Monday, November 30, 2009

Fundraising

I know, I know...it's the holidays. The economy is awful. Unemployment is at an all time high. You've considered hawking your old jewelry after seeing that very convincing commercial. And here I am asking for monetary help! The nerve of some people. Well...you know the saying, when there's a will there's a way. For years I have been campaigning for another child. While my pragmatic husband always concurred that he too would love another, it was never quite the right time financially. And well...while we are in a slightly better position than we've been in the past, we still could use a great deal of help. And I am not shy about asking for it!
Any amount will help to go towards document fees, travel costs, visas, etc. This is for A CHILD. For FAMILY. Our Family! And it goes without saying (but I'm going to say it anyway) that you are helping a child who is in desperate need of a family and a home.
I found this great organization that sells Fair Trade Coffees through another family adopting through Catholic Social Services. The founders were in the coffee business when they adopted from Ethiopia. They started their company to help other families afford adoption, and also help build schools and other humanitarian needs in Ethiopia. When you buy their coffee, a chunk will go to our adoption and another portion will go to their efforts in Ethiopia. So the giving is two-fold! Why not buy some coffee - a GREAT Christmas gift I might add - and do not ONE, BUT TWO good deeds this holiday season!! All together now..."here's to you, raise a glass for everyone. here's to them underneath that burning sun. DO THEY KNOW it's Christmas time at alllllll......feed the wooorrrld, let them know it's Christmastime again...."
here's the info:
www.justlovecoffee.com/SaleRussiaBaby
And ok, maybe you don't care about Ethiopia. Maybe you want all your good deeds to go straight to the future Sale Baby. You can donate direct at the "ChipIn" widget over there to the right.
MANY many thanks friends, family and good samaritans.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am a big believer of signs. I can take the most miniscule event and find great life changing meaning in it. You know, you run into someone you haven't seen in forever that you were just thinking about, see a street name that is also a city name that you are going to, you keep waking up at the same time. It all must mean SOMETHING in my mind. Even though a logical part of my brain tells me that certain occurances happen whether you see them or not; and the fact that you apply meaning to that occurance is what makes it "a sign". If you chose not to see it as a sign, it would cease to be one, correct? And what often seems like a bad sign, might in fact be a good one.
One of my favorite stories on this end is of the Chinese farmer on his horse, which he uses to till his fields. One day the horse runs off. A neighbor sympathizes with the farmer at his bad luck in losing his horse. "good luck, bad luck, who knows?". A week later the horse returns with a whole herd of horses and the neighbor congratulates the farmer on his good luck. Again he replies withe the "good luck, bad luck, who knows?". Then the farmer's son is trying to tame one of the wild horses and gets thrown off and breaks his leg. Everyone in the village thought this was very bad luck, except for that wise old farmer who knew the ancient Chinese secret. again he replies "good luck, bad luck, who knows?". A while later the army marches into the village and orders every able bodied young man to enlist. Except for the farmer's son of course, who they let off because of his broken leg. Can you see where I'm going with this....
So I mentioned that we decided to edit our homestudy from 'girl only' to be open to either gender. I thought this would be a quick and easy change. Just a few clicks of the social worker's mouse and there you have it. Without boring you and myself with all the details, it turned out to be a convoluted confusing process and our placement agency advised us to just leave it 'as is', meaning with the "girl only" request. This way we get it into USCIS (Citizenship/Immigration) and get the ball rolling on getting our 171-h (a form from USCIS/Homeland Security that allows us to bring our child in the country). Now we might still change it in the future; many different regions will still allow you to consider a boy even if your homestudy says otherwise. But I couldn't help but think if this was all happening in some preordained way; that try as hard as I might to change a freaking piece of paperwork it seemed unchangable! So as of yesterday the Fates decided we are still getting a girl, but I'm trying not to think too much. Nothing is ever definite in adoption and it is not a good idea to get predestined ideas in your mind. Good luck, bad luck, who knows.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November is Adoption Awareness Month!




5 years ago we traveled over 25 hours and countless time zones to Kazakhstan to adopt our son, then Bekbulat Valiev. After a few bleary days of paper pushing and money exchanging, we found ourselves jet lagged and sitting in a soviet era office on a couch next to a large stuffed monkey (as if it weren't all strange enough already), with a plump adorable teething child we'd just met who would soon be our son, sitting on our laps. I'm not sure I have the right words to convey how surreal and strangely beautiful this moment was.


Although he had grown in our hearts many months before we'd even met; Bekbulat Valiev became Benjamin Bekbulat Sale, aka "Bek", some 25 days later on June 4 of 2004. We went to court nervous and excited, and gave our speech to an expressionless judge, then he was ours, FOR GOOD. We vowed, with the help of our Russian born translator, to be the best parents we could be, to teach him of his culture and birth country, and to provide for him the very best we could.


I think that we have kept our vow, and in return we've been blessed with the most beautiful son we could have ever asked for!


Adoption is an amazing process. On the most simple level it provides a solution to a two-sided problem; a child in need of a home and parents in want of a child. It is a conscious choice, one that is difficult and costly and frustrating. It begins with pain and loss for the child. There are never any accidents, you would never hear adoptive parents say "woops, we adopted!". It is an ongoing journey that does not end with a court date or adoption decree. Every birthday brings thoughts of the birth mother on the other side of the world, and every Mother's Day keeps me in happy tears at the gift I've been given. Many people say "he is so lucky to have you"...and this is true; but we feel lucky to have been led to Kazakhstan and that he is ours. And even more lucky and grateful that we are able to embark on another adoption journey.


In celebration of Adoption Awareness Month I salute all adoptive parents, grandparents, relatives and friends! The parents-to-be that are waiting or saving, don't give up! I salute the birth mothers who loved enough to make this choice, the countries that give us these gifts, the governments that allow adoptions (albeit not without extreme difficulty but let's not ruin this moment!) to happen, and most importantly the children that become Our children.
The Legacy of an Adopted Child

Once there were two women
Who never knew each other.
One you do not remember
The other you call Mother.
Two different lives
Shaped to make you one.
One became your guiding star
The other became your sun.
The first one gave you life
And the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love
The second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality
The other gave you a name.
One gave you a talent
The other gave you aim.
One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile
The other dried your tears.
One sought for you a home
That she could not provide.
The other prayed for a child
And her hope was not denied.
And now you ask me through your tears
The age old question through the years
Heredity or Environment
Which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling
Just two different kinds of love.
author unknown







Friday, November 13, 2009

Dossier

We are waiting on the updated version of our homestudy. One little altering of semantics will change the fate of who our future child is to be! From "girl" to "open to either gender" and just like that, destiny shifts on it's axis.
I think of a boy and thoughts of sweet baby Bek come to mind! I think of a girl and all of their girlish charms. I will be thrilled either way!
First I need to focus on the mile long list of items I need to collect for our dossier. Once I get them all collected I need to have them notarized here locally, then send them to Columbus to get them apostilled, which for those of you who are in the know of such terminology, it's like a state level notary, certifying that the document and notary are totally seriously legit.
I hope to have all this done and turned into the agency before the New Year.
I should get off this computer and get moving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

life is full of contradictions

It's funny that when you have a baby you long for some time to yourself...and then you finally get some time to yourself and you long for a baby. Or maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

deja vous vous


We have started and stopped a second adoption so many times, it's hard to believe this one might actually take. I've cried Wolf to my heart. A dozen times over I've dreamed of the tiny mystery person on the other side of the world, some sides further than others (china, vietnam, taiwan, nepal, kyrgyzstan, kazakhstan) who would become our child. I always tried to believe in Fate, that greater forces were at work, to allign things just right so that the child that was meant to be, would be. It's hard to keep believing that, and it may even be naive. But I have to, it's the only way to make sense of this crazy process, this crazy life for that matter!
Bek is home from school today with a low grade fever. His spirits are great and he has no other symptoms as of yet. He is loving all of the unlimited t.v and DS time and mommy waiting on him! I am happy to have him home with me during the day, I miss that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guess the Sound!

it could be worse i guess





Clangitty clangity kkkksssskkkkch clangity clang kkkkksssskch clang....clunk.

the above is the sound of:
a) a fabulous new educational sensory toy i got for the baby
b) bek wielding his light sabers in the house
c) my exhaust system finally giving up, scraping all the way down Lakeland Avenue, with a schoolyard full of children and parents reflexively craning their heads to the awful metal grating sound, then the final clunk when i looked in my rear view mirror to see the piece of tailpipe, as if the car had left some sort of mechanical metal bowl movement, right there on the street in front of the school.
Did you guess C?? You win! you win! Tell them what they've won Vanna! it's a fabulous '97 Subaru Outback! it's not old, it's vintage!
I took a peek under the car, and saw what I'm guessing was more of the exhaust pipe, hanging down towards the front of the car. So any further movement of the car was going to cause more of the scraping, and who knows, maybe more metal droppings. I stared at a pile of leaves and contemplated leaving it parked right there and walking home. Call Brad, feign helplessness and let him deal with it. We are literally about a minute's drive from school (i should've walked in the first place!), but I still loathed the thought of scraping, and now rumbling really loud since the exhaust pipe was off, all the way home. But I forcefully put it in gear, to punish the bad car, and made it home slowly with my hazzards blinking.
I hate cars. I really do.
It's been a long time coming I guess. Brad has rigged and taped and clamped several times over now, putting repairs off as long as possible. And, the car is paid for. It was given to us as a wedding gift back in '01. So I suppose repairs are inevitable. And in the bigger picture, things break, that's all there is to it. I should understand this basic principal better now more than ever after this year of broken appliances! I know now why the buddhists spend so long learning this concept; that suffering (all forms, from death to broken washing machines) happens. The looser more everyday version of this principal is $hit happens. It just does. The sooner you learn to accept it the better!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name...

A Chinese proverb says The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.
I began thinking about names today. Somehow to me, a name, The Right name, is truly utterly important. You are labeled with this name, and the very sound of it, the harshness or softness of certain letters, the way it may or may not roll off the tongue with your last name (a whole other blog post), what it rhymes with (curse you penny and henny), it all becomes who you are. Or you become it. Or both, for Life. I had always disliked the way Jenny sounded coming out of my mouth. When I applied it to others of the same name, or someone else said Jenny, I was fine with it; it took on a different sound and meaning. But to me, the cutesy sing songiness bothered me, and the "J" sound was never quite right, for me individually. I knew plenty of other Jennys that were the epitome of Jennyness and I liked them well enough and had no problem calling out their namesake with confidence. Now, perhaps this is my own psychological conundrum to deal with and there are issues deeper than names here but let's not get off topic.
And a name has to fit, right? You have to look like a name. A perfect example is how our dear Benjamin Bekbulat, aka Bek, almost became a Wesley. WESLEY for God's Sakes!! He looks no more like a Wesley than I do an Amber. But before we saw him, Wesley conjured up whatever it was in my mind, and that's the name that appealed to us. Once we saw the picture that digitally traveled to our inboxes from Kazakhstan...it was clear he was not a Wesley, and it became absolutely laughable. And as much as we loved Benjamin and had every intent to call him that, he is now just BEK. I remember telling some family members we were considering calling him this, that we just couldn't seem to transition to Ben. "Bek?? What? That's just too weird. You can't call him that". Is it crazy that people are so opinionated about names? They'll tell you, YOU, you know the You who is going to be the parent, that YOU cannot name them that, and they're all Oh because I knew this kid in school named that and he was a nose picking loser or Oh my friend growing up had a dog named that or Oh that's the name of satan's mythological mistress. And because of these attached, perceived meanings They have with Your proposed name for Your child, you are supposed to change the name and therefore the potential Fate of your kid.
I am glad we didn't. I love the name Bek and we get many compliments (and comments) on it. There'll never be any Beks in his class and like Cher or Madonna he can go with one name and people know who he is! I love that it is his given Kazakh name, for that is all he had! And fittingly, it means STRONG. Whether his birth mom gave it to him or the ladies that took care of him at the Babyhouse christened him that, I don't know, but it couldn't be more appropriate.
We'll have to see what Russia calls our next child to be. We will adopt Russia along with the child just as we adopted Kazkahstan along with Bek. At the very least we'll keep his/her given name as a middle name, because as I already said, it's all they have of their own and important I think. And I don't even dare post what we're thinking about for names anyway...we'll probably be told it reminds them of an old man with bad breath or a crazy teacher they knew in school or somebody's pet parrot or...