Thursday, April 30, 2009

Details (long post)

Sorry, I haven’t been great about posting. We keep using up our internet minutes to check email and call home on Skype. This is going to be a long, long post- since I’m going to type it in Word to save time and paste it all into one post- basically smooshing about 3-4 posts into one. I’m soooo sorry for that, but it’s the easiest way to do this. I’ll try to make them shorter from here on out. If you’re not interested in the details, skip to the bottom to see a short clip of the baby “talking.” I’ll try to get some more pictures up tomorrow.

First and foremost, I’ll say that I’ve already learned something important about myself on this trip…

I sweat more than EVERY OTHER PERSON ON EARTH.

It’s absolutely disgusting how much I sweat. I’m shocked that a person can lose that much water and not pass out. I’m embarrassed everywhere I go. People stare and point.

Okay, that last part was a bit of an exaggeration, but I can see it in their eyes- they would like to stare and point.

That’s pretty much it. That’s the valuable life lesson. I’m a sweaty hog. Big, ole, fat, sweaty, sweaty Kansas hog right here.

Have I mentioned it is honestly hotter than Hell here? I’m pretty sure someone checked and it is a documented fact. Hotter than Hell. Yet, I’m the only one with sweat dripping off my face. Go figure. As always, I know how to make a lasting impression, even though it is rarely the impression I had hoped to make.

Anyhoo… That’s not what you came here to hear, I’m guessing. We’re all fine. The adoption is finalized and now we just play the waiting game. I’ve got a day-by-day report below, for those interested in how the whole process played out, but the short version is that the baby has been with us and officially ours since Monday (Sunday to you in the US), his immigration documents have been sent, and now we can all just breathe easy, relax, and enjoy the culture while we wait for his documents to be processed.

Evan and Sam both got pretty sick and yesterday was really, really rough for all of us, but they’re better today- More about that below.

Darrell will be with us for about one more week, and then the three of us will be on our own, waiting for the immigration packet to get back.

The scenery here is beautiful, but lots and lots of poverty. This is definitely not a resort town, or vacation-y, touristy type of destination, but of course we knew that going in. There are some people who come here for the fishing, so it’s a vacation spot to some. We met a really colorful Australian man here to fish.

The food’s good (you know it always comes back to the food with me). Lots of Chinese, and it’s easy to find Western food, too. Our room is comfortable. We have A/C and a balcony, and it’s a short walk down to the water.

Here’s the run-down of what’s been going on here each day:
Thurs. April 23
2:00 a.m.- Got up and left for Kansas City to be there by 5:00 for 7:00 am flight. Arrive in Minneapolis at 8:30. Leave Minn. at 11:30 am for Los Angeles- Two hour layover there.

3:00 pm- Fly from L.A. to Honolulu. Arrive there around 5:30 pm (Obviously, there is a time difference. It is not a two hour flight). Check into hotel and spend the night. Get up early again on Friday the 24th, to be at the airport for 7:00 am flight to Majuro. Arrive in Majuro a little after 10:00 am on Saturday, April 25.

Total flying time: 17:45, split over two days and four flights.

Saturday
Our facilitator, Maddy (who is WONDERFUL!) met us at the airport with her two little girls who had a lei for each of us, made by the birth mom of our traveling companion’s baby. We got checked into our hotel, and had an hour or two before meeting our babies. We meet the two other adopting families here… Matt, we’re missing you, already! We got to spend several hours with Sam before he went back to his foster parents (who are equally WONDERFUL!). During our time with the baby, Maddy took us to get his passport photos taken.

Sunday
We request another visit with Sam, and find out he’s been taken to the hospital for fever and vomiting before being brought to see us. We met Sam’s birth mom for the first time later that day. Later that night, we meet with our attorney, Gordon (the man is a SAINT), to start prepping for court.

Monday
We go to Gordon’s office to finish going over what will happen later that day in court, then we take our babies to the doctor for their physicals. Sam weighed 12 pounds, 13 ounces (he’s a tiny squirt. All the clothes I brought are too big). I didn’t get his length. I tell the doctor I’m concerned about the white gunk coming out of Sam’s eyes. He does nothing. We find out that Sam previously had pneumonia, which concerns us because he still has a cough and fever. The doctor says his lungs are fine. He then says something I’ve never, ever heard a doctor say before…

He asked, “Does he have one ball or two ball?” I said he has two. He gives me a skeptical look and wants to know if I’m sure. I suggest he check himself, since he clearly thinks I am not qualified to count two ball.

Am I sure? WTH? Buddy, I’ve had 6 sons go through my household. You can literally follow the bouncing balls down the hallway (much to my disgust… Oh. Hope you weren’t eating, or anything. Sorry about that). If I don’t know a two ball when I see one by now, I’ve learned nothing about motherhood and have no business having another boy.

So, doctors say “balls.” I was not aware. You learn something new every day.


Court is at 2:00 pm. We were told that court is the only thing that starts on time here in the islands. Everything else is on “Island Time,” meaning us Type A people will just have to adapt our impatient, anal ways.

Right before court, our birth mom and I change Sam into the outfit I brought for him, which he quickly poops all over, and spends the rest of court in a diaper, and wrapped in a blanket.

It is a real, formal hearing, not a formality, or ceremonial thing. Everyone is sworn in, like regular court. The judge comes in, we all rise, and the birth mother is called to the stand first. Most of the questions she is asked are to make sure she completely understands what she is doing and that she was not coerced in any way. I was sitting on pins and needles at this point, because she can still change her mind right up until the last minute. She didn’t. Obviously. (A little interesting tidbit about the Marshallese- Raising your eyebrows means “yes.” Our birth mother does this all the time. Gordon was telling us that he often has to remind the girls before court to SAY the word “YES,” instead of just raising their eyebrows.)

I’m called up there next. I’m horribly nervous, but trying to act like I’m not- because Gordon warned us that if the judge can see that you’re uncomfortable, he may be likely to ask you more questions. Yikes. No, thank you. Gordon questioned me. He touched on everything- the home study, finances, previous health and medical issues, my adoption, our family life, etc… EV-ER-Y-THING. After he was finished with me, the judge had only a couple questions for me, but they weren’t too bad. He was a really nice guy- originally from Minnesota, I believe.

Darrell is called up there last. He sounds nervous, and almost like he may start crying at any moment. Poor guy. His nerves were shot. We’re all on emotional overload.

When it was the judge’s turn to question Darrell, he zeroed in on some specific financial questions, regarding exact balances on certain accounts… Oh, crap. I handle all of that. Darrell answered wrong, looking at me the whole time, so I just spoke up and gave the information the judge needed. The judge goes, “Clearly, I’m asking the wrong person! You’re (meaning ME) still under oath!!” So, at least he had a sense of humor. He even asked Evan if he’d like to come up to the stand, just as a joke. So, it was all good.

Monday night, we rode out to the airport to see one of the dads off. We had barely met him, but he and his wife are just great people. You know how sometimes you can meet someone and you just know. That’s how we feel about these two. Anyway, it was sad to see him go, but happy that their adoption journey is that much closer to being finished and soon their family will be together back at home. We were approached there by a woman who turned out to be the sister of our birth mom, so we got pictures of Sam with one of his aunts. She seemed really nice and wanted our address, so that was neat.

(Speaking of riding to the airport… which I just was there a second ago… Were you paying attention? ...Just checking. We either walk or take cabs when we need to go somewhere. We are basically living on one long, skinny strip of land. In many places, you can easily see the water on each side of you. Very, very thin - is what I’m saying. I’m a pathetic ball-player, but I could easily throw a ball from one side of the island to the other in many areas. So, the traveling is mostly along the length of the island, not the width. Make sense? Cabs are everywhere and rides are $1.00 per person. Going all the way to the other end (like to the airport) is $5.00 per person, so it’s very reasonable and easy to get around. )

Tuesday
We go to get the baby’s birth certificate and passport in the morning (the passport was expedited, to be ready that same day), then we spend the rest of the day with our birth mom until it’s time for our immigration appointment at 3:00. That process was very different than it is for Vietnam adoptions. Since everything is dissected so carefully in court, there isn’t much left to go over in the “interview.” Again, the birth mom was asked if she understood everything, and that she made that choice freely and with full understanding. We really weren’t asked anything. We just made sure our documents were in order, and paid our fees. The immigration lady was very easy-going, and the whole thing felt really casual.

Tuesday night we had a really rough night with the boys. I’d been noticing Sam wasn’t feeling well, and he felt feverish here and there- but the scary thing was the goopy, white junk leaking out of his eyes. He would wake up with his poor little eyes matted shut. While trying to keep him happy late Tuesday night, Evan got up and started puking. That boy literally threw up more times than I can count. I’ve never seen someone keep heaving like that in my life, and y’all know how many babies I’ve raised. I’ve seen vomit. I know the flu. This was scary.

Wednesday
Darrell took the baby back to Dr. Two Ball, while I stayed in our room with Evan. Evan is adamant that he does NOT want to go to the Dr. and asks us to please give it a little more time because “he thinks he’s feeling better.” Have you seen that Monty Python movie where the old, half-dead guy is about to be thrown on a wagon of dead bodies, and he goes, “I’m feeling much better. I’d like to go for a walk”? That was Evan. Maybe he was worried (and rightfully so) the doctor would be more concerned with counting his gonads than treating his illness.

Darrell comes back with drops for the baby’s eyes, but that’s it. Nothing for the cough, congestion or fever, even though the Dr. said he may have an upper resp. infection. Crap.

Evan is NOT getting better (at least not to my satisfaction). He looked like a cadaver. He now says death would have been a welcome improvement.

Later that night, we have both boys looked at by a different doctor (from the hospital). She’s a sweetheart and does not ask me about anybody’s balls. I immediately like her for this alone, if for nothing else. She thinks it’s crazy that the baby hasn’t been given antibiotics, so she gives him Amox. and starts treating Evan for parasites, just in case it’s more than a viral thing. She acts like she gives a crap about the boys. Thank God. Now, I really, really like her.

Darrell also went out during the day to make copies of all our immigration docs and get them up to DHL.

Thursday (today)
Both boys seem to be feeling a little better. We’ve just been kind of hanging out and relaxing today and haven’t really even been out yet. It’s been nice. Our documents are on their way to Honolulu, then the Philippines to be processed and it will take several weeks to get them back. The last two families have been here closer to six weeks. We’re praying for shorter processing time, but preparing to be here a while.

Tomorrow is a big holiday here- Constitution Day. We should be able to get out and get lots of good pics. More later.

Here’s the short clip of Sam I promised:

video

I’m so in love with this boy. He’s such a happy, smiley little dude. He acts as if he’s known us forever. What a blessing!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pictures! (lots and lots)

First views of the Marshalls, getting ready to land:
Coming into the airport in Majuro:
*Me with one of our traveling companions:
* Me and Evan right outside the airport:Our room:
The view from our balcony: View of the lagoon:
First glimpse of Sam, with his foster parents:
Meeting Sam:



My beautiful boy:

*Please note: The temperatures here are 8.5 degrees hotter than Hell. My hair is going to look like roasted armpit hair for the next six weeks. I will attempt to put on my makeup, but it will undoubtedly slide off my face before we can take a picture. I realize this will make for a slightly nauseating viewing experience for you. My apologies. There's nothing I can do.

Friday, April 24, 2009

We're Here!

We made it safe and sound. The trip was long, and a little bumpy here and there (bumpy enough to make sure you're right with the Lord, know what I'm sayin'?) We've already seen our baby- we got to visit with him for a few hours and he's just the coolest, most laid-back little dude! I'm so in love, I can hardly stand it. We didn't meet the birth mother today, but did get to meet the foster parents and they are WONDERFUL people- very kind and loving. It's obvious our baby has been well cared-for because he's just such a happy little guy. He was smiling and cooing at us- quite a talker! I have pics- but I'll post more tomorrow. Court is on Monday, then he will officially be ours. It's Saturday afternoon here- about 4:45 p.m. It feels like it should be midnight (which it probably is at home), so I'm going to bed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Itty Bitty Update

I heard from a mom in Majuro today and she told me Sam is doing great! The foster mother is awesome and taking very good care of him. What a HUGE answer to prayer! Since the time I heard he was being fostered, I've been praying he would be in a loving home where he's happy and well-taken care of and it sounds like he is!

We have to be at the airport around 5:00 am Thursday morning and I'm just about ready to become a raging alcoholic. The house is trashed. The laundry is backed-up, since I haven't had time to do it for the past couple days (which is an eternity around here). My mother arrives tomorrow. We are still not completely packed (almost, though). I feel like I'm forgetting something really, really important. I'm tired. My mind is racing. I keep repeating myself. I keep thinking I've said one thing, when actually I've said another (which is causing "discussions" with the hub...
"Darrell, I just told you this."
"No, you didn't. You said that."
"No, I'm sure I said this. I distinctly remember saying THIS! I heard it come out of my mouth."
"Well, I just heard you say THAT!"
Get the idea?).

I've gone completely, totally stupid- as in, I can't keep anything straight and I keep saying things that make no sense. The other day, I started telling Evan how to behave while my mother is here, and he said, "So, is this your fun way of telling me I'm no longer going with you?" Oh, yeah! I totally forgot he's coming with us on the trip! Yes, I've got it all together. Pray for me, people.

This will be my last post before I go. I'll try to get some pictures up ASAP and hope to be able to blog a bunch while I'm gone. For my friends and family in real life- See y'all in about 5 weeks! Hopefully, I'll be back in my right mind by then.

Friday, April 17, 2009

We got our travel dates!

I could have titled this "We got our travel dates! Plus: An Award and a Haircut Disaster," but that's a dopey title. I didn't know how to merge three topics into one title.

I received an award, for which I feel thankful and blessed, and I passed it onto my blog buds at the end of this post.

Yesterday I got my hair cut short (er). It seems to be longer on one side than the other. Not a lot- hopefully not enough to be noticed by anyone else but me. HOWEVER... If you know me, you will understand immediately why this is a problem. I cannot tolerate asymmetry. Pictures that aren't level and that kind of thing just.drive.me.crazy. I'm a little Monk-ish that way. The hair differential might as well be 12 inches.

It's driving me insame. See? I can't even spell right. It's affected my spelling skills now! CRIPES! What's next? Nausea? Dizziness? Incontinence?

Sure, I could have just fixed the spelling mistake and moved on, but then you'd have no concrete evidence of how seriously this catastrophe has impacted my life. One side of my head feels heavier, you guys. No lie. I'm absolutely sure of it. I think I'm leaning a little. How can I live like this?

You know what's going to happen, don't you? I'm going to lay awake thinking about it, then get up out of bed at around 3:00 a.m., stumble- bleary-eyed- into the bathroom, search for the scissors, and whack the hel heck out of my hair. That's what's going to happen. And I will make myself look hideous, yes. But even though I know this, I will still be compelled to do it. Everyone in the Marshall Islands is going to be pointing and laughing. Mocking and vomiting at the same time. It will be bad.

Anyway... Next topic- Our flights are booked and we're leaving on Thursday the 23rd! We'll be in Majuro on the 25th, see our baby on the 26th, and he will be ours on the 27th! God is so, so good I can hardly stand it sometimes! Look at all these exclamation points! Can you believe these flippin' exclamation points!?! It's ridiculous! Just be glad you don't have to hear me because the tone of my voice is full of exclamation points, too! I'm really happy (except, you know, for the extra 3 feet of hair hanging off one side of my head) and excited, is what I'm saying. ...!... Right now, I'm filling out those obnoxious little luggage tags! The paper keeps ripping because it won't slide back into the flippin' holder-thingie! It's fun! I'm thrilled!

I've been emailing back and forth with one of the families currently in the RMI with their cutie-patootie new daughter and I just heard that two of the other families over there saw our sweet boy last night (and YES, he is a BOY!! That one deserved a few exclamation points, because I still had my doubts). They even got pictures of him! I'm hoping I can find out how big he is before I go, and save myself from packing 54,329 outfits in 4 different sizes. It's so hard to tell anything from a few pictures. He looks big in his referral pics, but he only weighed 4.9 lbs at birth. How much bigger could he get in just five months?

Oh, I almost forgot... I should apologize to anyone who needs to run to the store for baby supplies, toiletries, or OTC medicines anytime soon. The shelves will be empty. I bought them all. I'm sorry, but it had to be done. I now own enough QTips to keep every resident of the RMI free of ear gunk until 2015. Don't get me started on the hand sanitizer supply. I've gotta have my hand sanitizer. I believe life as we know it could cease if something bad happened to my hand sanitizer. And since the heat index over there is like a bajillion degrees every day, I've gone a little overboard on the Secret Clinical. I sweat like a hooker in church. A bit of an overshare. Sorry.

Ummm. Crap. Mike just weighed the first suitcase I have completely packed. It weighed 63 pounds. Just a tad over the limit. What in the he... ck am I going to do? These are the necessities, people!

Before I go, I wanted to thank Elaine for giving me this award:




Elaine, everyone's favorite Mormon, is one of my favorite bloggers. She is a funny, funny girl. I just love her to pieces and wish she lived across the street. Not only would my days be laughter-filled, but my children could invite themselves over to play on that huge jungle-gym-playground-heaven-on-earth-for-kids thing her husband is building. Have you seen the thing? It's like a small town. I'm pretty sure it also contains a movie theater and convenience store.

Now for the rules: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbon of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

So, I must now nominate eight of my peeps... I'll try to choose people who haven't been nominated already, but I haven't checked on all of you, so I can't guarantee it. If you've been nominated already, I guess you're just especially awesome. I'm not linking because the links to all of these are over on my blog roll. I'm not lazy, I'm busy!

In no particular order:

Ohilda at A Bouquet of Blessings- A Godly woman who is so passionate about Biblical values and isn't afraid to say exactly what she thinks. LOVE that!

Rebecca at Surrendering All has the biggest heart for children- such an amazing mama and woman of God.

Heather at Dreams Do Come True- A really sweet girl who is long overdue for all the blessings that are soon to come her way in the form of twin baby boys.

Chandra at Our Little Russian- LOVE her blog and her baby's gorgeous, sweet, happy, FAT little face. Just try not to smile while looking at that kid. It cannot be done.

Tina at Second Generation- Another adoptee and such a sweetie, with a gorgeous new baby!

Laura L. at A Joyful Family- A regular commenter who always has nice things to say. Her blog is always full of sweet pictures and stories about her cutie-pie little girl.

Tracy at My Minivan Rocks- My favorite Smarta**! What an awesome mama. Three little kids so close together would suck the funny out of almost anyone, but not Tracy.

Lauren at Cheers Y'all- Who surely must have been nominated by others, but I don't care. LOVE her blog. Actually, I don't think she reads mine and she won't know she got this, so I'll pick one more...

Kate at Howdthatgo- A fellow adoptee and someone that will hopefully become a new friend! I'll be seeing her soon in Majuro!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Court Date!

I just got an email from the agency, saying we have our court date- Monday, April 27th!! YEAH! This means we'll leave no later than next Wednesday, and possibly as early as next Monday, depending on flight availability. I can't believe the time has finally come, you guys! Is this really happening?

There's an awful lot to do before next Wednesday... Crap! (in a good way)

The judge has requested that we write up a plan for how we intend to pay for college for all these kids.

Um... does anybody have the answer? How will we pay for college for all these kids? I've never thought about that before... (I jest... you know that).

But, seriously... Does anyone have an answer?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Schwinkle Status

Apparently, there is one... A schwinkle, I mean. So, Sam is a boy. Or so we're told. I still have doubts now, and I guess I'll believe it when I see it. I saw the medical report with my own two eyes and it repeatedly said *girl,* but our agency lady emailed this morning and said she verified that he is a boy. Alrighty, then... I'm taking all the boy clothes I bought, so even if he is a she, she'll look like a he until we get home. Thank God I don't have to squeeze in another shopping trip to exchange all this stuff for girly things.

His name is going to be Samuel Robert. Samuel after I Samuel 1:27, and Robert after my dad. My dad's nickname was "Big Bobber," even though he wasn't big at all... He was a total shrimp. Anyway, I can already hear us referring to Sam as Little Bobber. My dad would have loved that.

Still no word on a court date or when we'll travel. I'm going nuts.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New baby!

I am now Grandma to four! Kindra had her baby girl Friday afternoon. She weighed 7.9 and is such a little cutie! I could have sat and held her all day long, but she had quite an audience of admirers all waiting for their turns. I've never seen a hospital room so packed full of people. I really hope I can squeeze in another visit before we leave. She'll be completely different by the time we get back.

We still have no idea when we're leaving to get our baby, but I think it will be soon. We also still don't know yet what the gender of the baby is, so there's not much to report adoption-wise. I'm dying to get some answers! I've become one of those compulsive email checkers, and I keep hoping the phone will ring. I'll post news as soon as we have some.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

And just to keep it interesting...

Apparently, there has been a tiny flub with the paperwork in the Marshall Islands. And, you understand, when I say *tiny,* I mean pretty darn big. Are you ready for this?

It seems, at this point, no one can be certain if I am the mother of a boy or girl!

Some of the initial paperwork from the medical report says female, and the later paperwork says male. Our agency lady says it looks like we may actually have ourselves a daughter. She's checking on it and getting back to me.

I recommend someone over there takes a peek down the diaper. I mean, how hard could it be to determine which paperwork is correct? The process can't be all that long and involved, can it? Why, I bet I could verify my own gender right now in less than a minute!

It has always been my understanding that there is a fairly accurate way to determine one's sex, is there not? The child will either have a little schwinkle (er... a, uh... dangling participle, for the English majors in the crowd) or it will not, correct?

Have I been misinformed all these years? Was Miss Jed from 7th grade health class wrong?

Anyhoo, Sam may not be a Sam. Sam may be a Vivian. Or... someone.

Of course this news comes one day after I removed the tags from the new boy's bedding set and put it, with a few other boyish things, into the wash. Of course. At least little Vivian's blue and green bedding will be nice and fresh and snuggly soft.

But, I'm thrilled either way.

I don't care what I'm getting. Really, I don't. I'd just like to know if my baby is schwinkled or non-schwinkled. Surely, that's not too much to ask.


Dear Sam/Vivian/Whoever you are,
Mommy loves you and hopes to see you soon. And by *see you,* I mean SEE you- as in, check out the goods. I apologize in advance for looking down your pants shortly after we meet. Not the best way to make a good first impression, and it's not something I make a habit of doing when meeting new people, but... There are some things a mother just needs to know. You understand.

Love,
Mom
XOXO

Brief Update

That's all I have time for...

There's been a problem with getting all of the BM's and baby's paperwork together (apparently they are still waiting on one or two pieces of paper), so we still do not have a court date. The attorney is pushing for April though, so we should still be leaving very soon. I have a feeling once we get our date, it's all going to happen really, really fast.

I feel like I'm on one of those amusement park rides that spin you around so fast, you lose your breath. I'm having a great time, but it would also be nice to breathe. Guess I'll breathe later.

I've been trying to get organized and set out things that I know I'll need to take. I now have piles and bags of stuff scattered all over the house and it doesn't appear to be organized at all. Judging by the amount of stuff sitting around me right now, I'm guessing I'll need 13 suitcases, each containing roughly 45 bajillion pounds of crap. Maybe I should reassess.

More later. Have a great Wednesday... It is Wednesday, isn't it?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Follow-Up to Flip-Out

I'm feeling much better since my last post. I was due for a meltdown, so I had one- and now I'm back on track. Our agency is trying to set our court date for the week of April 20th, so we could be leaving VERY SOON, as in less than 2 weeks. I've been dying to get this baby for two years, but I'm nowhere near prepared to leave VERY SOON. I think I've mentioned once or twice or twenty times that I don't have much baby stuff yet, have I not? I'd kind of been waiting until our referral, believing we'd have a month (at least) before we'd travel to get everything else I'd need. Uh... no.

Aside from all the sudden adoption excitement, my mom has been planning for months to come up for the girls' birthdays (the 6th and 10th of this month). She was coming next Monday, on Livie's birthday, and leaving Friday, which is Bri's birthday, AND now it's also the day my stepdaughter is having a baby, which we just found out the other day (she's being induced). We were planning to drive an hour and a half in one direction to take mom to the airport early Friday morning, then drive three hours or so, the opposite direction, to the hospital where our granddaughter will be born. Lots and lots and lots of stuff to do. So, um... When exactly do I run out to buy baby bottles, and diapers? I've been feeling a little Over.Whelmed.

Anyway, my mom has now decided not to come, since she's also coming to stay with the kids when we go to the RMI, and she felt it would have been too much for both of us to try to cram in all of that. She only would have had about a week in between visits, which is crazy stressful for her, too.

So, last week was very busy and emotional, is what I'm saying. And... have I mentioned stressful yet? This coming week was going to be more of the same, so there was more to my flip-out than the necklace, know what I mean? I was on emotional overload, which is something I don't do well. When I flip out, it's big. And loud. Big and Loud. Be thankful you only have to read it, and not see or hear it.

It occurred to me though, while I was reading through the comments and emails on the necklace post, that I haven't done a very good job of explaining how the open aspect of RMI adoption works. By *open,* I mean really, really open. In fact, we'll probably be picking the birth mother up to give her a ride to court. We'll invite and include her in our activities (going out for dinner, etc.) and we'll spend time not only with her, but the extended birth family as well. The goal is to spend the month building a relationship that will last. One that will feel like extended family by the time we go home. Then we will continue that relationship through calls, letters, pictures, and someday, a return visit so Sam can see his mama. This is why I was putting so much weight on that dumb necklace... I feel a lot of pressure, for Sam's sake, to make sure she "likes" us, feels comfortable with us, and knows we feel comfortable with her (and that obnoxious, pain-in-the-butt, scary little voice that lives in the back of my head keeps asking, "But what if you don't?"). We've decided to take Kate's suggestion (in the comments- Thanks, Kate!) and give her a small "generic" gift when we meet her, then save the necklace until the end of my stay. By that time, hopefully, such a personal gift will feel more appropriate and natural. Hopefully, there will be a genuine affection and the giving, and receiving of a personal gift won't feel forced or uncomfortable. As usual, the solution was both easy and obvious, but I can't ever see it because I've worked myself into such a tizzy. Ahhh, if only I didn't spend so much time creating my own problems.

I've been asked by a few friends if the birth mom will have our address, and if so, does that make me nervous. Yes, we will gladly give her our address, because we want the contact to go both ways. We want Sam to be able to receive pictures and letters from her, just as much as she'll want them from us. It doesn't make me nervous at all. And no- it doesn't make me feel threatened or worried that Sam won't understand which one of us is his Mom. We both are. BUT... If we were adopting domestically, especially from a city close to us, It might make me "nervous," to be honest. The distance probably does help us feel so relaxed about the level of openness that we'll have.

Anyhooo... I spent much of today shopping for baby necessities, and Darrell talked with a travel agent who has experience with RMI adoption travel, to start that ball rolling, so I'm feeling a little more prepared and a little less freaked. For now.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I hope I didn't just do something stupid

I ordered a gift for Sam's birthmom. It's personalized, which makes it non-returnable- obviously- and I'm already questioning my choice. It's a necklace with a sterling silver heart that looks like this except that it won't have that baby's face on it. I don't know that kid. That is a sample baby. It will have Sam's face (from his referral photo) laser engraved on one side and a message from us engraved on the other. The message says that she "will always remain in our hearts and be a part of our family- With love and gratitude from Michelle and Darrell."

Golly, Michelle, would you like a little wine with your huge wheel of cheese? "With love and gratitude"... Gyaaawwwsh... Is that not the dopiest, cheesiest thing to say?

Gratitude? Like, "Oh, yeah, thanks for that baby there, sweetheart. Real nice of you." The word gratitude doesn't quite cut it, does it? I mean, how do you convey to someone- in a one inch space and 130 characters- the range of emotions you feel; how your heart is breaking for her over the pain this has to be causing her, how you've cried over knowing that the source of your blessing and joy is also the source of her sorrow, but gee- you're oh so happy to be getting her baby? How do you tell her that since you already love her baby as your own, you also love her- because, after all, how could you not? She's a part of him- and gosh, you sure hope she'll feel the same way about you? How do you say to someone, "I'm desperate to earn your approval," without sounding... well... desperate?

How do you make her understand that it's going to rip your heart out to take that baby from her arms, but you can hardly wait to do it?

One inch of space and 130 characters is not enough.

Cripes. I'm freaking out here, aren't I? I'm over-thinking it... just a tiny bit? Feelin' a little crazy- and not in the fun way. Oh well, I'm already knee-deep in the insanity- might as well keep going...

Was it a mistake to be so personal? Maybe something more "generic" would have been better. Maybe she doesn't want to be "a part of our family, blah.blah.blah..." Maybe she will resent us. Was it a mistake to put the baby's face on it? Will that just be a constant reminder of what's missing in her life? I was trying to do something that would have a special meaning for her, but was I being insensitive instead? She's giving me a baby and I'm giving her... What? A sterling silver piece of crap? What kind of pathetic trade is that?

So... Tell me, dear friends and strangers- am I an idiot? Did I pick a cruddy gift? Or am I just suffering a little buyer's remorse (albeit accompanied by an itty bitty nervous breakdown) over the necklace because I can't change my mind and return or exchange it?

You would tell me, wouldn't you, if I'm a huge moron?

Actually, I'd rather you didn't.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I saw his face!

And he's beautiful. Huge brown eyes... big ears... lol! He's so precious. I am definitely head over heels in love. I keep going back to sneak another look at him throughout the day. I decided against posting his picture here, for now. I want to wait until he's really mine before I put his photos on this blog, but I've posted a few over on Wordpress that are password-protected. So if you have any interest in seeing them, leave me a comment with your email and (if I know you), I'll send you the password. I emailed pics to a few friends and family, but if I left anyone out, I'm sorry. You can see them here.


Now, back to the business of staring at my sweet boy's face, and getting his room ready, and doing a happy dance, and staring at his gorgeous face, and going shopping for all the tons of crap I still need, and making packing lists, and developing an ulcer, and...