were hoping for, or adopt the child, bring her to the US and the agency would have a family waiting at the airport to adopt her locally. Option three of leaving the child in China was never once given. I admire that agency so much, as they were thinking of the child and the child alone. The family followed through with the adoption and handed the little girl to a new family upon her arrival in the US. As horrible and tragic and emotional as it was for everyone involved...I still feel this was the right decision for the agency to make. It was done in the absolute best interest of the child, who had waited a long, long time for a family. I wish more agencies would advocate for the rights of the child, instead of always seeming to give in to the parents, especially in those cases when they know with absolute certainty that nothing is permanently wrong with the child. Recently with another disruption, the agency I spoke with told me that it was "easier" to just get the family a new baby. Sometimes easier does not equal right. The first baby who was rejected has now been labeled "mentally challenged" even though the agency knew the child was really going to be okay.I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that babies can usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by continually trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China. By helping them be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the future. I love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's work..but I also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with their eyes open and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's sake.Amy E"

Friday, July 21, 2006

Happy 15th Birthday Hope!

Hope's Birthday was actually last Friday on July 14th. We are celebrating it a bit late because she wanted to have her boyfriend here. Yes, she has a boyfriend. I'm really not sure how it happened because her father said she cannot date until she was 16. As far as boyfriends go we think she got herself a good one. He is very good at kissing up to me and quite frankly....... it works!!! I have got to respect someone that might be my equal in the kissing up department. Anyhoo, Hope had her boyfriend & her best friend Stacey & her boyfriend (yup, she has one too) over for some cake & ice cream and then we took them out on the boat. Here are some pictures we took today:
Hope & her Birthday cake. I think her little brother is looking pretty excited about the cake too.

Hope is blowing out the candles.

Hope & her boyfriend. Ahhh, young love.
Hope & Stacey. It's the girls against the boys.
The girls were smart because they gave the guys the crappy tube. The screamer is a lot harder to stay on.
Ian is 6 now and he picks out his clothing for the day. I just love the socks & shoes combo that he chose for a day on the lake. He definitely gets his sense of style from his Daddy. The fact that his socks match his shorts......... well, thats all from me.
Even though it was cloudy today Ian wore his goggles.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Our Journey to Ava

I have been thinking a lot over the last couple days about pulling the plug on the computer. With the depressing news of a possible longer wait time for Ava's referral, I felt like that would be best. I just felt like I need to get on with my life even if it's a life that Ava is not a part of. Then, I looked around my house I realize Ava is here and she is a part of my life. I'm sitting here drinking my morning coffee with a mug that reads....waiting for my child from China. I have a growing pile of clothing and toys in my closet because I can't resist buying every ladybug item of clothing I come across. I bet Ava is going to get sick of ladybug clothing. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the blog and if I should take a step back from it. It was about 4:00 A.M. when it hit me. The name of our blog is Our Journey to Ava. It's all about our
journey and I plan to let Ava read it someday. I want her to know how much her family wanted her and loved her before she was physically here with us. The possible extended wait time for referral and all the other depressing news in the adoption world is still part of the journey. I decided back in July, 2005 to board this roller coaster ride and I'll be damned if I'm going to cover my eyes. I'll continue with the blog and I'm quite certain there will be many ups & downs along the way. Quite certain. I'm sure there will be days that I will want to cry out of frustration because I can't make the CCAA work any faster. I hate not having any control over this but I need to come to terms with it. This journey is going to be filled with good days & bad. I signed on when I boarded the roller coaster. I'm not about to get off now. This is our journey to Ava.

Friday, July 14, 2006

News from China?

I ordered a new bird cage online (how else?) for one of my birds. I had just received an email a couple days ago stating that the entire cage MUST be inspected before the delivery man leaves or I will have to pay to ship it back. The nice man opened all the boxes while I carefully inspected everything. We were talking about the cost of shipping an item so big when he said, "Miss, do you realize this package came to you all the way from China?" (I thought it came from Pennsylvania). At the moment he said that I noticed the paper that the perches were wrapped in. Take a look at this...............................................................................................

I explained to him that I was adopting a baby girl from China to help explain the tears in my eyes. Today seemed like a really low day (in the adoption world) until now. It helps to get a little news from China. I just wish I could read Chinese.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Weigh In Wednesday

I have been looking forward to Weigh In Wednesday for once! I have lost 5 pounds in 2 weeks. I told you a couple weeks ago that I was trying an all natural product to boost my metabolism. I know some of you were interested so I thought I'd give you some information. The product is called EPH200. At this point the jury is still out on how well the product is working. I have also given up (okay, maybe not TOTALLY) bread. BREAD IS EVIL!!!! So is all the butter I slather on it! I started taking the pills 2 weeks ago along with two other girls in my office. Marcia and I have both lost 5 pounds and we feel that it is helping to curb our appetites (not at first) lately. Alicia actually GAINED weight after she took the pills. Alicia stopped taking the pills over the weekend and lost 2 pounds. Marcia has claimed that she has not changed anything else in her diet. So, I guess maybe the pills are working??? Will I buy more after they run out? Probably. They are a bit expensive ($75) so it was nice to split the cost with friends. Who am I kidding, I'd pay $$$$$$$$$ to lose this extra weight! How are you guys doing? Did you have a good week?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I'm going to try this again. I had FINALLY completed my list of 7 sets of questions & 7 answers and STUPID blogger decided to do maintenance while I was trying to publish my post!!!!! Holly & Julie both tagged me so here it goes.........AGAIN! Stupid blogger.

7 things I'd like to do before I die:

  1. See all my children living healthy, happy lives and making families of their own.
  2. Watch my grandchildren get married or find their true love.
  3. Own a horse (or two).
  4. Have a huge barn so that I can foster animals.
  5. Build our dream home.
  6. Own property on the Torch River.
  7. Have many many years to spend with Jeff after he retires.

7 things I cannot do:

  1. Public speaking. Can't do it. Won't do it. (Believe me, people have tried to make me)
  2. Eat vegetables. Won't do it!!!!!
  3. Leave my Luna. (I'm going to be a MESS when I have to leave her to go to China!!! I cry at the mere thought of it!)
  4. Iron. It might be more won't than can't.
  5. Give up chocolate.
  6. Ignore a lost or injured animal.
  7. Make the CCAA work any faster! Believe me, I WISH I COULD!!!

7 things I can do:

  1. Make one mean potato dish.
  2. Stand up for myself/family.
  3. Make my family laugh.
  4. Eat large quantities of food. (Hence, the never ending diet)
  5. procrastinate. (I was tagged DAYS ago and I'm just getting around to doing it!)
  6. Look VERY innocent. (It has come in handy over the years)
  7. Love Ava so much it hurts.

7 things that attracted me to Jeff:

  1. His baby blues.
  2. His size!!! (Hey, I'm 5'11" and I finally found a guy taller!)
  3. His sense of humor. (It's sick like mine)
  4. The fact that when I first heard his name I knew he was going to be a part of my life.
  5. His strong hands.
  6. His passion for his work.
  7. His earning potential. (I know it sounds bad but I'm being honest here!)

7 things I often say:

  1. What the hell is up with that????????????
  2. Are you freakin' kidding me?????????????
  3. Mommy loves Luna!!!!!!!!!
  4. Ian is my BEST friend!!!!!!!!!
  5. I have chocolate on my pants!!!! ( almost every freakin' time I eat chocolate!)
  6. I have GOT to start exercising.
  7. I'm watching my show. (All My Children)

7 books I love:

I know it sounds bad but I gave up reading about 12 years ago. The problem with reading is that I become OBSESSED and can't rest until I finish the book. I think some of you might see this in my personality. The last book I read I stayed up the ENTIRE night to finish. That was about 12 years ago and I don't even remember what the name of it was. I do like a few magazines:

  1. People
  2. US Weekly
  3. Star

I think you get the picture. Sad, I know.

7 movies I love:

  1. Sound of Music
  2. Happy Gilmore
  3. The Ringer
  4. The Notebook
  5. 50 First Dates
  6. Wizard of Oz
  7. Officer and a Gentleman (I love Richard Gere in the days before he let his hair turn gray)

*** Why does blogger spell check want to change freakin' to foreskin? Stupid blogger!

I'm supposed to tag 7 other people now but so many of you have already done it so I probably couldn't come up with 7 and well, I'd look like a loser so I'm not going to do it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Want to check out my undies???

Are these babies not the cutest things you ever did see? I can never pass up a little ladybug outfit for Ava and of course when I was shopping today and saw these for me.....................I GRABBED THEM! I know. I know. You guys are all jealous. Head over to Gap Body and grab yourself a few pair. You better believe I'll be sporting these bad boys on Gotcha Day!

*****Jeff- As you know, ladybugs are considered Good Luck in Chinese Adoption. This DOES NOT mean that you will always "get lucky" when I'm wearing them. Nuff said.


I was tagged by Mary to take the challenge to show pictures of my fridge & pantry. As you may notice we have a lot of condiments but very little food. I'm not much of a cook....There I said it! No, didn't try to beef things up by adding some cereal boxes. My daughter likes cold cereal, what can I say?This freezer is usually so jam packed that you have to lean into it with your knee to get it to close. We do have another freezer in the garage for extra space. I guess I really should of taken a picture of that too. Sorry.
Jeff would be horrified if he knew I was taking a picture of the pantry. This is kind of his domain. He likes to face all the boxes and have everything neat and tidy. With 3 kids & a wife it lasts all of about 30 minutes before it's a mess again. Actually, I think it is looking pretty good today.

I really should tag someone else to give them the challenge. Hmmmm. Let me see. I tag.......................................................Kramer!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Weigh In Wednesday!

Alright, I didn't even realize it was Wednesday until I heard it on the radio on my way to work! This is what happens when you take a little vacation! I'm sorry! I know many of us in the U.S.A. might have been celebrating a bit over the 4th and REALLY don't want to weigh in today anyway! If you want to let us know how your doing with your weight then feel free to do so. If you just want to take a week off and tell me how your 4th of July was then that would be wonderful too. We had a wonderful weekend at the lake. I'll post more later.