Saturday, November 7, 2009


I realize I haven't updated this blog since February--wow.  I decided until I actually have news about my daughter to post only to my son's blog.  You can find us here, and yes, I do update it regularly with reflections on parenthood, lots of photos, and the emotions of being a new and single parent. 

Hope I see you soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two years

It was two years ago today that my dossier for my daughter in China was finally logged in.  I remember the anxiety of the whole process--my 1600A paperwork had been misplaced and it was taking them a while to process my file.  In some ways it was very similar to the wait for referral for my son and I guess waiting for my daughter prepared me for the grueling wait for his official referral. 

I remember the anxiety of each day checking the mailbox until one day  something came over me and instead of feeling defeated by the wait, I began to plan everything that needed to happen.  I still had to visit the state capitol for the oh-so-precious state notarizations and because I couldn't leave anything to chance I decided to make the trek to Chicago to have the Chinese consulate authenticate and stamp everything.  My friend Sherry was in on my plan and without 171H in hand we booked a hotel in Chicago and planned time off work. 

And like I felt it would happen, on January 24th it arrived.  Sherry and I took off at noon the next day and we shared an incredible little adventure that didn't end until Saturday evening when we drove down to my agency and personally delivered it on January 27th.  

On February 2nd my dossier was en route to China and on February 12th I officially lined up between 44, 532 other people (ok, that's just a number I made up, but it sounds about right).

Since my son has come home people have assumed that I dropped the quest for my daughter.  Nothing could be further from my mind.  She was the one that began all of this and if not for her I would not have EVER attempted to bring home Spud. 

She is still with me.  In my heart, in my mind, and especially in my dreams.  The dreams of her never ended and actually intensified after my referral for the Spud.   Before I traveled I dreamed that once I got to Vietnam they tried to give me a 12 year-old girl and at first I didn't want her.  I wanted my son!  I kept trying to find a family for her and the entire time I searched for someone for her I found myself falling even more inexplicably in love with her.  The last thing I remember is of the four of us--me on bottom, her, Spud and Siva the Cat all piled into a big recliner sleeping.

Yesterday morning another dream.  The more recent dreams have been different--older than I thought or with a special need (I am not on the waiting child list because I think I have my hands full for now).  This child, definitely one after my own heart for so many reasons, was still there.   

In the dream my China agency had sent me a little gift for Spud with a note attached:

We have a referral, and we think she would be best with you.  VSD repair with murmur.  Born July 29, 2006. China is willing to waive the 12 month wait period between children or they will keep her for you until you are ready.

I am sure the dream has something to do with with feeling the 2 year mark creeping up on me, but after two years of waiting it is good to still have those moments when I feel close to her.  Like she is still real even if she is only real to me.

Today I have to reflect on every thing that has occurred in the last two years.   While my son has been a part of my heart as long as my daughter has, I never imagined that things would work out like this.  As I write this I am looking down on his smiling face and marveling at it all again.  Every little thing, every precious little second was perfectly measured so that we would be a family.  It never ceases to amaze me that if I had waited one more day to make that decision, if CIS had been delayed by yet another day he wouldn't have been my son.  Same goes if things had gone sooner--I might have been matched to another child. 

So as I light a candle tonight and think of my daughter, I thank God that He put me on this path and that my daughter lead me right to my son.  I think he will be a wonderful big brother some day. 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

More NBC

I received a surprising call this evening from Becky at 6:20 PM reporting that our story was being re-run in a different format.  When I asked why I was told NBC was hoping to reach a different population than the Today Show because they received such  positive feedback from the first show.

Months and months ago I mentioned to Becky how much I wanted to encourage others to adopt and to help other families through the process.  Financially I can not help at this time (I haven’t had a paycheck since December—yikes!), but what I can do is educate every person that has an interest.

Last week I opened a facebook account for my son.  Since then I have received a number of questions from others about the process, how did I do it as a single, and other more specific questions pertaining to adoption.  It is a small thing, but I am so happy to help others who were in the same boat as I was.  As a single person, adoption can be overwhelming.  It’s not just jumping through the hoops.  It’s the waiting, the unknown, and not always having a strong support system knowledgeable about adoption.  People that haven’t adopted, haven’t waited and wondered if it would ever happen or worked against an impossible deadline can never understand what it is like.  For singles I think it is doubly difficult (not that it isn’t hard for couples) because we don’t have that partner that can share the emotional burden. 

I am glad that the original show touched people and I do hope more people will look into adoption.  So many children need families and until I met my son I had NO idea how incredible being a parent could be. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

When is enough, enough?

I am going to break away from the usual love-fest that my blogs have become since my son has arrived and look at something that has me shaking my head, wincing, and wondering where it all went wrong.

Last week Nadya Suleman gave birth to 8 surprisingly healthy babies.  I say surprisingly because it is a miracle all of them survived the pregnancy, but there is no way that they will leave the hospital without some sort of impairment as a result of being so premature.  Many multiples suffer from CP, blindness, respiratory problems, etc.  as a result of competing for adequate nutrition and oxygenation in the womb and being delivered early.  It is very taxing to provide the necessary care for these children and I imagine that the first couple of years are the most difficult.

It is being reported that Nadya is angling to sell her story for $2 million and wants diaper sponsorship and wants to start a career as a TV child care expert.  While I would normally be very hesitant to comment on any person’s choice to build a family, I feel her doctors should be held responsible in making some incredibly poor decisions.  I am a single mom and I love my son, but he keeps me very busy.  Nadya is a single, unemployed mom to 14 children under the age of 7, living in a 3 bedroom house with her parents (her mother has publicly come out and said her daughter is crazy and she is moving out). 

Who is going to be taking care of these children?  The better question is, who is going to be paying for these children?  Currently the state of California is paying for the care of her previous 6 children.  Since this story has come out the media love has cooled for Nadya.  If she can’t secure some sort of TV sponsorship and sell her story, will California pick up the  exorbitant cost of these special needs kids?  Personally, I think the physicians should have some fiscal responsibility. 

Obviously it sounds like Nadya has a few screws loose.  The real icing on the cake is that she is in school right now studying to be a mental health counselor.  No offense to my mother and others in her profession, but I think even they are aware that those that need the most help are often drawn to counseling.  Usually schools are pretty good about recognizing these people and weeding them out.

However, I could be wrong.  Perhaps Nadya will make a wonderful mother who will be able to bump Jon & Kate + 8 off TLC.  Maybe she will receive enough endorsements to care for her children adequately and will be able to hire the necessary help to raise these kids.  Maybe Ty Pennington and his building crew will build her a 15 bedroom home so they have room to grow.  Maybe one of the schools there will waive tuition so her children can go to college some day.  Maybe everything will work out and she will prove us all wrong.  I certainly hope so for everyone’s sake.

Either way, I know one thing for sure.  If Jon & Kate + 8 gives me nightmares, there is NO way I will ever watch Nadya + 14. 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Today Show

Because I have been so private about a lot of things in my life (believe me, it’s not limited to just the adoption) I have struggled with what is safe to put out there about me, but especially more now that the Spud has come into my life. 

After much thought and consideration (and pleading from some people) I have decided to let you in another something in my life.  My life and my son’s life are no longer so private. 

Today Show--Cost of Adoption Segment

I looked at the greater good which is why I agreed to allow them to be a part of my son’s adoption story.  I know that there a lot of people out there who want to adopt.  When people have learned that I am adopting/have adopted I often hear “oh, I always wanted to do that, but it is too expensive”.   It is expensive and it is difficult and it definitely heartbreaking somewhere along the way, but if we continue to follow that path, at the end there is usually a child that brings us unspeakable joy. 

As a single woman, like so many of you reading this blog, things are not stacked in our favor.  It is often more difficult to find an agency that will work with us.  Since we are one income household it is difficult to find the money.  I am not rich.  I spend $200 per year on clothes/shoes/purses/accessories/etc.  I don’t buy Starbucks unless it is bought for me.  I don’t have cable TV and until I took a job that required a high speed internet connection I lived with dial-up.  I don’t often eat out just as I don’t eat the sushi that I love unless it is a special occasion.  As a single it is much more difficult to find organizations that give adoption grants or low/no interest loans.  Believe me, I have looked.  Most require a check box in the married box on the form and others also require families to follow a particular faith.

I feel very blessed that I stumbled across and they were able to provide a handsome sized grant.  Becky was certainly an answer to prayer.  I remember stumbling across their website and seeing that the packet had to be in in only a few days or I wouldn’t meet the deadline.  I remember writing the essay—pouring out everything that was on my heart, just in case.  When I took the envelope off to the post office I had to pay a pretty penny to ship it overnight.  I kissed the envelope goodbye and said a prayer expecting nothing. 

Not only did I receive a grant, I got to be a part of something greater.  I got to be a part of Becky’s dream to assist those of wanting to start a family—regardless of marital status, race, sexuality, religion, etc. 

So, for any of you reading this I hope you will consider giving money to and assisting this dream that will allow MORE families to adopt.  And for those of you, like me, who had a dream but had difficulty finding the funds, please contact

Vietnam and Duc 144

My beautiful son.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ringing in the New Year with my new man

I told you there was a reason you hadn't heard much from me over the last few months and here is the reason:IMG_1317

I have kept a lot of things quiet because even I didn't completely understand things.  When I started the process for MayLing over two years ago, I knew at that time that a son from Vietnam would be part of the package.  I just didn't know when or how.  My reasoning brain just assumed that it would several years after I got my daughter home.  But my heart couldn't let it go and the image of this baby boy that God had placed in my heart grew with each passing day.  With the exception of Kristen--no one knew.  When I chose my daughter's name, I also chose my son's.  When I picked and bought the paint for MayLing's room, I did the same for his.  When Kristen and I went shopping for our future daughters, I wandered across the aisle and bought from the boy's side as well. 

It was a tough year as I waited and wondered what to do.  On November 4, 2007 Kristen called to tell me that the CCAA had just released some changes to their policies--concurrent adoptions and pregnancies were now allowed.  It was the sign I needed.  Many months before I had picked the agency I wanted to work with so that very same night I emailed the coordinator from that agency and told him I was ready to begin.  And begin we did.

I could never have imagined the horrific emotional highs and lows that would follow--something that I had never experienced during the process with my daughter.  After months of CIS losing my paperwork and other government screw-ups along the way, I finally had a completed dossier to submit.  The day before I was to submit it and pay a substantial portion of my adoption fees a news release was printed that the US and VN were not renegotiating the MOU they had operated under for the previous two years.  There would be no more referrals after September 1st.

For the next 4 months I sat and wondered, prayed, and tried to find peace in what seemed like impossible odds.  So many families were waiting--some for several years--how could I possible receive a referral?

But in my bones I knew he lived and breathed and even from the other side of world I could feel the weight of him against my chest.  I knew the date of his birth and location of birth long before I ever heard of a referral.  All along the way I could feel these momentous things occurring somewhere beyond our grasp.  It was interesting to receive all his info last week and be able to confirm all these thoughts and feelings along the way.  I knew the date of our match long before I was ever told--his paperwork confirms it.  So many other things that before I could only feel and assume were important--well, they were.  

On September 1st I received an email with this simple message:

You're in.

Your boy is permanently matched to you.

No kidding.

Have a great holiday.

We'll talk during the week, I don't have a clue yet when we'll get the photos, etc.

I waited another two days before I saw his face and then waited nearly four more months before I finally had the chance to hold him.

He is mine and I am his.  Together we rang in the New Year just hours after stepping off an airplane together. 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cat & Mouse

This is how proud I am of my cat, I actually took the time to open a YouTube account and waited and waited while the videos loaded.  Here she is after the kill--there is no blood and it looks like she is playing with a toy but please DO NOT SHOW TO LITTLE CHILDREN.  Ok, I feel better now. 

and more video just cuz I am so proud!

The first video is the better one, but she gets a really good mouse toss in with the first 20-30 seconds of the second video.  The first video was with my camera and the second was with my camcorder...definitely a difference, but not the one I was expecting!  In the first video I had cornered her after she tried to take it to my bedroom...uh huh...not the kind of 'bedroom surprise' I was hoping for!  Because she has never shown any interest in killing mice I was a little concerned that it was just stunned so I did touch it just to make sure.  And, yes, I did gag a little bit while she kept chewing at it and thumping it against the wall.  Ugh.

Ok, the 'bare hands' story is as follows...I bought and moved into my very first house two and a half years ago.  It is an older house and had sat vacant for years.  A few nights after I moved in I am sitting on the couch watching TV when I notice the cat.  She was pawing at the wall, again.  To prove to her that nothing was wrong I picked her up, opened the electrical box/utility box on the wall and out scurried a mouse!  I was so not ready for that!  I dropped the cat over the mouse and yelled, "Get it, Siva!".  The poor little mouse was a bit stunned and wasn't moving terribly fast, but the cat sniffed and walked away.  Because I have a loooong and somewhat unfortunate history with mice I was not about to let it run away and procreate.  I didn't have a shoe or slipper (and trust me, I would have pounded it into pancakes if I'd had one) so I grabbed this fleece bed that my cat sleeps on, covered the mouse and cupped it to contain it.  Well, when you live alone and you can't yell for someone to grab a jar your choices are limited and a piece of cloth is not going to contain a mouse.  So, I squished it.  It was awful!  I started applying pressure and I swear to you the mouse started squealing and when I started feeling things pop I got too nauseated and let go.  I was too horrified to do anymore and the poor mouse did stagger away.  Without going into any more horrifying details I can confirm that the mouse did die.  Ugh, it was awful!  I was so upset--I called my best friend, but I think he was slightly amused by it.  Even thinking back on it disturbs me.

I actually have another doozy of a mouse/mice story, but I am going to wait until tomorrow.  It's kind of funny and I need to end on a funny note after remembering the details of my kill. 

Oh, the cats name is Siva, but is pronounced like Shiva.  I named her after the Indian deity of destruction.  It just seemed appropriate.