Friday, November 30, 2007

Hope and optimism canceled until further notice

Remember how back in late September our agency told us we'd get a referral on the next list, as long as it was a typical list in terms of the number of kids on it and the ages and special needs it included? Well, it wasn't a typical list. It was more kids than usual, but many with unusual special needs that will be hard to match to families. They have pretty much referred all of the kids with the "typical" special needs, and are left with only those that have unusual needs.

The bottom line? No referral for us on this list. M called the agency today, and that's what they told him. As of now they expect the next list in January (subject to change), and said we should expect a referral on that list (hmmmm...where have I heard that before?). B started to cry when I told him it will be after Christmas before we see a picture of his baby sister. Poor little dude. He's starting to have as much difficulty with this wait as I am.

In the good news category, we found out there are only four families ahead of us now. Other reasons this isn't all bad: it gives us an extra couple of months to save money, and maybe we'll even get our tax refunds before we travel. And spring in China sounds lovely. Also, we're in the midst of re-applying for our daughter's visa, and that's likely to take another 2-3 months. If we HAD gotten a referral on this list, there was a possibility that we'd have to delay our travel while we waited on the visa paperwork to come through. And at least now I can stop jumping every time the phone rings, and won't have to lie awake at night, wondering if tomorrow will be the day they call. It's better to know than to continue this stupid unrequited hope, right?

Aw crap, who am I kidding? This sucks.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pink woman-guwul

Kenai (our dog) recently purchased a toy for Josie (my parents' dog). It's his favorite toy, and he thought Josie should have one. OK, I'm giving too much credit to the dog. B thought Josie should have one because Kenai loves his so much. We gave it to her on Thanksgiving.

This morning, my dad emailed me this:

You should've seen the look on B's face when I showed him -- pure horror. Very funny.

Clearly Josie is one naughty and destructive dog. Kenai outweighs her by about 30 pounds, is still a puppy, and has had his pink woman-girl for at least three months now, and it's still in perfect condition even though he chews on it constantly (and puts it on my lap, trying to get me to throw it for him, which is totally annoying, and when I don't throw it for him, he throws it for himself, which is pretty funny).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Purple thing-a-ma-jiggies

On the way home tonight, B asked me "Why do fing-o-ma-jiggies have three eyes and a big long trunk?" My response: "Uhhhhhhhhh..."

M was more on the ball than me. His answer: "Natural selection."

Makes perfect sense to me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

B-speak that we miss

girlos and bees -- girls and boys
hnow -- snow (and also hnake and hnomato -- we're not sure how to explain that last one)
shlide -- slide
gorilla bar -- granola bar
copaco bird -- tropical bird

I thought of another one!
cept -- because (we don't know exactly why or how, but he said this all the time for a year. "Why don't you like mushrooms? Cept they're yucky.")

The few remaining that we cherish:

six favanue -- sixth avenue
role-model homes -- model homes
speed lemon -- speed limit
blue spluce twees -- blue spruce trees
naked pants -- self-explanatory

Don't get me wrong. The kid has always had freakishly good verbal skills. But he is funny as hell sometimes too. He was talking about fireworks this summer and couldn't remember what they were called. His way of getting it across: "those things that go boom-crash and then they make sparklies in the sky." And last Christmas he couldn't remember Rudolph's name -- he called him "that red-nosed deer guy."

And no, no adoption news to report. Don't you think I would've started with that if I had it?! Excitement and optimism and rapidly giving way to sadness and resignation on that front.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A cat post

That big dumb dog has had a couple of posts of his own, so B & I thought it was time the cats were featured. This is Lulu, modeling the lovely cat hat we bought her today at Target:

If she looks a little disgruntled, well, that's because she is. Permanently. She was such a naughty kitten that I used to give her time-outs -- I'd lock her in the powder room, the only place in the house that was too small for her to freak out. She had no choice but to calm down. We finally got Kitten (we tried lots of names; none stuck) because we hoped it would distract Lulu from needing our constant attention. It totally worked! We're hoping it works with kids too. Just kidding. Kind of.

There won't be any pictures of Kitten anytime soon because she's a scaredy cat and very hard to catch. I doubt she'll ever get to try on the elephant cat hat we got for her.

This is the cat house B & I made today:

And that's pretty much all there is to say about the cats. M would say it was too much already. He pretends like he doesn't like the cats, but I see him petting them when he thinks I'm not looking.

Friday catch-all

First of all, the only thing I know most of you want to know about: we haven't heard from CCAI yet. There are conflicting rumors as to whether they're working today or not, so I'm not expecting a call anytime earlier than next week. I'll keep my cellphone on me just in case though.

I'd like to post a bunch of pictures from Thanksgiving, but somehow I forgot to take any, except this one of the dogs:

Poppy got a bag of treats out of his pocket, and before he even got a word out or got it opened, the dogs heard the crinkle of the plastic & gathered round.

I made this yummy yummy cake for Thanksgiving -- it's got two chocolate layers with pumpkin-cream cheese stuff in the middle. We had pumpkin pie too, of course -- Mom brought that. But here's a picture of my first attempt at the cake:

Martha Freakin' Stewart I ain't. Fortunately I had enough of all the ingredients left that I could make an extra layer, and this one went in chunks into a tupperware, and we've been snacking on it ever since. The cake came out delicious (and very attractive after the do-over), but we ate most of it before I could take a picture. Oops.

Last but not least, the dining room. Almost five years we've lived in this house, and we've never had dining room furniture. We have a very spacious dining room, but it's always just had a bunch of leftovers & junk in it. Well, we finally bought dining room furniture last month. Then I decided I needed to paint the room. It had one red wall, which we'd had in our condo and loved, but it just didn't look right here. The rest of the walls were tan, and they didn't go well with the rest of the house. Plus it seemed dark. So I decided to try a green, and paint over the tan with white. I've had a long & tortured history with green paint, and it continues today. Here's the closest I have to a before picture (I forgot to take one until I was almost done priming over the red):

Here's the first green -- it was just a little too bright, even for me.

And here's the green we currently have -- I think it's a little too minty. You can't really tell it in the picture though.

And here it is almost finished:

I haven't painted the white walls yet (they're just primed in the picture, so they'll be a little less harsh than they look here after they're painted). We have a bamboo shade for the window, and I'll paint something for the big long blank wall that's on the left in the picture. Maybe one big canvas, maybe three that hang side-by-side. But we finally have a dining room! I feel so grown up.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

We're next

I mean it this time. Seriously. Everyone in my Yahoo group who had an MCC before ours has now gotten their referral. Our name is at the top of the list. The last three families that were ahead of us announced their referrals yesterday, including Donna, who I've known online since the very beginning of this process, and Jenn, who I've met in real life.

So now my next question is: Does CCAI ever make referral calls on Saturday??? I'm not sure I'll sleep between now and Monday if they don't.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

At least she won't be naked

We have some friends who have a son that's less than a year older than B, and a daughter who turned 3 over the summer, so will be 1-2 years older than ours. They've always given us their son's hand-me-downs for B, and this fall they gave us a ton of their daughter's outgrown clothes too. They buy great clothes for their kids, and even passed on some girl stuff that still has the tags on it! This is what they sent over:

The green tub on the bottom is all 0-12 months, so a lot of it is likely to be too small for our little girl. That's too bad, because there is a LOT of really cute stuff in there! The next one is all 12-18 months, and the top one is all 18-24 months and 2T. There's more that's come since I took the picture, mostly 2T and 3T.

And not pictured here is the stuff my mom and I have already bought. It would probably add up to one more tub, mostly 2T and 3T.

Like I said, we may not know when she'll get here, but at least we know she will never have to go naked for lack of cute girly clothes!

And if you look down at the very bottom of the photo, that little black blur is Lulu, the evil kitty. Kitten is the sweet one.

For Rebecca

Here are the three choices:

The picture isn't the best, so the top left one has a medium-blue minky dot fleece on one side, and a helicopter print flannel on the other. The one below that has the same medium-blue fleece, with an outer space themed flannel on the other. The third one (not made yet, but it'll only take me an hour to do it) has pale-blue minky dot fleece on one side, and a pale blue alien/outer space theme on the other. B helped choose the fabrics, hence all the space-themed stuff -- there was a third space-themed fabric, but he claimed that blanket & took it to school for naptime.

Just email me your address & tell me which one you want, and I'll get it in the mail to you. If it's the pale blue one, I can't get it to you until after Thanksgiving b/c I'm going to be gone this Friday - Monday. But the other two are ready to go.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's not about me

B & I had a rough weekend. A very rough weekend. We just couldn't get along. My patience was definitely short, but there's something more going on here. He seems to feel he can talk to me in a way he can't with M. For instance, if I tell him no, he'll get right in my face and yell, "YES! Give it to me NOW!" He'll throw in a foot-stomp for good measure, and maybe point right at my face, and he uses such an angry, hostile tone when he says things like that. He'll also deliberately ignore me. He'll even close his eyes, put his hands over his ears, and shake his head no when I try to say something to him. And he's openly defiant way too much of the time. For example, he's been spitting a lot lately (I think it's something the boys at school have all been into...gross boys). I'll tell him not to spit, and he'll smirk at me and spit right in my face. He'll do this a little bit with M too, but not to the extent he does with me.

I spend more one-on-one time with B than M does, simply because I stay home on Fridays and spend the whole day with B. It's fairly rare that M gets an uninterrupted 12-hour stretch alone with B; basically it only happens if I'm traveling for business over a weekend, which I just don't do much. So it's definitely true that I have to say "no" more often than M does, and that I will get more negative reaction from B as a result. But the last three or four weeks, it's just been bad. Really bad. Bad to the point where I don't want to spend a day with B. And I hate that feeling.

So where is it coming from? Does he talk to me in that ugly way because I talk to him that way? God, I hope not. I definitely lose my patience with him, but I try to keep myself calm & just remove him from the scene of the crime (a.k.a. bedroom time for B) rather than shout. Is he upset or stressed about something? The adoption? Grammy's death? And what do I do about it? I'm stumped.

I just don't like it that I seem to spend most of my time with B these days saying no, or putting him in his room. I need to break the cycle and get us back into a positive frame of mind. I think the title of the post is the key -- it's not about me. It isn't so important right now if I get my feelings hurt. It's not B's responsibility to behave in a way that makes me happy. I think I just need to do a better job of keeping my negative thoughts & feelings to myself when we get into this stuff, and try to emphasize the positive things B does instead of just getting mad at the bad things.

This parenting crap is a lot harder than anyone said it was going to be. How in the name of god am I going to survive the teen years?!

Exhibit A (Added at 6:45pm)

We went to soccer tonight. It was the last class, so they had a grownups vs. kids scrimmage. It was pretty entertaining to watch, actually. B didn't try to play at all, which was fine, since he was having fun running around being silly. But then he started sticking his tongue out at all the grownups on the field. I tried to call him over when he ran past me one time, but he put his hands over his ears and shook his head and kept on running. I got up and cornered him, and told him it was disrespectful to stick his tongue out at grownups, and if he continued, we'd go home. What did he do not even two seconds after I said that? Stuck his tongue out at one of the grownups. What did I do? Hauled his sassy little butt out of there. When does this stop? Will he ever start listening, or is he just going to do whatever the hell he wants for the rest of his life, parents' wishes/advice/demands be damned?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The list is here

In their regular Wednesday afternoon update to the website, CCAI announced yesterday that they had received a new list of waiting children. I'm thinking of gluing my cellphone to my body so I can't leave home & forget it. It would be just my luck to miss a late Friday afternoon call and have to wait all weekend to get the details. Or to glue the cellphone to my hip, then not be able to unstick it to get it to my ear when it rings. Note to self: glue the cellphone to the hand, not the hip.

Any day now, we'll be looking at the face of our daughter. Of course, when I say "any day now," I mean anytime between now and January. That's how long it'll likely take them to work their way through the new list. But we are almost certainly in this time around.

Nervous, nervous, very nervous.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Shosho worker

That's B-speak for social worker. She came last night for our homestudy update. She seemed very nice, someone we might have for a friend, in fact. That's a relief, since I was very nervous about losing the first social worker we loved.

The visit was short and no big deal. Basically we just talked about what's changed in our lives since our homestudy was originally written a year and a half ago. Not a whole lot -- we're earning more, M has changed jobs, I lost my grandma.

We're in a bit of a pickle, timing-wise. All the paperwork to renew our I-171H (which includes the homestudy update) has to be received by the USCIS no later than December 19 if we want to avoid paying the fees to renew (and trust me, we do). But we're expecting a referral any time between right now and two or three months from now. Once we get our referral, our social worker will have to do an addendum to our homestudy about the particular child we're adopting, and what we know about her medical condition. It would be a bummer if she wrote the update & turned it in, then we got a referral a week later and she had to write up an addendum and turn that in. It would be much easier (& less expensive -- there's a fee for state approval each time you turn it in) if we could just do the update and addendum all at once. She's going to find out the last possible date she can send it in for approval in order to meet that Dec. 19 deadline. She told us last night that just last week she hand-carried a homestudy to Adoption Alliance for approval then to the USCIS office. That could be our situation in another month.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fall in photos and a Photoshop question

And now for my Photoshop question: anyone know how to get rid of red-eye? Keep in mind that I'm using an ancient version of photoshop -- 6.0, and remember I'm technologically impaired (think: use small words and maybe add some pictures).

Friday, November 2, 2007

My little shoplifter

B's great-grandparents gave him a Halloween card with $5 in it. Today I took him to Target to buy a toy. Everything went fine (except that he kept choosing $30 or $75 toys, and couldn't understand why he couldn't buy them with $5). He found a set of three Marvel comics vehicles & bought them. I put the $1.33 in change in his pocket, and we moved on to Whole Foods.

Once we got there, he ran a little wild (Yeah, I was the mom whose kids drive you crazy at the store. Sorry. Sometimes all I can do is give up the battle to maintain calm & order, and do my shopping as fast as I can so we can get out of there.). We were in the bulk aisle and he kept lagging behind me. There were a lot of people in the aisle, so there were moments when I couldn't actually see him. Well, I couldn't find what I was looking for there, so I went around the corner & headed for the customer service desk. B caught up to me when I was halfway there and said "Mommy, look what I got!" and held up a partially-eaten dried papaya stick. The little thief!!

I marched him up to the customer service desk, handed it to the girl behind the counter, and told her that he had taken it. She said, in her bright, perky customer service voice and with a big smile on her face, "Oh that's ok! It's no big deal! He can have it!" My reply: "Umm, no, I don't think so. He may not keep and eat the stolen papaya." I took a quarter out of the change in his pocket, gave it to him, and told him to pay her for the papaya and tell her he was sorry he took it. She was very confused and didn't know what to say.

He was of course very upset about not getting to finish his papaya stick, so we went back to the bulk aisle and had a little lesson in how you bag & label your purchase. Then he paid for it with his own money. A whopping 12 cents.

I hope the lesson sunk into my little monkey's stubborn mind, even if Customer Service Barbie didn't get it.