Monday, June 30, 2008

time to get packing

Let the countdown begin.  We leave for HCMC very, very early Sunday morning.  We arrive on Monday morning and my G&R (Giving and Receiving Ceremony) will be Tuesday.  At that point, Sadie is legally my daughter.  This time next week (Vietnam time), I will have my girl in my arms!!!

Wednesday is my last day at work and I don't return until September 29th (the day after my 40th birthday).  I can't even imagine what it will be like to be away from work for so long.  I've still got a lot of loose ends to tie up but I know that the program and my volunteers will be in very, very capable hands.  My dear friend and volunteer Y will be managing the program while I'm gone.  (Y...I will never be able to repay you for this enormous favor you are doing for me!)

I spent the entire weekend shopping, cleaning and organizing and I've got just about everything I need at this point.  I still have mounds of laundry to do before I can start packing.  I don't know how I'm going to get my stuff, Sadie's stuff, orphanage donations and staff gifts in my 2 suitcases, but I've got to make it work.  I'm hoping my folks will carry some of the donations and gifts. 

I'm planning to take my computer with me and will blog all I can while I'm there.  I was going to switch to Wordpress to password protect my blog, but I find blogger so much more user-friendly so I'm going to keep everything here for now. 

Please keep all of the families still waiting for approval of Tu Du babies (and others) in your thoughts.  I don't know how I got so lucky to be one of 7 approvals. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

here's how it happened

It was about 9:15pm.  I was sitting on the couch watching TV.  My laptop was on the coffee table in front of me.  I had bought this adorable children's book for one of my homework assignments and I thought the illustrations looked like the ones in "Pinkalicious."  So, I grabbed my laptop so I could google the illustrator.  When I glanced at my computer I noticed there were 3 new emails in my inbox.  I don't even think I refreshed....I'm not sure how they showed up.  But there it was.  An email from Hanoi Adoptions and the subject line had Sadie's Vietnamese name followed by I600 Preliminary Approval.  I started to sob.  Not cry - sob.  I opened the email and read, "based on a preliminary determination of orphan status by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service you are now authorized to travel to Vietnam to complete the adoption of ..."  Holy shit!  I reached for the phone, my hands were totally shaking, and called my mom.  She answered the phone and all she could hear was me sobbing.  She panicked and asked what was wrong.  Then I told her that I finally got my approval.  I then ended up on the phone for hours with my mom and other family and friends.  I started freaking out immediately.  I have SO MUCH to do.  My mind was racing.  I ended up sleeping for about an hour and a half last night. 

Both my mom and dad are going to make the trip with me.  What an amazing experience this is going to be.  We can leave as early as Monday but my dad and I both have things to tie up at work so we are hoping to leave on July 5th! 

I found out today that there were 7 approvals for my agency last night and early this morning.  It appears that the Tu Du block has been lifted so the others should come within the next few days.  There are two families with my agency who have been waiting for approval since November.  I so hope their approvals are in the next batch.

Everyone was so amazing at work today.  Some of the Sisters came to my office as soon as they heard.  Actually, the good news spread like wildfire!  It was so great to feel happy and have something to celebrate.

More travel details soon...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

i just got my freakin approval!!!!!

I can't believe it.  This is really happening.  I'm going to Vietnam!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

this made me laugh out loud

I love this show!  The guys are so freaking funny together.  When they sing the word "piano" in this promo, I laugh out loud.  I can't wait for the new episodes to start. 

100th post

One hundred posts and still no daughter at home to show for it.  Unbelievable.  I started this blog as an adoption journal and it seems to have turned into a sad, whiny bitch-fest.  How sad. 

It's been quite an emotional few days.  I never thought that the baby bird story would end so badly.  I think there is a very good chance that the spider stung or bit baby bird.  She seemed to take a very bad turn right after that incident.  It hit me really hard and now I have one less thing to distract me.

Not much new going on here.  The baby proofer came out on Friday and put latches on all the drawers, cabinets and closets.  He also put in the toilet locks and a gate at the top of the stairs.  I still have a lot of work to do in terms of moving breakables up high and covering the corners of my coffee table and tv stand, but I've still got time.  One funny thing....I basically followed the baby proofer around while he did the work.  Not because I didn't trust him, he just kept talking to me so I had to follow him to continue our conversation.  Well, when he was done, I walked him to the door, shut the door behind him, walked into the kitchen and yanked open a cabinet.  Duh!  Someone was just here for 2 hours locking all the cabinets.  What was I thinking?  Clearly, the latches are going to take some getting used to. 

Saturday was a good day, with the exception of the sweltering heat.  Good grief it is hot!  I went to a lecture in the morning hosted by my home study agency.  They had the medical director of the Stramski Center at Miller Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Feldman spoke about internationally adopted children and possible medical, behavioral and developmental issues.  It was really interesting.  And I have to add, he was not bad to look at.  Especially with his South African accent (I'm a sucker for an accent).  The Center provides pre and post adoption assessments.  I'm seriously considering taking Sadie there shortly after we get home for a physical exam, lab tests and behavioral and developmental assessments.  I'm just not sure her pediatrician will know all the things to look for. 

After the lecture I did a little shopping for me and then went home to rest and cool down.  A little while later I picked up Y and we went to a work event.  This was a fun work event though....no work involved.  After the event we went back to Y's house for about 5 hours of Rock Band.  I have to say that we are getting really good!  Songs that used to scare the crap out of us and kick our butts, are now a breeze.  It's amazing how fast the time flies when we are playing.  It's always a good time. 

Today I stayed in and finished the final assignment and first exam for my online Early Childhood Education class.  The class is Infant and Toddler Studies.  This was the first week of class.  I'm taking the class for a few different reasons, and so far, I really like it.  AND, I got 100% on all of my work so far.  Sweet!

Well, here it is, Sunday night.  It's officially a new week.  Who knows what is going to happen.  It's been a month since my last correspondence from USCIS.  Let's hope there are no more block letters coming.  They asked us to wait 30 days and I've waited.  Now what?  My agency has another conference call on Wednesday.  I'm going to try to stay positive until then.  They asked us to wait 2 weeks and I've waited.  Something has to happen soon.  It just has to! 

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

things are not looking good for baby bird

I've made all of my neighbors aware of baby bird and one of them just knocked on my door.  She was coming home from dinner and found baby bird being pulled up the planter in a freaking spider web.  The spider had wrapped it's web around baby bird and was literally pulling her up the planter.  She was hanging with her butt in the air.  I just checked on her a little over an hour ago and she was fine.  I cut the web with a chopstick and my neighbor killed the very large spider.  Circle of life....

Baby bird flapped very little then rolled on her back and now she won't roll back over.  I don't want to touch her but I'm very worried.  This is not good.

hummingbird 911

Of course this would happen to me....

I got home from work today and looked to the nest to say "hi" to baby bird and she was gone.  What the F?  I looked around, then, on the ground, I saw her.  She was right in front of the pot that the tree is in. 

001

I watched her for a few minutes and it looks like she hurt her left leg falling from the nest.  She can't walk, just wobbles.  I freaked out.  I didn't know what to do.  Do I put her back in the nest?  Move her out of the walkway?  Leave her alone?  What?  I saw momma hovering, which I thought was a good thing. 

Here's where my obsession truly comes to light.  I remembered seeing a post about hummingbirds on one of my mommy groups a few weeks ago.  I ran inside and turned on the computer.  I found the post which lead me to a local vet's office.  I called.  (Yes I know I'm out of control.)  The woman who answered was really nice.  Basically she told me not to touch baby bird no matter what.  She said that once she was marked with my scent, momma would reject her.  Oy.  She said not to get too attached.  Um...too late.  She said this is how nature works.  This is how they learn to fly.  I told her that momma was hovering and she said as long as momma was there, she'd be fine.  At this point, I'm crying on the phone.  (Crazy, I know!)  I told her I was afraid someone would step on her.  She said not to put anything around her, but that it would be OK to put a sign for my neighbors.  So next thing I know I'm making a sign on fluorescent orange paper that says: Watch your step.  Do not touch this baby bird.  The vet said it must not be touched.  I taped the sign to the ground right near baby and came inside.

Of course, it's not over yet.  You see, I have a big sliding glass door right where the tree is so I can watch everything that is happening from inside.  Momma keeps flying down to baby bird and feeding and grooming her.  Then she knocks her over onto her back.  Baby bird flails her legs and flaps her wings and then manages to roll back upright.  This is PAINFUL to watch.  Momma is very aware that I am watching.  Here comes more crazy...I'm lying on the floor, peeking out the window, taking video.  Here's a little interaction I caught on tape (gotta love the Flip video).  I had to take the first half through a sheer curtain because momma saw me and kept flying away.  But the last few seconds, are a lot clearer.  Oh, one more thing.....notice the soundtrack by Bailey.  She thought it was great that I was lying on the floor so she laid right down and started purring. 

I hope baby bird makes it through the night.  I'll be crushed if this doesn't end well.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

138

Still nothing.  I don't think anyone can really understand what this wait is like if they are not going through it themselves.  Sadie will be 13 months old next Wednesday.  It was one thing to be under 60 days stressing about the wait.  I am now at twice that.  MORE than twice that.  It is so painful to know that Sadie is just sitting in an orphanage when she could be home.  How can anyone think this is in her best interest?  What could possibly be taking so long?  Is anyone even trying to resolve the block?  Sometimes I honestly think that nothing is being done and that CIS doesn't even care.  I truly believe that if they cared even one iota they would provide families with some tiny bit of information or hope.  But....we get nothing.

I've started moving forward with plans to get things done for when Sadie does come home.  This Friday the baby proofer is coming to do all the work.  Then, on July 3rd, the CHP is installing my car seat.  I thought doing these things would make everything seem more real and possibly distract me, but I'm starting to worry about what will happen if I do these things and I'm still waiting in 3, 4, 5 months.  It won't be easy driving around town in a car with a car seat and no Sadie.  But I guess nothing about this has been easy since March 16th (the day I received the Tu Du block letter). 

growing, growing...

Look at my baby bird today! 

008

I can't believe how big she's gotten.  I even got to see her wings flutter today.  At the rate she's going she's sure to fly the nest soon.  All I can do is hope momma will come back and lay more eggs in the future. 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

orphans in film

I LOVE movies, musicals and theatre.  I plan to share this love with Sadie.  Well, yesterday I woke up and turned on the tv.  One of the many versions of Annie was on so I started watching and singing along (of course). 

215px-Annie_Musical_Poster 

Then, I started thinking.  Do I want Sadie to see this show?  The depiction of an orphanage is just awful.  Ms. Hannigan is such a meany.  She tells the kids that no one loves them.  They are made to clean the place.  They skip meals.  All Annie can think about is finding her parents.  Oy. 

Then I started thinking about my favorite Disney movie, The Rescuers.

Rescuersposter

I have always loved this movie but what would  Sadie think of Penny the orphan?  Penny is so sad and wants desperately to be adopted.  A couple comes to look at her and then chooses another little girl.  Now, I know that after her adventures, Penny is adopted by a nice mom and dad (hope I didn't just spoil that for anyone), but still.

I plan to be a responsible parent.  I'm going to have to start watching these plays and movies with a new set of eyes.  I certainly don't plan to keep Sadie sheltered, but I don't want to expose her to anything, especially something that is meant to entertain, that could hurt or confuse her.  I guess I'll have to wait until she is old enough to understand that it is just a movie or a show.  That it is not real and it is not like the orphanage where she spent the first year + of her life.  Now that I'm thinking about all of this, I wonder what other movies, plays and even books are out there I need to worry about.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

baby bird

When I walked out of my place this morning I found momma sitting on the side of the nest with baby sticking her head out (I've decided it's a her).  It would have been a great picture but if I went back in for my camera I would have been late for work and I couldn't be late today.  Bummer.

When I got home I did my daily check on baby and got this great pic.

002

You can see the shell in the nest.  I can't believe that big baby came out of that little egg.  The freaky thing is that the egg looks intact.  Could there be an unhatched egg in there?  I only saw one egg before, but who knows.  You can bet I'll be keeping a close eye on this.  What the hell else do I have to do?!

nothing

We had another agency conference call today.  Once again, no concrete information....nothing.  No one really knows what's happening with the Tu Du block.  It is so incredibly frustrating. 

Things at work are getting complicated again.  My life is essentially on hold while I wait for this friggin approval.  I don't know if I'll be here next month so everything is being put off - orientations, trainings, our award ceremony, mentor meetings, etc.  So far my boss has been supportive, but I don't know how long that is going to last.  Then, as if that stress weren't bad enough, I am not joking when I say that at least 10 people ask me EVERY DAY if I've heard anything.  Volunteers come up to me and say, "Oh you're still here," or "Have you gone and come back already?"  They don't seem to understand that when I go, I'll be gone for 3 months.  I know they mean well and it's very nice that they even care to ask, but sometimes it is so hard to keep from breaking down right then and there. 

One of my volunteers used to work for "the agency" (I think it was the FBI).  She has offered to contact some people for me, including the Ambassador to Korea, who she knows personally.  My agency wants us to wait things out for 2 weeks and see if leaving CIS alone, will result in them actually get things done.  Two more weeks certainly won't kill me, but it will put Sadie at 13 months old.  Why should she have to wait one day longer?

Then, there's the daycare issue.  I've been on the wait list for daycare at work since March 07.  An opening came up earlier this year that I had to decline since Sadie wasn't home yet.  Now another one is coming up in July and even if I were to leave today, I wouldn't need daycare in July.  Their next opening will be September.  I'm hoping that timing will work well, but if she's not home by September (this CAN'T happen), it will be months before there is another opening.  Daycare is extremely hard to come by here in L.A.  Places have year long wait lists.  What a mess.

Monday, June 9, 2008

my latest obsession

You thought this was going to be another Rock Band post, huh?  Well, it's not.  Not that I don't LOVE Rock Band.  I do!  Y and I get together at least once a week and play until 2am.  But that's another story....

There is a tree in a pot right outside my front door.  A few weeks ago something caught my eye in the tree.  It was a hummingbird and it was on a nest. 

002

The next day I was able to get a peek inside while momma was away.  Here's what I found. 

003

Then the wait began.  Every time I walked by the tree, if momma was there, I talked to her.  "Still waiting, huh?  Me too," I'd say.  Then, a week ago, workers showed up in the morning to replace the fence between my building and the one next door.  When I got home from work that evening, the tree had been moved and totally turned around.  The nest was now completely exposed.  I freaked out.  I got up on a chair and peeked inside and saw a little black thing, and it was moving.  I couldn't make out that it was a bird, but of course it was.  I pushed the tree back the way it was and instantly, momma flew back on her nest.  The next morning I yelled (nicely) at the workers not to move the tree because there was a nest and a newly hatched baby bird.  I'm sure they were thinking, "Whatever you say crazy lady."  The rest of the week they didn't touch the tree.

Tonight when I got home from work I was peeking at the nest and a little butt poked out and pooped straight out into the air.  Thankfully, it missed me, but it sure was good for a laugh.  I then ran inside, got a chair and got this pic of my baby bird.  It actually looks like a bird now. 

008

I don't know what's gotten into me but I'm obsessed with the nest, momma and the baby bird.  I have talked to my folks and friends about it.  (I think they think I'm a little cuckoo.)  I've googled hummingbirds to see how long it takes an egg to hatch.  I don't want to know when baby will leave the nest....that will be a sad day.  I'm hoping momma will reuse the nest and this will be an ongoing process, but who knows. 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

what's that i see?

smile

A smile and a tooth!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

127

I was all set to blog about the great pictures I got of Sadie this week and then I made the mistake of doing my nightly blog check.  Two of the waiting families that I've been following got their approval today.  One family got it in 47 days, the other in 57 days.

FUCK!  How long do I have to wait?  Today is day 127.  One hundred and twenty seven.  Is anyone doing anything to resolve this mess?  Because it sure doesn't feel like it.  I really need this to be over soon.  I can't do this much longer.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

a rave

I read a lot of blogs everyday.  Most of them are adoption or parenting related.  I don't remember how I found it but one of the blogs I read is Sweet Fine Day.  The blog belongs to a husband and wife in Brooklyn who have 2 darling girls.  They post great pictures of food and occasional recipes.  They are just starting a food business, called Whimsy & Spice, which sells delicious looking cookies, marshmallows and biscotti.  Well, after looking at all the pictures for weeks, I finally broke down and placed an order from their Etsy shop.  I ordered the chocolate, orange and cardamom shortbread cookies and the espresso with dulce de leche brownies.  My order arrived today!

whimsy

In the box with my treats was a handwritten note thanking me for my order (and dedicated blog reading).  The note went on to say that they included a sample of their rose and black pepper thumbprint cookies.  The sample was 6 full size cookies.  Now that's what I call a sample!  So nice! 

I tried the brownie tonight and....OMG.  So yummy.  I strongly recommend you check them out.

the game

I saw this on two different blogs so I thought I'd give it a try.  Go here if you want to play along!

mosaic6762734

1. vise for gærne jinter, 2. Spaghetti in Tomato Cream Sauce, 3. Palisade, 4. Sunset at Jaco Beach III, 5. Alex O'Loughlin, 6. Happy Birthday Mimosa, 7. Opera in a dream, 8. Apple tartin, 9. Kissie ... playing with mommy ... real kitty excitement ..., 10. Cotton Candy, 11. Run, Wait and Life ..., 12. sadie eyes

Monday, June 2, 2008

seriously?!

Can't a girl catch a break?  I got an email from my agency today.  They sent measurements but apparently there were no pictures of Sadie in the batches they received from the in-country staff.  They've asked them to go back out but who knows when they'll come.  I know I got a picture on Friday from my online friend, but this is what I pay my agency for.  Argh.

Anyway, sounds like my girl is still a peanut.  She is now 17 pounds 9 oz and 28.6 inches.  She's gained 2 1/2 pounds and grown 2 1/2 inches since February. 

Surprise, surprise...I'm still an angry  mess.  I read about another approval today and started crying instantly.  It only took 30 something days and their baby is only 7 months old.  At the rate things are going, Sadie will be twice that by the time she gets to come home. 

Sunday, June 1, 2008

4 months

I just noticed the ticker on the top of my blog.  Today marks 4 MONTHS waiting for I600 approval.  Please, please let her come home soon.

my standing girl

My agency told us that we would finally be receiving updated photos and measurements on Friday, but I didn't get anything.  I've had no update on her weight and height since February.  Yet another disappointment. 

I did, however, receive a wonderful surprise  Friday morning.  Someone I met online (gotta love the Internet!) is currently in Ho Chi Minh City picking up her son at Sadie's orphanage.  She offered to take pictures of Sadie, if the staff allowed it.  Well, on Wednesday, she picked up her adorable Anthony and on Friday she returned to the orphanage to take pictures of some of the other waiting children.  She sent me one adorable photo and told me that she would send more when she got home.

sadie cropped 5.30.08

Sadie, though still not smiling, looks so much better in this picture than she did in the last ones I received.  How cute is that outfit?  It seems the little miss is standing all on her own and is quite stable on her feet.  Could she be walking already?  Oy.  She was a little frightened of A and her husband, so A moved slow and gentle with her.  She sat her on her lap and talked with her.  She gave her hugs and told her that her mommy loves her.  I am so grateful to A for taking the time to do this for me.  It is also nice to hear about Sadie's development and personality.  I just don't get that information from my agency.