Archive for November 2013

20 Years Ago

November 18, 2013

Twenty years ago this month – which happens to be Adoption Month – my husband and I were finally on the same page at the same time in the same frame of mind and submitted an application to begin an international adoption.

Several weeks before we had attended an international adoption forum at a sort of local hotel where six different adoption agencies were represented.  It was a Monday night and the hubby was semi willing to  attend as long as I promised to leave in time for him to be home to get his weekly televised dose of WWF.  Of course I’d promised.

With fingers crossed behind my back.

It was crazy.  There was a table on a small stage lined with agency representatives.  The little room was almost full.  Full of families contemplating adoption…..families that had completed adoptions…..families in the process of adopting….and kids.

Kids of all sizes and ages, running around the room, dodging parental grips, snatching hugs, sharing toys, giggling, sipping juice boxes and just having fun.

About half way through the question and answer session, I nudged the hubby to ask if he was ready to go and he shushed me.  He was listening to what people were saying. He was hooked.

Line and sinker.

Sadly, albeit appropriately since the Baby Jessica and Baby Richard sagas had just played out in the local media, the biggest concern for the pre-adoptive families was the permanency of an international adoption. And how to fund the expensive process.

We talked on the way home.  It had been a bit of a journey for us to reach this point.  We’d experimented briefly with fertility drugs.  We’d toyed with the idea of just being satisfied with the exposure we had with his daughters.  We explored adoption through foster care, open adoption and family adoption.  Nothing felt right….until that night.

So we filled out the first of three applications that were to come.

We were requesting  a little girl from India.  A toddler….or an older child that needed us.  We felt led because we had watched a tv program that depicted the dire prospects for baby girls in India just a few weeks before.

And we began to think about…and prepare…to add a little girl to our lives.  Our hearts began to open and to flower and to ready themselves for that child.

Seriously.

But it would be three months before our child was even born.

And another three months until we were handed this:

Image

Our case file had been matched to a baby boy in South Korea.

It would be another six weeks until we were to hold him.  He would be four months old.

And it was seven months after submitting that first application to adopt.

Seven months of waiting and planning and preparation……and loving.

I have done a lot of reading over that past 20 years.  I understand that children who are adopted can sometimes feel a sense of abandonment.  That they may feel a sense of loss at being released for adoption by a birth parent.  I often wondered if mine ever wished for a different family.  Wished they had been matched with a family that could have given them more….or a different kind of life.

We have never talked about it…..and so I still wonder.

We have talked about their adoption situations however.  Shared what we know and the little bits of information that we have.  Told him how lucky he was that his mother knew very early that she wasn’t ready to raise a child on her own.  How grateful we were that she made the decision that brought him into our lives.

But there is another part of that story that I have neglected to share with them.

I have neglected to tell him (and her) how much they were loved even before we knew them or held them or hugged them.  How  our hearts were growing and getting ready from the day we filled out those early applications.

So while their birth parents were struggling and planning to leave them, on the other side of the world we were planning….and loving….and waiting to receive them.

Its a sad world in which adoption is needed.  But it would be a sadder one if it wasn’t available.

For everyone.

 

 

Spring Break in New York City….part 3 aka ‘Princess and The Lady’

November 7, 2013

The disappointment of missing the Broadway performance of ‘Matilda the Musical’ due to a myriad of flight delays the day before was soon abated as we set out to explore the city.  Now Princess had an ACL replacement surgery on her knee just two months before.  I wasn’t sure how able she would be to explore on foot.  She was determined to get by without her crutches.

So I made reservations for us to take a full day tour of the city on a bus.

We got up early and had a quick breakfast in a deli across the street from our hotel. Then we made our way to the tour bus depot, climbed a board and set off on our adventure with a bus load of comrades…..and a tour guide with a very thick accent.

Lucky me with my hearing loss.

Not.

The tour was very visual and that was nice. Even if I couldn’t understand a word the tour guide was saying. He must have been funny as people were laughing. The first stop was at Grant’s Tomb and we disembarked, looked around and boarded the bus again.

Princess was hiding under her hat and sneaking in a good little nap. I nudged as we passed things that were familiar…at least to me. Central Park. The Lincoln statue on the steps of the historical museum. She perked up as the bus made it’s way through Harlem and passed the Apollo Theater. She had used several pictures of it for a power point project the year before. Kinda cool to see it in person…even though it was just a drive by.

The bus stopped in Little Italy where we were taken to the basement dining room of a small restaurant called ‘The Grotto’ and given a choice of four luncheon selections. It was charming and tasty…..and had a bathroom.  After lunch we had time to wander the neighborhood a bit and it was a bit disappointing as most of the shops were closed.   She was intrigued with a shop window that touted vintage clothing….and a cat.   We did step into a little bakery the tour guide recommended and shared a piece of truly awesome New York Cheesecake.

Then it was back on the bus for a short jaunt to the harbor area and a water taxi.
Liberty ticket

Princess was in Kindergarten when the towers fell. She learned to count with the flags that appeared everywhere in our little community that fall. There were nearly 300 of them on our drive to school. She was a sophomore in high school when we realized she would want – and need – that official citizenship document. Americana symbols have always been important to her but she has always – ALWAYS – had a particular a fascination for the Statue of Liberty. In fact, it was the one thing she asked me to bring back for her on my first trip to New York – ‘something with the Statue on it.’ (I found a Statue of Liberty M&M dispenser….which was perfect for her. We filled it with personalized M&Ms several years later to celebrate her citizenship ceremony.) So this boat trip around the harbor was of particular interest to her.

And she was all over that boat.

While I found a spot on a cushioned bench outside to enjoy the ride, she was inside, outside, on top, buying candy, looking for the bathroom, checking out the window seats, etc. After being confined to the bus all day she definitely needed to move.  She would come around once in a while to ask if I was cold (which I was), or to ask if I planned to go inside (which I didn’t). Finally I told her that I had waited my entire life for this and I wasn’t going to miss it.  And that I was flipping freezing but didn’t trust my balance on the boat. She just grinned, did a little half turn and said, ‘OOoooOOOooohhh.’ She whipped out her cell phone and started snapping pictures.
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The ferry turned…..and there it was.

You can read about it. You can see pictures in books and magazines and newspapers and movies from every possible angle but there is nothing….and I mean NOTHING….like actually seeing the Statue of Liberty in person. It was like a heart stopping thrill for my Princess and I.

Heart stopping.

And we did the tourist thing with our cell phone cameras, taking pictures from every possible angle the ferry afforded us. This is my favorite.

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While there were other things ahead of us on this NYC adventure, I think the moment she first saw The Lady….the ‘OoooOOOOooohhhh’ just before she whipped out her cell phone to take pictures….will be the one moment that made all of the planning and the worries and the expense for this adventure….worth it.

Totally.

She had a smile on her face for the rest of the tour that day. We passed things that were familiar to her. The Twin Towers Memorial (which she did not want to visit) and the Wall Street bull (which we had seen in the movies) were among them. Our tour ended at Rockefeller Plaza and we had dinner reservations to get to. We high tailed it out of there.

And she was still smiling and still talking about that ferry trip around the Statue of Liberty.

Yep.

Totally worth it.

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My Girly’s Lunch Box

November 7, 2013

It all started with Mary ….as most of my carbon footprint reduction activities do. She is more determined and diligent than I. She is the reason my family uses a homemade laundry detergent as opposed to store bought. She is the reason we have a clothes line that stretches and recoils across our back deck. The pictures she posted occasionally of her daughter’s school lunches  were intriguing. Since Princess spends the last half of her school day in another location and doesn’t have the time or patience to stand in the cafeteria line before catching the bus every day, I purchased the lunch boxes Mary recommended:easylunchboxes-containers
….borrowed a few of her ideas and we were good to go.

Last year – when she was a high school junior – I packed a lunch for her most days…..and she loved them.Chicken Pasta Salad

Her friends were intrigued.

Popcorn Chicken Redux

And I had fun making them.

Since she was allowed to eat in her third hour Math class, her teacher would make her way down the row to her desk to see what she had for lunch.

Every day.

Wrap, veggies

When the new school year – her senior year – was about to begin, she coyly asked about ‘those lunches.’ Was I going to make them for her again?

How could I resist when she asked so nicely?

And so I have been on a mission. I snap a picture of each and every lunch before she shoves her box into her backpack and heads out the door. I post them on Face Book just so I can save the pictures in an album there for her.  I have gained a few friends….and lost a few friends…in the process.

I mean, who wants to start their day with a picture of what MY kid will be eating for lunch every day?

We are coming up onto the 50th day of school for her. Forty six different lunches so far this year.

And I have learned a lot about my daughter.

She doesn’t ‘do’ sandwiches on bread slices unless they are peanut butter and jelly. Or grilled cheese.

She prefers anything ‘mini’…mini bagel sandwiches, mini sub sandwiches on a dinner roll, mini cinnamon rolls…

She will try anything…once.

She loves mangos…and starfruit….and kiwis.

And apples.

She really loves little mini kebobs with cheese and turkey and pickles on a tooth pick.

She doesn’t like cheese on her sandwiches or in her salads.

She likes her steak cooked a little more well done than her Mom’s left over steak bites allow.

She doesn’t pay attention to ‘special lunches for special days’….like Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
Dr Seuss BD
And yes….those are Green Eggs and Ham, red fish and green fish and ‘Truffala Trees.’

I have learned that she will eat and enjoy the same vegetables every day if they are presented differently. So we have had carrot slices, carrot sticks, carrot picks, roasted carrots, curly carrots, carrots with dip…

Carrots, carrots and more carrots.

She really does love carrots…and celery and cucumbers and radish flowers and just about any other vegetable shaken with olive oil, sea salt and roasted.

Oh, I am not allowed to send boiled eggs to school any more. They may be admirable source of protein and awfully cute when you use a panda or bunny egg press, but apparently her Math book still reeks from the one I sent several weeks ago.

I have learned that making sure my soccer athlete kiddo has a solid lunch in the middle of the day means she isn’t trolling for snacks and eating us out of house and home any more when she gets home from school.

And that’s all good.

She is off to college next year so I just wish I’d started doing this sooner.

Like back in elementary school.

Sigh.

Until then….Halloween has passed.
Halloween lunch

Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon. I am already racking up the ideas…..

Heh.