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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Never take an adoption "break"
Up until mid September we were busy with different bits of paperwork. When we came home in June we had a whole second set of paperwork to do. When that was finished the Russians changed the rules and we had to have a new Certificate of Residency. Sounds simple, but you try getting a very specific letter typed on Chase Manhattan letterhead and notarized! That took about 2 months. Once we were finished with the CoR there was nothing.

Essentially we have taken an adoption break for the last 5 months. No paperwork, no shelling out any money... nothing. Last Wednesday we were hit with the realization that we have some serious paperwork to re-do. Unfortunately according to the "laws" of international adoption paperwork expires. Don't ask me how a marriage certificate expires, but it does. Here we are thrust back into the paperwork nightmare.

The first order of business was our homestudy. We had to get a 2-3 page update on our homestudy. That is actually a story I will let D tell in the Stupidity blog. It is that good. Our Social Worker informed us that we need letters from our doctor stating that we were in good health and competent to raise an adopted child. Easier said than done in this house. I changed docs this last fall because our old doctor is not the best in the world. When I called the clinic to get New Doc to write this letter the lady kindly informs me that New Doc has moved out of the state. Great. Also, since D has never been into the clinic they can't write his letter and won't be able to see him until March or April. Well that won't do. D either has to go back to Dr. Not so Hot or to a local walk in clinic for a basic physical. He gets to make the call on that one.

Then, I get an email from our coordinator this morning listing all the other paperwork that is expiring. Marriage certificate (that we have to pay to get), copies of passports (they are printed when the expire! in 10 years!), new police clearance letters (at $20 a shot), and other miscellaneous items. She also breaks the bad news that there is yet another NEW piece of paperwork required. A letter from our state Department of Health and Social Services stating that our homestudy agency is licensed to write post-placement reports and is in good standing. Have you heard the horror stories about WA State DSHS? Hopefully I can pin this one on the Social Worker since he is the one that works with the homestudy agency.

Of course it is not enough that we have to re-do all of this paperwork, but it all has to be apostilled* again. At $15 a page the cost can mount. When we had our initial dossier apostilled I wrote a check fro $321. I think it will be around $150 this time, but still.

Now try throwing all of this paperwork re-do in the mix with the various other things I volunteered for to keep myself busy. Sure... you all said L get out of the house. Get away from the computer. I DID. I volunteered for all kinds of things. I am helping out with the Women's World Day of Prayer that is this Friday, I am doing all the sets and costumes for our church production of Godspell (that is in a month), I am on the youth and family ministry team and we are putting on the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Feast tonight and I took a part time job as our church secretary. Couple that with trying to complete stacks of paperwork and you've got yourself one freaked out lady.

*apostille: a notary of the notary; a state seal stating that the person that notarized a document is a notary in good standing.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
I'm gonna be a Mom
Today brings a little less of the freaking out. I still have no clue what to do with this thing when it arrives. Like what do you feed it and what do you do if it cries. Most people gradually evolve into toddler parenting. But not us Buddy. Bam!! Instant Destructo-Kid. My house will never be the same. I am not sure if I am prepared for that. I guess it is a little too late at this point though.

On a totally different subject... How do you know when you have the best husband in the world? Well I'll tell you. When you are driving down the road trying to figure out what to do for the day and your husband turns to you and says, "Well we could go to the mall and get you an outfit for court." This is nearly as good as him giving permission to purchase the handbag you have always wanted. You know the one. The one in the locked glass case that if you have to ask how much it costs you can't afford it. Yeah just like that.

D is the best. He is one of the rarest of the male species. He actually likes to shop. We can thank his sisters for this one. He has 2 older sisters. Thanks Lee and G. Pretrained shopping males are very hard to come by. D is the stereotypical Metro-sexual. He loves to shop!!! Bonus for me. Back off ladies! He's mine and there is no way I am giving him up!!! EVER!!!

During this shopping extravaganza I did manage to get myself an outfit for court. I am not much of the suit kind of girl. I have no occasion to wear them. So I ended up with a tweed partially pleated skirt in a dark plum, a sleeveless light plum blouse and a light sweater in dark plum also. The outfit looks quite nice. It has been deemed by the shopping male to be suitable for court. I asked if he thought the judge would give me the child if I wore this. He thought she would.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Now what?
First... I am totally freaking out! I went through this stage about 8 months ago. It is inconceivable to think that I could be responsible for another human life. Have you seen the pile of clothes next to my bed?

I look around our house and see all of the stuff that still needs to be completed. More baby latches, clean all of our junk out of A's room, and get a ton of stuff that little people need. We have nothing!!!

So you probably are asking why can't we just jump on a plane and go get the guy. It all boils down to waiting for more paper. During the arduous 8 months, things they were a changin' in the former Soviet Union. First the MoE decided they weren't going to give any more release letters* to clients whose agencies were not accredited. Second, the regular judge in Khabarovsk went on vacation in September. During her holiday another judge presided over adoption hearings. This judge decided to start enforcing a law that had previously been overlooked. He said that adoptive parents must complete a medical evaluation by 8 different Russian doctors. He would not schedule any court dates without this little piece of paperwork.

This meant bad news for us professional waiters. Those stuck in between trips would be required to make an additional 3rd trip to Khabarovsk (or Moscow) to complete this medical form. THEN the judge would schedule the court date.

Here are the following scenarios on getting A home:

#1. Once our Russian facilitator has the Certificate of Accreditation in hand she will then reapply for our release letter. It will take about a month for that piece of paper to come from Moscow. Once we have our release letter we will be able to fly to Khabarovsk for our medical exams (it is too expensive to do it in Moscow). Once in Khab we will get poked and prodded by 8 different docs. The good news is we will get the chance to see A.** We then fly home, sans child and wait for a court date.

#2. The release letter timeline is still the same, but the trips are different here. Depending on the timelines for the families who already have release letters, we might get to take one long trip. There is a break even point. Anything less than 26 days it is cheaper to stay in Khabarovsk than to fly home. Derek's boss has said that as long as he is able to work (has an internet connection) he will not have to take vacation time. So theoretically we could pull a Melissa and Jason and live overseas for 6 or 7 weeks. The bonus is I wouldn't have to leave A a second time. This would be a big life saver on my sanity.

I am voting for option #2, but I am scared to death of living in Russia for almost 2 months. Best case scenario we will travel for our medical trip at the end of March, beginning of April and then wait about 4 weeks for a court date.

So the reaccreditation was a good thing, but alas we are still waiting.

* release letter: piece of paperwork releasing A from the Federal Data bank.
All Russian orphans are put on a federal data bank for 6 months and a regional data bank for 2 or 3 months (I can't remember how long exactly) Prospective adoptive parents must sign a piece of paper stating they wish to adopt this child and for that child to be released from the federal data bank making them eligible for international adoption.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
The long awaited update
I know this week's update should be brought to you by some fancy champagne, but really we can't afford fancy champagne. So this week's update is brought to you by the makers of "Never Freeze Ink"*.

First I want to say thank you to all of you who posted comments and sent emails of congratulations. It really did feel good. Celebrate for us, but please keep the prayers coming for Margaret and Jen. They need your strength right now.

So I bet you are all dying to know how the whole day went down. Thank God for ECD! I wrote the earlier post and then went to do other things. I happened to randomly sit down and check my email and there was one from our coordinator. I really wish I had a video of this moment. It was like something out of a cartoon. I stared at the computer. Stared, stared and then I became a blubbering idiot as if in slow motion. I called D and he thought something was terribly wrong. I asked if he could come home for the day and I told him why. He said he would be on his way.

I spent the remainder of the morning on the phone calling everyone. Moms, grandparents, friends, work. I was so excited I was shaking!

D got home and we hugged and cried. (ok, I cried, but I had been doing that for about 30 minutes already) We called more people and then tried to figure out what to do to celebrate. We both had some work to finish. We spent a little time finishing up what really needed to be done (so hard to concentrate) and then we were off.

Where did we go? Well... 2 expensive 4 U** is where we went. What self respecting person wouldn't. We updated our registry list, because if I were actually pregnant I would be competing with an elephant at this point. This is the 2nd time my "due date" has been changed. We scoured the store looking for a hockey jersey. None to be found. So what did we buy for A? Hangers. We are going to be terrible parents. We have waited almost 9 months for this day and we buy hangers.

D, however, had the grand idea to blow some money (that we really don't have) on something for us. We have not spent a dime on ourselves in a very loooooong time. His idea was a couple of iPods. Neato huh? Up until the sticker heart attack I was all for this. I really did know how much they were, but I don't think I was prepared to actually spend it. I just couldn't justify spending that much on something totally frivilous. (this coming from the woman who carries a designer handbag)

We marched around the store in silence and out the door sans iPods. D looks at me in the car and says, "I'm disappointed, but you are right." The man really wants and iPod. Of course so do I.

After the iPod debacle we head toward home. I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning out A's closet and putting those hangers to good use. Around 5:30 D's parents show up so we can go to our Celebratory Dinner. This is where the fun starts.

We ate dinner at Stanley and Seafort's. It is a local restaurant much like McCormick and Schmick's. We had drinks, a fantastic meal, more drinks and best yet... dessert! This joint makes the best Key Lime pie in the world!!! I love Key Lime Pie. I am not much of a dessert eater, but this couldn't be missed. It was a fantastic evening. Thanks M&D for dinner!

Once home we played A's movie. D made this awesome video from our first trip. It has photos and videos all set to music. I can't tell you how many times I have watched it. Last night it was extra special.

So the day wasn't as huge as it could have been, but we got to spend the day together. With us that is all that counts really.

I have so many more posts running around in my head, but I will hold off for now. Like D said, "hold on A, momma and daddy are coming!"

*For the story of Never Freeze Ink Click here

**2 Expensive 4 U is the secret name of Babies R Us as dubbed by Lauri
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The Day We've Been Waiting For
Yes, that is right. We received word from our agency today that they have been notified by the MoE that they have been reaccredited to work in Russia! We can hardly believe it. After all this time it seems surreal to us. Our agency will have their certificate 'in hand' on March 6th. We are SO excited that I can hardly put it into words. It has been a long 8 months to wait but now things are finally moving forward. We want to thank everyone for their kind words, thoughts and prayers. We could never had made it through this without you. Keep those prayers coming for a quick turn around on our release letter. Here is hoping that we can get A home around Easter. We'll update the blog as we get more information about release letters and travel dates for our medical trip. We're really bouncing off the walls at this point and going out tonight to celebrate this amazing news! Hang in there A, momma and daddy are coming soon!
Things have been moving forward in the adoption world, but not for us. I first want to preface all of this by saying that I am truly happy for all of those who have received good news in the past few weeks. You have all been my friends and support through this wait and for that I will be forever grateful. To let the remaining readers in on the good news outside of our house here it is.

Gaye and Andrew received their official referral this week. They will be traveling March 11th to meet Roman, an 11 month old little boy in Kalingrad Russia. They have waited since August for their referral, so this was a long time coming. Go on over to their site and send them a big congratulations!

Lauri and John got word today of a March 14th court date. They had expected to wait at least 4 weeks for a court date. This was very fast! Lauri will have her dream come true of her daughter in her arms by St. Patrick's Day. Please congratulate them too.

In our little world there is no news. And please trust me when I tell you that when we do have news you will know. You will be able to hear me on every corner of this earth. Mary-Mia summed it up the best. The best thing you can do for us is to not ask. We know this is difficult. We know that you ask because you care, but at this point we don't have the emotional strength to talk about it right now.

What we would really like are comments like, "I am sorry you are having to go through this." or "I am not going to ask, just know that my prayers are with you everyday." Follow this up by a hug. Of course if you do this please expect a very long hug and a very wet shoulder. (at least from me)

Despite my overwhelming joy for those who did receive good news I can't help but feel raging jealousy. Both D and I are having a bout with the "it's not fair" right now. How can you pray and pray and pray for a child just to have your prayers go unanswered? How can you watch it be so easy for those around you.

Just for the record this is what we have encountered in the past 12 months.

Fertile family member #1 brings home an adopted baby girl to add more estrogen to her house.
Fertile friend #1 gave birth to a healthy, but premature baby girl.
Fertile friend #2 gave birth to a healthy and adorable baby boy
Fertile friend #3 gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Infertile friend #1 brought home a domestically adopted baby after starting the adoption process after us.
Infertile friend #2 receives a referral for an adorable baby girl.
Fertile friend #4 becomes pregnant with child #2 before child #1 is 1 year old.
Fertile family member #2 gives birth to a healthy baby boy.
Infertile friend #3 receives a referral for a wonderful baby boy.
Infertile friend #2 receives a court date to bring home the adorable little girl.

That's a lot of babies huh? I am happy for every single one of those mothers. I have dutifully gone out and purchased a gift or made something for nearly every one of them. My heart is warmed knowing that all of these children have mothers who I respect with every fiber of my being. But at the same time I am jealous. and I believe I have the right to be jealous.

I have watched the excitement mount around these women. I have heard people ohh and ahh over round swollen bellies. I remember the excitement that surrounded us when we got the referral for Alexander. The tears that were shed. The butterflies in our stomachs as we prepared to fly 1/2 way around the world to meet him. And I watched that excitement fade. It became like this gray stain. Something that lingers over us. Long gone are the days of the baby blue bibs and the rattles. Quickly approaching are the days of matchbox cars and a crib that will be obsolete. A crib that has never been slept in.

I remember every holiday last year. I remember saying, "next year we will be able to buy him is first little Easter outfit." Easter will likely come and go with no A.

Please know that I am not in that deep dark place of a few weeks ago. I am actually happy. I have disconnected myself from the rumor mill. I have spent the majority of my days away from the computer (except for the occasional ECD flare up.) I am being a productive member of society. But underneath it all is this feeling of "it's not fair."

I kindly ask that you don't bring up the adoption. Please don't tell me you understand unless you are right there with me, going through the same thing, or have gone through it before. Just tell me you are sorry or that you are praying for us. And... I can always be comforted with a coffee, an order for a quilt, or the offer to take me to a plant nursery. And as for D, take him out for a beer. He'd like that.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Welcome baby Lucas!
My mom called me today to tell me that my cousin Kate gave birth to her son Lucas. Of course I think Kate had the baby a few weeks ago. It took my mom that long to call. This is not because my mom just never got around to it, she was trying to spare my feelings.

D and I had a conversation about this a few weeks ago. I knew Kate was due at the middle to end of January. I thought it was rather strange that no one had called to tell me. I told D I was a little torn over this one. I wasn't sure if I was irritated that no one called to tell me or if I was happy. The happiness would be from the realization that my family actually acknowledges the fact that I am not in a good place right now. The whole mention of babies, other people having them and me not kinda puts me a little over the edge at this point. My mom really struggled with telling me that Lucas was now part of our family. She didn't want to see me hurt, but at the same time she didn't want me to feel left out of the family.

I am very happy for Kate and Juan! My mom did send me photos (with my permission of course) and he really is a beautiful little boy. There is a photo of him with his daddy and it is just enough to melt your heart. Over 10 pounds too! What a big boy!

So... congrats to the Estrada family on their new addition!! I wish you didn't live so dang far away! Rhode Island is a little far to go just for some baby sniffin'.
Protesting Stupidity
Just wanted to let everyone know about my new ranting blog. L convinced me that I needed to start a blog to protest the stupidity of the world. SO here it is:

Protesting Stupidity

I can't promise how often I will update it. But when something strikes me as totally stupid and needs to be pointed out, I'll do it. Consider it a public service.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Six degrees of Chicken
I am aware that it is Thursday and that many of you are expecting the weekly update. Well I hate to break it to you. This week's update is brought to you by none other than fried chicken.

There is no news.

On with the rest of the post...

I know the last thing you want to hear is more about chicken. But talk about scary coincidence. I read the comments on a lot of people's blogs (don't ask, it's better that way). I followed a profile on a comment on Rhonda's Blog to Liv's blog and from Liv's blog I followed a profile to Twirl's blog*. Upon a little reading I found this post on Twirl's blog. I am not going to link the actual post because it actually mentions the name of NFCPR and since this household is evidently Protesting their stupidity I think it is best that, at Adoption Adventure, they remain nameless**.

where hungry people like to eat

After a long day of house and yard work yesterday, P really wanted NFCPR for dinner. Even though I had specifically shopped for weekend food, I knew he was proud of himself for all that he'd gotten done and I gave him the green light to go get takeout for himself.

After being gone for about 30 minutes he returned empty handed.

"They're out of chicken."


"They're out. of chicken. out."

"How can they be out of chicken?"

"I don't know. They just are."

Yeah, he was a wee bit cranky.

They may or may not have biscuits and mashed potatoes. They're likely out of honey (though if they are, they will give you grape jelly packets if you bitch.) The sad moral of this story is not to count on National Fried Chicken Parts Retailer to actually have chicken to sell. Even though it's in their name.

*Oddly enough I did not find Kevin Bacon in this process.

**The name of NFCPR has been changed to please D
Up on a Soapbox...
Rant, Rant, Rant.

WARNING: This post will get ALL of you worked up.

There are few things in this world that get me worked up to the point of furious. Yes, I tend to be a little imaginative in my description of the world as I see it and yes, I do happen to get in a twitter over things of little significance to others. However, I just can't hold this in anymore.

There seems to be this whole underworld of people who are actually anti-adoption. They claim that adoption should be the last resort a mother should take. They say that children are wrongfully taken from their "true mothers." Agencies supposedly coerce young women into giving up their children. Some even go so far as to say the agencies only do this for profit.

Can you believe this?! People also think that those who are unable to produce biological offspring are truly not meant to be parents!! They believe that an adoptive parent is unable to provide the same nurturing environment that a "true mother" can. And they use that term, "true mother."

Are these the same people who think that a woman with no money and no job, living on welfare should actually parent a child. A young teenage girl who accidentally gets pregnant and has her whole life ahead of her should drop out of high school to raise a child? The young college pre-law student who gets raped at a party and ends up pregnant should throw her dreams out the window?

What about these children? The woman who is a crack whore and gets pregnant everytime she turns around. She has lost count of how many babies she has. She can't afford to feed them because all her money goes to drugs. You think this woman should keep her baby? Or in the one smart moment this woman has she decides to give her child up for adoption and give this child a chance at a life instead of repeating what he sees his mother do.

Upon further reading these anti-adoption persons seem to be women who had in fact given up a child for adoption. My heart breaks for them. I can't believe they feel so bitter as to promote gross generalizations about the adoption world.

Without adoption I would not have my mom. The woman who raised me, who cared for me, who kissed my boo-boos and who would give her life for me. Without adoption my cousin would not have her little girl. And mostly without adoption I would not have Alexander.

My mom endured labor of the heart. The fear that some lady had control over her and could come take her little girl at any moment. My mother was set to run. I love her for that. I couldn't be more grateful for that. My mom will never give up on me and I will never give up on my mom.

I love the woman who carried me. I won't call her my mom, my bio-mom, my birth mom or any other term as such. This woman loved me so much to know that she couldn't provide the life that I deserved. So she gave me up. I will forever be grateful for the girl that carried A. She knew she too could not provide this little boy with a life he deserved. She will always hold a place of honor in my heart.

So BAH on all of the anti-adoption freaks out there. I am sorry you are so bitter.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
More on Chicken
or is it moron chicken? I'll go with the latter.

I never in a million years would have thought that our blog would digress to such poor writing as to speak of chicken. If I had a way to upload video I would give you the video our JR high kids took from the Halloween party. I am not kidding when I tell you there is 5 minutes of one of the girls eating none other than... chicken.

Saturday D and I were driving to one of our favorite local burger joints for lunch. On the way there was a group of young people (let's call them hippies) protesting the aforementioned NFCPR. Now I know that this particular chain has irritated me in the past, but it is not enough to actually protest. Upon closer inspection the signs the hippies were toting displayed graphic cartoons of chickens being killed. One of the female hippies held a sign stating "Go Vegan." They were actually protesting because NFCPR sold meat! I would have loved to stop and ask them their source stating that NFCPR was in fact cruel to their chickens.

So this morning D and I were having a conversation about NFCPR. We have determined that, addictive ingredient or not, I can never again have chicken from this place. D informed me that he is not protesting them because they are cruel to chicken, he is protesting them because they are stupid.

D is now on a campaign against stupidity. He finds that it will be impossible to rid the world of the stupidity, he is just going to point it out. I told him he just needed to start his own blog that consists of all of his rants about stupidity. Even if people don't read it, I would. His stories are hilarious and I need a pick me up on occasion.
Monday, February 13, 2006
How do you run out of chicken?
Two Sundays per month, L and I are in charge of High School youth group at the church. Since we start at 6:30pm we provide dinner for the kids. So as we are driving around Seattle yesterday, we begin the discussion that we have every time we have youth group... "So" I say, "What are we going to feed the kids tonight?" L says, "I don't know... chicken?" The discussion then moves on to where to acquire said chicken (fried in this case). The choices come down to local mega-mart or national fried chicken parts retailer (NFCPR). We don't come to any particular decision until driving to get said chicken. As we're passing the local mega-mart, L says "I thought you were going there?" But, no, I decided to go to NFCPR.

Now mind you that they are in the middle of renovating the local outlet of NFCPR, so when we pull up the whole building is covered in plastic wrap and has scaffolding all over the place. But it's fine, so we head on in. The discussion ensues about how much chicken we need to satisfy 8-12 hungry teenagers. We decide on the 20 piece with all the fixins. So we head up to the counter to place our order... "We would like a 20 piece meal deal, please." Now you would think that as the words came out of my mouth that I simultaneously grew a second head by the look I got from the order taking monkey (OTM). Evidently right before we got there, word had spread that there might be a chicken shortage and there was a run on fried chicken (or something). Yes, that's right, they were OUT OF CHICKEN! How do you run out of chicken? You only sell ONE product! CHICKEN! I mean it's in the name of the restaurant! And the OTM looked so put-out that we would have the audacity to come into NFCPR and order such a large amount of chicken. I wanted to say "I'm sorry for ordering so much of the product that your chain exists to sell." And of course by this time we were going to be late so there was no time to leave and go somewhere else. So we had to wait a good 10-15 minutes while they made more of just about everything. Chicken, biscuits, gravy... You name it, they were out. I guess that what you get when you hire people who don't think past their next company allotted smoke break.

To add insult to injury, when we finally got to the church and I started unpacking our fried chicken feast... they shorted us one order of mashed potatoes!

I hate you NFCPR.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Phone company wars
I have an arch rival. Major phone company (#1 & #2)

A few years ago D decided to sign up for some fancy new package plan that MPC #1 was offering. You know, one of those deals that if you sign up you can get 3 months of 1/2 price DSL. About 6 months after signing up we get a phone message from the MPC #1 saying to call them because they don't want to lose us as a customer. Not knowing exactly what they were talking about I called back. They claim that D called to cancel our phone and DSL. I actually can't remember why D did call the phone company, but it was not to cancel our service. I explained to them that we did not want to cancel. In the process of this little phone conversation the monkey at the phone company then tried to tell me that we hadn't paid our DSL bill in over 6 months. Now the DSL charges come on the phone bill so if I paid the phone bill I obviously would have paid the DSL. I looked through my statements and sure enough MPC #1 had not charged me for DSL in 6 months. I called MPC #1 back and showed them their error. I said that I would appreciate it if they would start charging me and please do not turn off my internet. The monkey assured me that our internet would not be turned off.

A few days later I tried to get onto the internet to do none other than buy hockey tickets. Lo and behold... my internet did not work. Shocking! I snatched up the phone and dialed MPC #1. I got monkey #2. I explained the situation and he assured me that there was no mistake and that we had not paid our DSL bill. Can you feel the rage building? Not only was this monkey telling me I was wrong, he was standing in my way of hockey tickets! I asked to speak to his supervisor. I was put on perma-hold. Of course to make matters worse I had phoned MPC #1 from my home phone, but had to leave to pick D and his dad up from the airport. I was so close to speaking with Middle Management Monkey #1, but I had to hang up and go.

MPC #1 was so adamant that I was wrong the never turned my DSL back on. D ended up switching our service to another provider. I wrote a nasty letter to MPC #1, copied the BBB, but never received a reply. To this day they are on my *hit list.

Fast forward about a year. My shear hate for MPC #1 grew to the point of disgust. I made the executive decision one day to switch to MPC #2. These people were fantastic. So polite on the phone. I loved them. I went as far as to recommend them to people. This proved to be a bad move. The in-laws signed up with MPC #2 also. I can't remember what happened, but they did something to piss my FIL off. And that doesn't happen very often. D definitely gets his calmness from his dad.

When D and I bought our house I went through the usual motions of switching the power, gas and phone. I called MPC #2 and stated my desire to move my service to my new residence. They informed me that it would take 6 weeks to move our service. 6 WEEKS?! How hard is it to push a few buttons and move the service. They informed me that I could get service with them faster if I cancelled my existing service, signed up with MPC #1 and then switched that service to MPC #2. Sound complicated? It was.

The first day we lived in our new home I called up MPC #2 to have my service switched back to them. They said no problem and did the deed. A month later I got a bill in the mail from MPC #2. Being the studious bill payer I can be on occasion I wrote my little check and mailed off the bill. Being the uber flake that I am, it didn't occur to me that something was amiss when another bill arrived 2 weeks later. Again, I wrote a check. Now I said I was a flake, not stupid. So when the 3rd bill arrived in a matter of a month I knew something was up. Sure enough the account numbers on bill #1 and bill #2 did not match. Bill #2 had the account number from our old phone.

I picked up the telephone and called MPC #2. I explained their mistake and they had the audacity to also tell me I was wrong. Lucky for them they were not standing between me and a hockey game. They claimed I never cancelled the old phone. I informed them of their mistake and asked to be given a credit for this bill and please cancel this account. MPC #2 monkey assured me it would be taken care of.

The next month arrives and along with it 2 bills from MPC #2. I go through the process of calling them, telling them their mistake and asking for the credit. They oblige.

The next month arrives, so does another bill. 3 months people... 3 months. I have called them, they have given me the credit, but they are really starting to annoy me.

When it happens for the 4th month... what happens? Does L turn into a raving lunatic? (the L of today would have reached through the phone and ripped off the ear of the jack ass on the other end) The L of then calmly called up MPC #2 and explained their error like they were a feakin' 2 year old! Apparently this is what it took. After that I only received one bill and better yet the next month... I got a $72 credit that they sent me in error.

Now the honest person would have sent the check back with a note stating that they sent this in error. But would I? Noooooo. I cashed that baby!

Oddly enough I remained a customer of MPC #2 for another 2 years. I didn't really have anywhere else to go. Until the holy grail of the communication system came along. Voice over IP. Why didn't I just use our cell phones and cancel our home phone all together you ask? I hate the cell phone company just as much as MPC #1 & #2.

Voice over IP is the best thing since... well since hockey. It took a while to get set up, but once we had it, golden my friends, golden. The only drawback is our phone is dependent on the internet. If we have an internet outage, we have no phone. Of course we do have cell phones and so it doesn't matter as much.

There you have it. The reason I hate Major Phone Companies so much.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Happy Dancing around the house!
Again... No, we did not get the piece of paper. I find it strange that I have to preface good news for me with "It is not THE news." Funny.

WE ARE GETTING TIVO!!! Yes we live in the stone age. We do not yet have Tivo, but come Monday we will be cool like that. Of course technically it is just a DVR and not real Tivo brand Tivo, but I don't freakin' care!

I think I am the only citizen of this country who actually likes the winter Olympics. Why do I like the winter games? Ye have no clue do you. If you don't know you haven't been paying attention very well. I will spell it out for you H-O-C-K-E-Y. Olympic hockey rocks. I get to watch all of my favorite players play for their own countries, on bigger ice, with better rules. Something this good only comes around every, say... 4 YEARS. The women start today, but the men start on Wednesday. So come Wednesday, normally I would be glued to my television. But now... I have TIVO!! I can record the entire tournament and replay things like the nasty crosscheck Jager didn't get called for in Salt Lake. Ohhh, life is good.

So you want to know the real reason for the Tivo? Tuesday nights we have handbell choir. Tuesday night television is host to Commander and Chief and The Amazing Race at the same time. Of course both on when we are not home. We only have 1 VCR. Can't record both! Hence the Tivo.

TV doesn't dictate our lives... not at all.

Secretly I like curling too, but shhh, don't tell anyone!
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Weekly Update
This week's update brought to you by Elle Wear. Show your support for the Peruvian Burros today!

Well... there really isn't any news. I will pull the Rumsfeld card again and say, "we don't know when, we don't know how, but the Russians will reaccredit our agency."
I don't really want to play into the hands of the rumor mill these days. There is no real definition of spring. We don't know it if will be in spring or before spring. So really... we just don't know.

That is the gist of it.

So go buy your Peruvian Burro T-shirt today!! Show your support and get a lot of weird looks in the process. We will start adding a few more funnies to the line, but for now Burros for everyone!

Only 1 more box of chocolates before Valentines! We will do another batch for Easter and maybe some carmels too. I could sit down and eat a whole pan of those!!! For those who did order chocolates, I will be sending them Priority mail tomorrow morning. They should arrive on your doorstep in time for you Valentine's sweethearts. Thanks everyone for your support.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
What does it mean?
The JCICS issued this statement yesterday:

The Russian Ministry of Education has issued reaccreditation certificates to four agencies in the US. Two of these agencies are JCICS member agencies and are listed at the bottom of this page. The Ministry has also informed the US Embassy in Moscow that there are a number of additional agencies under consideration to be reaccredited in the Spring of 2006.

Of course we are all trying to figure out exactly what the statement means. Are they talking about the agencies whose accreditation expires this spring or has the MOE stopped pulling names out of the Asshat? Or is the MOE going to allow new agencies to be accredited. I know of at least one agency that is considering reapplying for Russian adoptions after taking a very long hiatus.

I did take the time to email our coordinator to find out what her take on the whole thing is. I haven't heard back yet, but seeing as it is raining I will be sitting on top of the computer all day.

My other task of the day is to box up the chocolates! They are officially finished!!! We ended up with around 24 dozen. That is a whole lot of truffles. We have sold 18 boxes so far. 6 more to go! If you want a box please go HERE and order one before they are all gone. I am here to tell you they are delicious. Trust me. I have licked my fingers (then washed my hands) more than my fair share in the past 5 days.

I want to say a gigantic thank you to all of you who purchase chocolates. Funny thing is that it has been other pre-adoptive parents that have done the buying. We are all supposed to be poor! We both appreciate your support more than you know.

I am still working on the "Free the Peruvian Burros" T-shirts. I hope to have those available by the end of this week.


I did get an email from our facilitator that was a long winded way of saying she doesn't know. She has no clue on what the MoE means by spring. She is being optimistic that they will continue to pull names out of the asshat. Although Olga isn't privy to us actually calling it the asshat.

We are trying to remain positive throughout this process. I have to say this is nearly the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Of course no one ever said having kids was easy.

We are taking a few measures to try to regain what is left of our sanity. D is checking out of all the message boards. In other words he is not going to read them anymore. I think I might be right behind him. The rumor mill and boo hoo woe is me crap is grating on my last nerve.

I also feel that I am no longer emotionally equipped to answer the, "so have you heard any news question." I am very aware that people ask only because they care, but there are only so many times in a day that I can say I don't know before I completely lose it. This is not for my protection, but for yours. If I get one more person that makes some stupid comment or offers their assvice about how to get through this I will "shove sausages down their throat and hungry dogs up their butt." You want to know why I don't want to answer this question anymore? Read this post and you will know.

In the mean time, please continue to pray that this will all be resolved and quickly. This reaccreditation thing effects more people than you may realize. We appreciate all of your support. We know we are stronger people for going through this, but sometimes the strong need to be held up too.
Monday, February 06, 2006
A plea
This is a plea to those of you who read our blog and who have adopted from Ukraine. On Friday Feb. 3rd the JCICS issued a press release stating that the Ukrainian government will likely suspend all adoptions by American citizens until ALL post placement reports have been completed. There are nearly 900 post placement reports that have not been completed by adoptive parents since 1996.
When you adopted your child from Ukraine you made a commitment to furnish these reports to the Ukrainian government. The actions of these families is having repercussions on waiting families. Think back to the time when you were waiting. Remember the stress and anguish? That is what is happening to families now.
Children deserve loving homes. There are families waiting right now to take these children home. If you or someone you know has not filed their post placement reports please take a moment to do so. This goes for any of you who have adopted from any other country. It does not take that much time. Please.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
For Sale
1 Fat Gray Cat

This cat is great! She will claw your suede shoes and puke on any rug in your house. She will sleep on your legs and pin you in the bed. She has the knack of finding the hiding place of the clean towels and proceeds to sleep on them. She will clean your kitchen floor of any remaining food debris. And best of all she will ruin your beautiful hardwood floors! Yes, I am taking bids for the fat kitty.

I went to grab something off the kitchen table this morning and felt something strange with my foot. At closer inspection I realized that my beautiful hardwoods are puckered by one of the dining room chairs. This just happens to be the spot where D and I frantically cleaned up a water spill a few days earlier. You see... the fat kitty had gotten onto the table and knocked over the vase that had flowers in it. She of course did this while we were gone and Lord only knows how long that water sat on the floor. Evidently it was long enough for it to soak into the wood! Now I have a big spot of raised wood and I am just heartbroken.

My floors are the pride and joy of my home. I like my garden, but I LOVE my floors. They are the most beautiful red oak you have ever seen. They are done with the short boards, not the long ones. My uncle won't even install the short ones. They are original to the house and we found them under the most god awful blue carpet. My uncles came and refinished them. With one swipe of the sander I knew I had struck gold! Ever since then I have been so careful with my floors. I clean them regularly and even say nice things to them. When I felt the destruction this cat had done to them I literally sat down and cried.

Now if I get any comment from anyone who says "oh, this is just preparing you for when the boy comes..." I will slap you two ways from Saturday!!!! The boy can be supervised. The cat cannot. I have the control to clean up after the boy when he spills his juice on the floor. When the cat knocks over a vase when we are out at the grocery, well I can't do anything about it.

So... I am taking bids. Anyone want a fat gray cat? She'll eat more than her fair share of cat food and sit on your lap and purr.

Actually I can't sell the cat. She is just too damn cute. Besides, anyone who buys her would just bring her back after a few days anyway. She's just that special!
Friday, February 03, 2006
Weekly update
First I want to thank all of our bloggy friends for you wonderful words of encouragement. The comments and emails I received made the light a little brighter.
For the record I am still in a bit of a funk. The good news is that I do actually shower everyday and manage to get at least one productive thing done. Today's big outing is ice skating with our Jr. High kids from church. They are a great bunch of kids and of course anytime I get to lace up my skates I have to smile. I am looking forward to it.

This week's update is brought to you by my raging hate for

MultiCity is the company that AIA uses to facilitate our Thursday night chat group. It is an application built in to the AIA web site. Promptly at 6:00 last night we tried to log on to the chat and got a message indicating that MultiCity has some kind of new tool box and the chat won't work. At 6:01 my phone rings. It is Kathleen. Also in a panic. She frantically emails Olga to find out what is going on. Olga has no clue and is very miffed "that they would do this to a paying customer." So no hosted AIA chat. We scramble about to try and find another meeting place. So we hijack an chat room and try to get the rest of the group there. We ended up with 4 or 5 families there. Unfortunately by this time it is about 6:40. Kathleen had already gotten an email from Olga that there was in fact no new news.
The going theory is that the Russian government or MOE has now moved to a "pull a name out of a hat" system. Evidently our agencies name wasn't picked yet.

As always I have some type of side note. Derek and I (ok more me than D) have decided to make handmade truffles for Valentines Day. This is our attempt at yet another fundraiser. It has been since August that we have attempted one. So if you go to my Urban Landscapes site you will see all the wonderful stuff we are selling. You can check out the Valentine's site or the Other Items site. The best part is I figured out how to set up a PayPal shopping cart so you can now buy with a credit card or debit card! Go check it out. Tell your friends and family! The chocolates are yummy!!

We know that our friends and family have given so much to help us already. There are no words really to describe how grateful we truly are for your help. However, the third trip has caught us off guard and greatly influenced our budget. We are using trying some creative approaches to earning the money we need.

Also... look for "Free the Peruvian Burros" t-shirts coming soon!