Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thank You!

In yesterday's post, I didn't say "THANK YOU!" to those who have been lifting us up. I remembered to mark it on the prayer list down below, but people don't always scroll down to the bottom of the page and may not see it. So... Thank you so much for your prayers! I know they made a difference and we appreciate each and every one. Now, the REAL wait begins- and it looks as if it's going to be a long one. Our agency is having a hard time getting its foot in the door in VN, so to speak. If you listen much to some of the boards, it seems that things are slowing down across the board in Vietnam as more and more families choose to adopt there, but being with a pioneer program means the wait could be significantly longer. Or not. There's no telling. I'm just thankful we have chosen an agency we really believe is ethical. That is the most important thing. I have no interest in bringing home a baby quickly if it means I'd spend the rest of my life wondering if corruption was involved, so to me peace of mind is more important than a quick referral (now, someone will need to remind me I said that when we're several months down the road, when I'm going nuts waiting for our referral and wanting my baby home, okay?). That's not to say that quick referrals automatically equal corruption... I don't necessarily think they do. But I'm not jumping into that whole debate today! I'm still too busy dancing. Have a good one, Everybody! Blessings!

P.S.- Our next prayer hurdle will be for our dossier to get to VN and get logged in soon- with no more problems or glitches! Thanks!

Monday, October 29, 2007


I know, I know... 2 posts in one day. Does this chick ever shutup, right? But this is important...

Shhh. Hear that?

No? Listen carefully...

There! Didja hear it?

That sound that's kind of like a herd of buffalo running across a slightly dirty laminate floor? ...

That's no buffalo.

That teensy-bit scary, cloppity-thud-stomp sound, my dear friends,

is the sound of Chelle... Dancing.

Our certified self-employment letter came today! Our dossier is now complete, and is on it's way to the Post Office, headed to WACAP. Yippee! Dance with me, everybody. Come on!


How bout a round of drinks for everyone? Go grab yourself a bottle of water. Make it an iced tea- we're celebrating. Live a little. Now this occasion definitely calls for some serious M&M intake. Who's with me?


My Kid: Once again a happy camper...

Well, I may have spoken too soon when I reported on the big break up. Alex and his girlfriend seem to have patched things up. Teenage romance... Who can keep up? If he's happy, I'm happy, I guess. Why do teenage boys need girlfriends, anyway? Why can't they just wait until they're 35 (and almost grown-up)? It would be so much easier on their bank accounts, their emotional health, and their MOTHERS!

He got his Senior pix taken Saturday, and I went along to put in my 2 cents worth (and if I choose to delude myself into believing my opinions made any difference whatsoever to him, it's nobody's business but my own, thank you. lol) I think we'll get a lot of good pictures, and I'm really excited to get them back.

On the adoption front: I'm really hoping we'll get that final document back today (or at least early this week) from the Sec. of State. We'll see if the mailman is going to be my friend today... I'd love to get our completed dossier sent in to WACAP this week. Wish us luck- No, not LUCK... Wish us blessings!

On the diet front... Aw, geez. Do we have to talk about it? The weekend was not kind to me. There was Date Night, including a movie. Movie popcorn. Extra butter. Movie popcorn must be followed by... M&Ms. It's a rule. My bum is bigger (*bum* is a reference to my backside, not my husband, BTW). Nuff said. Today's a new day. Fresh start. Again.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Random Ramblings of a Fat Girl

Ohhhhh, cripes... I've gained ten pounds. After losing 40 lbs. in this past year, I've recently gained back 10. It started with the Florida vacation, I think. I left my diet at home, and when I returned my diet apparently went on vacation. So, 10 lbs. later, I have to start again. I've gotten very sick of diet-y food and eating "right" and really don't understand why a steady stream of chocolate and coffee can't make me look like Gisele Bundchen. I've been back on the Diet Wagon for two days now (2 excruciatingly long days) and, in keeping with my usual self-defeating perfectionist's M.O. of setting standards for myself that are ridiculously too high and impossible to achieve, I had expected to lose the 10 lbs. plus a few more by the time I stepped on my scale this morning, the 3rd day of the diet. I haven't. I remember the days of high school when I would decide on Wed. that I wanted to drop 10 lbs. by Friday night to fit into my favorite size ZERO jeans for a party, and I did! Easily. A couple oranges, a few cans of Tab, throw in a Snickers Bar... You got yourself a successful diet. I don't see why middle-age and child-birth had to screw up a perfectly good weight-loss system.

My slightly more realistic goal is to have this 10 lbs. off (plus a few more, I hope) before Thanksgiving. I can do that. Maybe. My ultimate goal is to lose this 10, plus another 40. We'll see.

I have NEVER had healthy eating habits. NEVER. I grew up on Double Stuff Oreos. It's very difficult for me to view weight loss as a "healthy life change," instead of a "diet," the way all the experts say you're supposed to do because "healthy life change" is a fancy way of saying, "Your Double Stuff days are OVER." The word *DIET* just means, "Your Double Stuff days are temporarily on hold until that monstrosity you call a butt can fit into the pair of too-small jeans you just bought, and yes- you do have to be able to get them zipped, and no- your gut may not spill way out over the top. That looks skanky."

I don't even mind being "chubby." If I could be one of those bigger women who still "has a pretty face," I think I'd be satisfied with myself. It's the fact that 50% of my body weight sits on and directly below my face that bugs me. I don't get to have the standard double-chin that seems to accompany a sexy figure such as mine. Instead, I just have one Big Balloon Chin. If I could make that go away, I'd feel great about the rest of me. I don't like looking at my big, gargantuous neck in pictures, hanging there under my big, gargantuous face. I've been told, by a few who know me best, that I might have a slight self-image/self-esteem problem. There may be a nugget of truth to that (Gee. Ya think?), but the fact that I will soon be turning 41, and my promise to myself had been to have all my weight off by 40, isn't helping. So, Big Balloon Chin Chelle isn't feeling very good about herself, or her approaching birthday, today. What would really be horrible is if I DO lose all the weight, but the Big Balloon Chin remains. That would just figure.

In other news... Last night was Alex's last high school football game. It was also Senior Night, so we got to walk across the field with him. I felt so proud of him. For those of you that don't have kids yet, or still have only little ones... You know how people always toss out those cliches like, "Take time to enjoy them because they grow up so fast," etc.? Well, they do! It just flies by. I can't believe he'll be gone soon. It went by too fast. My sweet baby boy looked like such a man last night. He handed me a rose on the field, then gave me a hug (crushing my Big Balloon Face into his shoulder pads, but I'm not complaining) and a kiss on the cheek. It was very sweet. I even got an *I love you, Mom* out of it! He's turned into a really "fine, young man" as my grandpa would have said, and I'm so proud of who he is and who he's becoming. Even if he weren't my son, I would still genuinely LIKE him and think he was a good guy. It's just a bonus that I get to be his Mom and love him, too.

Our team ended up losing the game, which was really disappointing for him. If they would have won, they would have gotten into the play-offs and he was really hoping last night wouldn't be "the end." To make the evening even more difficult for him, he and his girlfriend of over a year broke up before the game. A tough night all the way around for him.

He's getting his Sr. pictures taken tomorrow, and we just finished ordering all the graduation stuff... Cap and gown, announcements, etc. There seem to be constant reminders everywhere I look, that scream at me- "He's leaving soon!" Eighteen years just doesn't last very long. I didn't get enough time. It was too short. I want to slow it down... No- make it stop! I want him to be my little boy for just a few more minutes.

So, in honor of Alex and the blessing of getting to be his Mom,

here's a few pictures from what seems like the last five minutes...

I love you, Pooh! You really are a good man.

Well, time to get my day started. The kids don't have school today, so I'm using the time to clean out my closet. Ugh! But first- breakfast. I'm craving M&Ms. Is anyone else craving M&Ms?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Prayer List

Hey- Anne, Dawn, S., and Michelle (oh, wait a minute..."Michelle" is me...)! I still have your prayer requests on the list. How are things going? Any updates? I'd love to write "ANSWERED!" next to these requests. Who has a praise report or blessing to share?

And where is everybody else? I know of a few of you who (Is it *who*, or *whom*?... Whom cares? lol) I'm dying to put on the list, I'm just waiting for your permission. Prayer is such a powerful tool!

The only update I can give right now is that we are still waiting to receive our final document. Kind of boring. It's funny because I expected the I-171H would be the document requiring (and testing) our patience. Now, that's been here since August, and we're still waiting over one goofy self-employment letter. But I know God is involved, working quietly, and all will turn out OK in the end. He's been doing some amazing things around here lately. Working in both small and big ways. It's impossible to ignore His presence. It's been very exciting, so I know He's working on our document situation, too.

You know, there are times when I feel like He's nowhere near. I try to connect with Him and it seems like He must be busy with someone in Alaska, or something... Oh, I know He's "here," but sometimes He's so quiet- it's easy to feel like I'm all alone and wonder if He's going to answer me or do something- anything. My prayers feel like they're hitting the ceiling and crashing to the floor, instead of being grabbed and held in His hands. Those "desert" moments can feel so lonely. I know they're an unavoidable and necessary part of a believer's life, things can't stay up, up, up all the time- but unpleasant just the same. Faith can get a little shaky during those times. I know we all experience those.

Then there's times when all of a sudden, He's in my face every time I turn around (almost like one of the kids :D) - showing me, even in some tiny, barely perceivable way, that He's hearing me and that He cares. He's been allowing me to experience one of those times lately. It's been so nice to "feel" Him hanging around all the time. What a faith-builder! I'm hoping He'll be in your face today, too!

Have a blessed Monday, guys!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Who Am I, Casting Crowns

A friend of mine sent this to me today, and I thought it was kind of cool. Not adoption related- but faith related, for those whose faith may need a boost today.

As you go through your day today, and face all that it may bring, don't choose to dwell on WHO you are... Instead, remember WHOSE you are. He's bigger than any obstacle you may face today, and He loves you more than you can imagine. Have a great day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

So... What CAN I ask? Proper Adoption Language 101

I was asked this the other day by someone who was reading the FAQs at the bottom of this page. Coincidentally, a similar topic was recently covered in some of the Vietnam groups on Yahoo. There's been some discussion about how patient and understanding an adoptive parent should be regarding comments from strangers, and how much they should reasonably tolerate before they have "just cause" to put rude folks in their places.

So, what CAN I ask? I understand the frustration behind the question. We live in a time where political correctness rules. You can barely say anything anymore, without someone telling you it's offensive. Some group is always eager to accuse another group of "Hate Speech." We are unwilling to let anything go without an apology. Read the paper. Someone is apologizing for their remarks made to someone else almost every day; sometimes, rightfully so and sometimes, not. It's getting ridiculous. This leaves us constantly walking on eggshells, wondering what's appropriate to say. Personally, I say all of this increased attention to sensitivity and supposed tolerance is making us overly sensitive and intolerant of anyone who thinks differently than we do. I think it's turning us into a nation of whiny, cry babies who are unable to shake off the tiniest offense and get on with life. We sound like a bunch of 4 year olds, yelling for our mommies to make the bullies be nice and say "sorry." The very people who scream TOLERANCE the loudest are the first people to get offended and refuse to tolerate the words of others. These, of course, are just my humble opinions- for you to do with as you wish (And please don't assume I'm obviously referring to a group that you are a member of or support, then get offended and leave me a nasty comment. If you do, you're kind of proving my point, anyway. These are just generalities, here, folks. I'm speaking of our culture at large. No particular target). Anyway... I digress. This is a rant best saved for another day.

I have a sign in my kitchen that says, "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it." That sums up how I feel about it. When it comes to adoption conversations, I usually try to cut people as much slack as possible. I have said it before in this blog; I understand the average person is not trying to be offensive, and is merely curious. Most poorly-worded questions are asked out of ignorance, and don't stem from a cruel spirit, so I don't believe I should respond cruelly in return. We, as adoptive parents, have to remember that the average man on the street has not taken a class on proper adoption language. I have asked a few blunt, poorly-worded questions myself (even to other adoptive parents!), so I'm the first to realize we all make mistakes, and have moments when both feet seem to leap involuntarily into our mouths.

For parents, an important thing to keep in mind is the fact that our kids will learn how to deal with the world by our example. I don't want my child to learn to be easily offended from watching her mother. If I react (or overreact) to every little comment, my children will pick up on that. I want them to be able to shake it off, and not let the remarks of others determine how they view themselves. How can I lead them in that direction if I'm huffing and puffing all the time over some offense? My children who have been adopted are going to deal with this stuff throughout their lives. They have to be able to let a few things go, or they won't be very happy people.

Of course, there is a time to say "enough is enough" and speak up for yourself and your child, but there has to be a balance. Sometimes, we just have to be understanding and gracious (albeit through clenched teeth) and keep our mouths shut. Sometimes, we have to be willing to forgive and remember that we can be (have been, will be) offensive at times, too.

So with balance in mind, here are a few tips on what you CAN say...

  • When talking to a friend or family member, I think the best rule of thumb is the old expression: *KISS.* Keep It Simple, Stupid! Simply asking, "How is your adoption going?" or, "How is your baby doing?" shows you care and allows the adoptive parent to tell you as much, or as little detail as they choose.
  • With whatever you ask, just remember- this child is already a son or daughter in the heart of the parent, even before they're brought home. Your sensitivity to that fact will go along way with your adopting friend or family member. Always consider the child to be completely *theirs,* just as you would a biological child. References to birth or biological parents are preferred over ones to "real parents." This is a common source of hurt for many parents. Adoptive parents are REAL. Just pinch one and see what happens! I bet you'll get a REAL reaction.
  • Always use terms that are inclusive, rather than exclusive. Separating a person's children into two groups when speaking about them (biological vs. adopted) is hurtful to both parent and child. Say, "My friend has 3 children," instead of, "My friend has one child of her own, and two adopted."
  • Nobody wants to be defined by a label. Choose words that put the person first, not the label. Understand? Example: "My friend's daughter was adopted from Vietnam," would be preferred over,"My friend has an adopted daughter from Vietnam." See the difference? It may seem like silly semantics, but it can make a big difference to someone who has to hear it all the time. The first way defines the situation or circumstances, but the second way defines, or labels, the child.
  • If in doubt about what to say, don't be afraid to come right out and ask, "How would you prefer I word this?" or admit "I have no idea how to ask about this." or "I'm not sure this is any of my business, but..." Your honesty will be appreciated and both of you will feel more at ease.
  • Also wise to follow, are two other old adages: Put yourself in their shoes and treat others as you would want to be treated. Think: What types of questions would you want (or not want) to answer about your child (or your finances, family relationships, or any other personal subjects)? Would the question you're about to ask make YOU or YOUR child feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, embarrassed, offended, etc... If so, don't ask! Put yourself in the place of the adoptive parent, AND the child. Even at very young ages, they are watching and listening, too.

Some of you are very open, gregarious people and will share anything with anyone, but we need to remember that not everyone is wired that way. We're all different, and what may seem fine to you can come across as horribly rude to someone else. Even the most sociable among us has a family situation that we would consider personal. Maybe too personal to talk about in casual conversation? Or in front of our children? A child's adoption details are often very personal, and many times very difficult for the child to even listen to, or think about, let alone talk about. This means that open discussion about birth parents, abandonment, orphanages, etc. is probably not something the adoptive parent is going to appreciate, especially in front of the child.

If you're approaching a stranger, and feel you absolutely must ask them questions, I'd really recommend being careful with your wording. Most of us adoptive parents are going to be friendly and fine with it, and understand that people are just curious. However, we all have our "off" days and times when we're just tired of having to explain our family to others... again!

  • If you must know where a child "is from," try using the word *born* instead of *from* (Think about it: If I ask you where you are from, you'd most likely tell me where you grew up. Most of our children have grown up here- wherever "here" may be... So their answers should logically be Norfolk, NYC, Milwaukee, etc.- not China, Taiwan, or India). Try: "Your daughter is beautiful. May I ask where she was born?" Better yet, phrasing such as "My friend's daughter was born in China. May I ask where your daughter was born?" lets the parent know why you are asking and they may be less likely to feel defensive.
  • Remember that anything you ask has probably been asked of them 200 times, already- so their patience level may be low. Try to be sensitive to that and not push for information. Be mindful of body language and other little clues that you may be crossing the line. This is just common sense, but it's amazing how many people don't seem to pick up on these cues.
  • If you realize a little too late that you're prying, used poor wording, or you've made someone uncomfortable, simply saying, "I'm sorry- I don't know how to phrase this... I hope I haven't offended you" will usually be welcomed, since it's more than we hear from most people, and will help put you back in our good graces.
The main thing to keep in mind, is this: *Some things are just NONE OF MY BUSINESS.* Say it with me, everybody: Some things are just none of my business... There.

A member of one of the Yahoo groups made an excellent point the other day regarding our sense of entitlement to personal information in our current media-driven culture. We live in a time where we seem to hear everyone's business all the time. I mean, when Britney Spears dents a fender, goes to Starbucks, doesn't wear her underwear, or all 3 at once, we hear about it within 10 minutes and have instant access to the pictures (please don't Google for pictures of Britney without her skivvies when you leave here). This gives us a false sense of entitlement to any and all information about others. We ask any question that pops into our heads, simply because we want to know (I'm guilty of this, too). Our sense of decency seems to have disappeared along with Britney's underpants. However, the public does not have the right to know everything about everybody. Period.

When it comes to our child's adoption details: If we want you to know, we will offer the information at a time and place we feel is appropriate. You really won't even have to ask.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch

The kids had a great time today on their field trip to the pumpkin patch. We saw every kind of pumpkin imaginable, including one that weighed 73 lbs. They each got to pick a baby pumpkin off the vine to keep. It was kind of funny because Brianna was taking forrrrevvver to choose her pumpkin and I thought she was searching for the biggest one possible (like some of the other kids). I started trying to help her and then I realized that, NO- she's looking for the tiniest pumpkin she can find. Here's a few pictures.

Liv finds her pumpkin...

Tuck chooses his...
And finally, the search is over and the perfect pumpkin has been found...

See, Mommy? It's just my size!

Hey, Mom- Can we come back to this place?

The Sweetest Hippie I know

This has nothing to do with anything, but I just wanted to take a moment to brag on one of my Sweetie Pies. We were at Silver Dollar City the other day for a craft festival, and I passed a rack of hand-made earrings. I stopped to look at one pair in particular. Evan (the 13 y.o. long-haired, hippie-looking one) asked if I was going to buy them. I turned them over, looked at the price and said, "Heaven's no; We're moving on!" They were way too expensive. I suffer from frequent "mommy guilt" when it comes to shopping. I have no problem buying things for Darrell and the kids, but when it comes to something for myself, I can always think of 47 other ways the money could be better spent and I start feeling guilty. It's one thing if I need it, and can find some way to justify it, but I was thinking to myself that I have no reason to buy earrings that cost that much. I'm a mom. I go to Wal-mart. I go to church. I go back to Wal-mart. That's pretty much it. No need for fancy schmancy earrings. So we moved on and enjoyed our day.

Later on that afternoon, Evan asked me for something from my purse. When I opened my bag, there was a small gift box in it. I pulled it out, opened it up, and there were the earrings... Evan had doubled back and bought them with some money he'd earned working with Darrell one day last week. They cost everything he had. Isn't that sweet? I was glad I had my sunglasses on because I started crying.

I'm off to bed- it's 1:00 in the morning. We have a field trip tomorrow with our homeschool group to a pumpkin patch, where I'm hoping to get some good pictures of the kids. The little ones are more excited about the fact that we're going to Pizza Hut beforehand to cash in their Book It coupons (Woo-hoo!). Goodnight, all. Over and out...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Worst Vietnam floods in decades kill dozens

Reuters... THANH HOA, Vietnam - More than 50 people were killed or missing after a typhoon, floods and landslides cut power and closed roads in what officials in two Vietnam provinces on Sunday described as some of the worst flooding in decades.

Click here for the full article. I don't know anything about these two provinces, but thought I'd bring it to your attention. Really terrible.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Prayer List Up and Running... Send In Your Requests

I heard from several through comments and email, who thought the prayer list was a good idea, so I started one. You have to scroll alllll the way down to the bottom of the blog to see it, but it's there. And so far, my own prayer request is the only one on it. That's a shame, people. Don't make me sit on that list all by myself, waiting for someone to join me (it reminds me too much of being in Jr. High School... but that's a topic for another blog, perhaps?). If you have a need that you are praying about, send it in! Give me a name (does not have to be real- just something to call you), and your prayer need, summed up as precisely and specifically as you can. Come on, people! I can think of about 5 of you, right off the top of my fabulously coiffed head, who I'd put on this list today, if I could. Let's start lifting each other up!

(Note to Anne: My room didn't get clean yet. Sorry, Mom. Maybe today. If I have time. I don't think I'm gonna have time. We'll see.)

Have a great weekend, everybody! Blessings to all of you...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Document Problem *Might* Be Solved

Good news today, guys... It's looking like the paperwork problem we were having might be taken care of now. Again, I'll spare the details and just hit the highlights... We got a copy of the "new and improved" doc. yesterday, and emailed it to our agency rep. for her review. She said the letter's wording looked OK. She questioned the way the notary language was worded, but said it may not be a problem in our state. So, I forwarded it to the Sec. of State's Office to see if they will verify it or not. I'm feeling more hopeful, but I won't feel completely good about this until I have it back in my hot little hands, verified by the State, and ready to send in to WACAP. Thanks for your prayers. Keep them coming! We appreciate each and every one of them and know they make a big difference.

Speaking of prayer, I've had the idea to start a prayer list on this blog. If you have an issue you would like your friends in Blogville to pray for, send it in and I'll add it to the list. Just try to make it as short and specific as possible, and you don't have to use your complete or real name (no identifying information is necessary- God knows who you are anyway!). I'm doing this because there's many of you that I'm thinking of and praying for, and I hesitate to publicly ask for prayers for you, although I want to. I feel funny about broadcasting your personal situation for others to read, even if I read it first on your blog! It should still be your choice to have it mentioned here. So, if you'd like to be prayed for, let me know. I think this could be an awesome way to make our waiting and our "down times" more productive, by lifting each other up. And the real plus is that praying for someone else's needs is the best way to stop focusing on your own- the best way to end a pity party! I think we could all use that at times, huh? Start sending them in, by email or leave a comment, and I will start a list. I'll leave your request there until I hear from you that it's been resolved. OK? Let's get started...

Back to our current situation... Now that the document problem may soon be resolved, ya wanna know what I have to do next? I have to clean my bedroom (she says, with head in hands, sobbing). What does this have to do with the document problem being resolved (you ask, slightly confused)? Well, we have to submit pictures of our home with our dossier. The other pictures were not a problem. Took those months ago. Now, only my bedroom remains. Well, that and the back yard, but that's another gripe for another day. Cripes. The room in my house that is the dumping ground for all toxic waste from every other room must now be cleaned and I can't find my bio hazard suit, because it's probably under a pile of overflowing, dirty laundry in my room. How and why does my room look so bad? Hmmm... Let me see...

Random kid says, "Mom, where does this go?"

And Mom says, "I don't know right now... Put it on my desk."

Kid says, "Mommy, my stuffed animal is ripped. Can you sew it?"

Mommy says, "Yes. Maybe. Someday. Put it on my dresser."

Kid says, "Cool! I just found a dollar on the floor."

Mom says, "It's MINE. Put it on my dresser."

Wonderful, devoted husband says, "Where did you want me to put this?"

Sweet, loving wife (resisting urge to tell him the truth about exactly where she'd like him to put it) says, "I have no idea. Set it in the bedroom for now and I'll deal with it later."

Well... LATER is here. My dresser is piled with so much stuff right now, that Jimmy Hoffa could be underneath and no one would ever know. Wish me luck. I may need to add this to my new prayer list!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New Yahoo Group for WACAP Pioneers

I'm starting a new Yahoo group for anyone in the WACAP Vietnam Pioneer Program. If you know of anyone adopting through this program, send them my way, please!
Click here to join wacapvietnampioneers
Click to join WacapVietnamPioneers

This is the first group I've started, and I have no idea what I'm doing, but I thought it might be fun. Thanks!