Monday, June 29, 2009

Doing what comes next

The other day, I read a devotional about a woman who was widowed at a young age. When asked how she got through those painful days in the months to follow her loss, she said that she just did "whatever came next." Whether it was washing dishes, doing laundry, reading to a child, she would just do it, and soon she would find that she worked her way through the tough moment or day.

I've been struggling here. The pain, anger, frustration and exhaustion from this entire adoption fiasco feels like a huge leech that has attached itself to my neck and is slllooowwwwly sucking the life out of me. So I've made "Do what comes next" my motto for now. I'm trying to throw myself into my kids and home, stay off the computer (except for blogging) and stop obsessing with what is happening in Haiti at the moment.

When we woke up and left Camp, I purposely did not feed us breakfast beforehand. Instead "what came next" was that we went to a local strawberry farm and went a-picking. We stuffed ourselves with the most plump, juicy, exquisitely red strawberries we could find, enjoying every bit of this rare and wonderful breakfast.

Both Hatfield and Atticus were extended invitations to join the dance studio's Competition Troupe. Atticus is now a proud member of the Petite Troupe, and Hatfield joined the Rising Star Troupe. As a result, "what comes next" very often translates to "go to dance practice."

"What comes next" fortunately does not have to be all mundane. In the past week, we've had a grand time celebrating Hatfield's 11th birthday and my Grandma's 88th birthday We spent the weekend at Camp and swam in the lake for the first time this season. "What comes next later today will be downloading the bulk of photos on my camera from these good times, and taking some time to prepare for future good times with the upcoming holiday weekend.

At the moment, little Miss Paloma is requesting some bacon. Gag. But, I guess that is what comes next. I also spy an unloaded dishwasher, a stinky dog and a basket of laundry needing attention. Those things will take me through until later this morning, when it's time to load up the crew for dance lessons. And after all of that is said and done, 15 pounds of strawberries await my cleaning, freezing, jam-making, pie-baking powers.

Life goes on. Step by step. Even if it's only focusing on the smallest of things that come next.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Saying Good Bye

Yesterday, my family traveled, caravan-style, the nearly 3 hour trip to say goodbye to my Uncle Gary.

I watched my mother's pain, from her heartbreak over the loss of a dear brother-in-law, from her worry and understanding of what my aunt is going through, and from the memories of her husband's own death flooding over her.

I watched my eldest daughter sob when she realized that she would never see her favorite Great Uncle again.

I watched my baby brother put on a dress shirt and tie, and witnessed his solemn face as he took on the role of pallbearer of an uncle who was so kind to him after our own father died.

I watched my dear little grandma as she held it together while burying her last son. Her only son died in 1991; her first son-in-law, my aunt's husband of 32 years, died in 1997; and now she was saying goodbye to the kind and gentle man who was a son to her for the past 35 years.

And I watched my aunt and cousin Kate hold their heads up and say goodbye to this dear man in a truly dignified yet pained manner, my own heart breaking knowing that this morning they'll wake up to a quiet house, and they'll realize that this is the beginning of a life that is so different.

My Uncle Gary was a wonderful, kind, good man. I know very few people who don't gossip or judge, and Uncle Gary was one of them. I never heard him make a judgmental statement in his entire life. He accepted everyone for who they were; he loved everyone for who they were.

I returned to Wisconsin for the Thanksgiving of 1997, pregnant, alone, ashamed, terrified and mortified. We went to Uncle Gary and Aunt Louise's for that Thanksgiving. When walking in, Uncle Gary gave me a huge bear hug and said, "A new baby in the family! Sarah, this will be wonderful! Congratulations! A new life--I can't wait."

And he truly meant every word. He was the first to celebrate the absolute joy and perfection that Hatfield is.

At the service, time and time again, people focused on what a wonderful husband and father Uncle Gary was. His two girls--his wife and daughter--were his world. Uncle Gary's hobbies and activities were whatever was important to his daughter. I saw how closely bonded Gary and Kate were. He loved her and delighted in the person she is; he never put his own likes or thoughts of how she should be upon her. Cliff witnessed that bond for the past 9 years and has said for years now that watching Gary and Kate was his greatest model for how he wants to be with his own children.

This has been the most draining and difficult week I've had in several years. First losing Uncle Gary and then losing the opportunity to bring my baby boy home has left me reeling and angry and questioning. We are packing up and heading out for a long 4 day weekend. I hope to come home refreshed and re-energized and a bit more capable of handling whatever comes our way next week.

Happy weekending,

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Terrible Day

Our Hail Mary Pass failed miserably.
It's a No-Go for bringing Miles home tomorrow,
or any day this week,
for that matter.

And this morning my favorite uncle,
my Uncle Gary,
passed away unexpectedly.
He was only in his 50's.

I just cannot understand any of this.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Our Hail Mary Pass

As of close of business Friday, we lack the necessary document to be granted a Visa.

We are being told that the document will be "ready" tomorrow (Monday.)

Today I emailed the Consulate, e-begging them to issue a Visa tomorrow upon their receipt of the required document. If they would do so upon the receipt, Miles will be escorted to the United States on Tuesday by a dear angel from Washington State.

This is our adoption's Hail Mary Pass.

I do not want to return home with empty arms.

This adoption has had one nightmarish holdup
after another
after another.

I do not mean to be selfish
or demanding,
I am ready for my miracle.
My little boy Miles is ready for his miracle.

Please, please pray for a pass completion.

Friday, June 19, 2009

All week long I have been struggling with anger and fear. Over and over, I ask

Why does all of this always happen to me?

When is it my turn?

Why can't my children come home?

This is SO unfair!!
(I spent all of Monday and Tuesday saying this last one in a fit of anger, and all day Wednesday and yesterday saying it in a flood of tears)

A while back I bought my children the book I Will Not Be Afraid by Michelle Medlock Adams. Atticus chose it as his bedtime story on Tuesday night, and I can't help but think that his doing so was part of the bigger plan.

The book certainly did not give me any of the exact answers, but it's giving me a few thoughts and verses that I am leaning on heavily today. I know a few others are going through some similar situations, so I thought I'd share a few passages from this storybook:

When it's really dark at night
and I'm alone in bed
I will not be afraid at all!
I will not hide my head
(You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble and
surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

And if our country is at war
and trouble's everywhere
I will not be afraid at all
'cause I know God is there
(God has said, "Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."
So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid." Hebrews 13:5-6

I do not have to be afraid
when bad things come my way
I will not be afraid at all!
That's what I have to say!

My God is in control of all--
the storms, the night, the war.
I trust God and love Him so.
He loves me even more.
(Cast all your anxiety on Him
because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Sometimes going back to the truth stated in the most simple manner is the best way to see the light in the midst of a messy and complex situation.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dear Mister in Texas

Dear Mister,

We Miss You.

We really, REALLY Miss You.

Several times a day, each and every day, Miss Paloma asks where you are and when you are coming home. The answer never changes (Texas, Friday), but she still asks away. I don't think it's because she's a possible carrier for an inherited gene inhibiting her from remembering the answer to any question unless she asks it 3 times an hour. I think it's because she really, really misses you.

Granted, the repeated inquisitions are mighty annoying, but how can I get irritated with this sweet face?

This is what you have missed so far:

Your dear brother-in-law painted our bathroom.

Isn't it lovely?

Also, our second "new" used washing machine arrived yesterday. What happened to the first "new" used washing machine that I was so excited to receive last week?

Strange sound
Lots of convulsions
And, oh yeah,

So the washing machine people felt so badly they gave me a free upgrade to the Whirlpool that I was to frugal to purchase in the first place.

The last time I went to the laundromat was last Monday. I got a whole two loads in the Kenmore before it went up in smoke, so this is what our laundry hallway looks like Right At This Moment:

I bet you're glad you're not here!

Seriously, though, if this mountain has disappeared by the time your plane lands tomorrow, you can sleep well knowing that I was doing laundry all day and not riding around all day with the hot UPS man in his big brown truck.

Lastly, Mister dear, I owe you a HUGE apology. For all the times I internally (and maybe audibly) griped about your assumed involvement in the "Empty Toilet Paper Roll Caper" that so often occurs in our abode.

See? It is still occurring. Effective immediately, you have been removed from my 10 Most Wanted list in this caper.

We love you.
I can't wait until you're home.
And it's not just because I'm tired of the kids
asking me about when you're coming home.
It's because I miss you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not the news we were hoping for

I spent the majority of last night awake, my brain betraying my sense of sanity by creating every bad/badder/worst case Visa scenario possible.

Wait, I mean every bad case scenario except the one that just happened.

I am exhausted and angry and feeling defeated and don't want to go into details. I need to let my vision return from red to normal and my blood pressure to lower so this deafening pounding in my ears can lessen.

There is still a chance that we can get Miles home next week Tuesday, but it requires a lot of mountain moving on the Lord's part.

Please pray for our son's situation. And I'm going to selfishly ask for me and my sanity, too. The Mister is in Texas all week for work, so I'm operating solo while in the middle of dance camp and soccer season and music lessons, and I'm not feeling well from this whole disaster that's otherwise known as a Haitian adoption.

Visa Appointment in 20 Minutes

Did anyone else not sleep very well the night before the Visa appointment? I went for a run this morning with a good and hellish uphill portion to help settle my nerves, but I still feel jumpy and weepy.

This has been such a long road for us to get here. Please say a prayer or cross your fingers for a successful appointment.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

To paint brick or not to paint brick?

Just when I was ready to compromise with the Mister and say, "We'll paint the siding, let it sit for a year, and then decide about the brick," I then saw these pictures here.

I must say, I'm intrigued with the result. And I would even dare venture to say the brick on that house was less dated then ours.

It's not that I hate our brick. Well, I mean, I do, but I recognize the beauty of it. It's just that the rustic, earthy 70's color brick doesn't seem to pair up well with a more formal, french-sort of home. Plus, I don't like the pairing of black with brown and orange. Too much of a genre or style conflict.

Mister, my love, I already know what you're going to comment, but everyone else is invited to comment away :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Yesterday was a very good day

For THREE reasons:


A new ("used") washing machine has taken up residence in my wash room. I love her. Sincerely.

The ironic thing is that I used to have the exact same top-loader model before I bought my front-loading nightmare. For 11 years my old top-loader and I lived in perfect harmony. Then I bought a front-loader so I could "save money" on water/detergent, only to have that theory shot down because I spent so darn much in service calls. So here I am, four years later, buying the exact same (but newer model) machine I had for the earlier 11 years.

Lesson learned.


CSA time is finally here, and yesterday I retrieved my first box of the season. Radishes became radish dip, the kids had a blast removing the kernels off the popcorn cobs, and tonight we'll feast on a bok choy stir fry. Plus I was smart enough to purchase a Mushroom share and they are fab.u.lous.


Vitolio Jeune is safe on SYTYCD! We are totally rooting on this incredible Haitian dancer. I don't know what type of crack Tyce Diorio was smoking when he came up with that klunker of a Broadway routine, but anytime anyone draws a Tyce Broadway routine it's pretty much a kiss of death. And I'm still not too hot on his dance partner. What was up with her solo dance last night? She looked like a puppet being flung about by a puppeteer on acid. Ugh. So we'll just hope for a better draw for our favorite man next week.

Look at me, all tv-analytical--ha! Seriously, though, I love this show. I generally consider TV to be the ultimate waste of life, but I am so willing to hand over a few hours of my living each week for tv like this.

On a totally different note, today is Friday. I cannot friggin' believe how quickly this week has passed. How did we get to Friday already? I feel ill at the thought of all I want to get done before we leave in a little over a week.

So I'm declaring next week to be Ultimate NestFest '09. Jimmy, "Grandma" Sandie, Becky and the Mister: I love each and every one of you for participating in this harebrained scheme of mine. You are all up for sainthood in your willingness to indulge a mother in her last-minute adoption nesting mania.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Calling all readers with good eyes for color and style

I hate the color of my house.

The house used to be a yellow. We painted it. I must have been on crack when I chose the color. Which the Mister likes. Which I liken to the color of baby diarrhea or cardboard. We painted the front of the house, and I hated it instantly, so the rest of the house is still yellow. Classy, I know. My neighbors love me.

But guess what?

I have ready and willing (and nearly free) labor.
I have a gift card for the Home Depot.
I am ready to give this a second try. But I want to do it right.

I am kindly asking, begging really, for reader input on what color to paint my house! Our home is a French mansard style, so I'd like to go for something a little more sophisticated/formal and not trendy or country-ish.

I am completely open to painting the brick.
I am completely open to painting the shutters.
I am completely open to painting the front door.

I have been staring at my home for over 3 years, and I have complete brain freeze on color ideas. I can no longer think outside the box on this one.

So please. PLEASE. Give me your ideas and input. If I chose your suggestion, I will sing your praises and glorify you on my blog. Maybe I'll even name my house after you. I will forever be grateful.

So come on now, all you readers with impeccable eyes for color and superior taste, help a gal out!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Two weeks from now

If all goes well, two weeks from now, the Mister, myself and Atticus will be boarding a plane to Florida.

I'm still in a happy daze, tinged with a touch of disbelief, that over the weekend, I bought Miles a plane ticket from Port au Prince to Fort Lauderdale.

A lovely woman, mother and adopting mother from Washington State is going to escort our young lad from Port au Prince into the states for us on June 23rd. The 3 of us will await for him at Fort Lauderdale, full of hope, happiness, nerves and jitters, trying not to make too much of a scene.

We will then spend the night in Florida, and the next morning fly HOME.

I haven't purchased our plane tickets yet, and won't, until we have confirmation next week that Visa's were indeed issued. I threw caution to the wind and purchased Miles' ticket, because there were only 4 seats left on our escort's flight. The price was right (meaning cheap for a Haiti ticket), and I figured that at the worst, if something happened during our Visa process, we'd only have one ticket as collateral damage.

Today I have to pack up Miles' little owl backpack, his going home clothes, some toys and photos, and send them to Washington State.

The horribly sad and difficult thing is,
I have two owl backpacks.
I have two Going Home outfits.
I have two new toothbrushes,
two sets of Matchbox cars,
two sets of photos.

And I can only pack one of each.

In just a little over two weeks from now,
two of our three little boys will be under our roof.
We will continue to hope and pray
and hope and pray
and hope and pray
for our dear little Keenan to join us quickly.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Visa Appointment Scheduled

June 15th at 7:30 a.m.


Time to shift my Nesting gear into overdrive!

Happy Weekending!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday, Atticus!!!

Happy Birthday to the Very Coolest

Mohawk Sporting
Hip Hop Dancing
Violin Rocking
Soccer Goal Scoring
Lego Loving
Brain Studying
Star Wars Crazing
Puzzle Mastering
Cat Whispering
2nd Grade Reading
Bunk Bed Sleeping
Skateboard Riding
Comic-Book Drawing
Father Look-Aliking
Man Day Going
Awesome-est Name Bearing
7 Year Old Boy in the Whole World!!!

We LOVE You, Atticus!!!
Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday!!!
Your Family

(Atticus LOVES to play Spy and throw fake bombs at his enemies, so I made a "Bomb" cake for him :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Today is the Last Day

For exactly
one week

each year,
my younger four children
line up in a tidy step formation of ages:






Today is my last day of being mother to 6, 5, 4 and 3 year olds. Tomorrow, one of them has a birthday and messes up my whole happy system (there's always one in a group who has to rebel!) ;)

Call me crazy (many have), but I love the fact that for a short time each year, my younger four children line up like a little step ladder. Next year, when for a week, I have children ages 11, 7, 5, 4, and 3, I'm going to get shirts made with their ages on them, line 'em up and have a photo shoot.

Ah, the daydreams of a waiting mother.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

158 Days Ago

158 Days Ago

Which is roughly 5 months and 7 Days

Our completed adoption dossiers
were turned in for I-600 approval.

TODAY, June 2nd, we received the "Official" email stating Miles was approved.

Someday, we will have Keenan's turn.
TODAY is for celebrating Miles' Turn.

We are joyous that Miles is coming home.

So what's the next step?

A Visa appointment.
Then the Visa pickup.

When we have confirmation that the Visa was truly issued,
The Mister
and Mr. Atticus
will board a plane
to bring our baby boy home.

Time to brush up on some Kreyole!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Wanna know who has I-600 approval?

Miles does.

Keenan does not.

Keenan's file is messed up seven ways to Sunday. 6 months after we file for approval, we received a request for another hoop to jump through. We need to obtain a document that will likely take months to produce. I am trying not to focus on the fact that if they had made this request upon the first review, we would have the document by now. It seems like they go through a file, find a mistake, request the correction, and stop everything until it's done. Then when the correction is made, they pick up where they left off, until they notice the next error.

We have made the decision to schedule a Visa appointment for Miles to bring him home. This is the second time where we have had an opportunity to bring one boy home before the other. The first time we did not take the opportunity because we thought the second approval was mere weeks away. But this time we are looking at months---months. That's a long wait. And I can't deny Miles the opportunity to have these months in our family. And I can't help but feel that bringing the boys home one at a time must be the Lord's plan.

I know this is a decision that not everyone will agree with. Please, please know that this is VERY difficult for us and we do not take it lightly. Although the boys entered the creche together and are related, we do truly feel they will do well apart. Keenan is one of the 'head honchos' of the creche and is always with ALL the kids. Miles is much more reserved and watches from the sidelines. I think it will be good for him to come home so we can focus on him. His adjustment will be more solid when it's Keenan's time to come home, and maybe that will be a good thing for both boys.

What a bittersweet, horrific experience. I want to shout and celebrate and be joyful that my baby boy will be coming home! But my heart is crying and my anger is flaring.

This is just SO Haitian adoption. Right to the very end.

Today's Mantra

I will not check my email every 5 minutes.
I will not check my email every 5 minutes.
I will not check my email every 5 minutes.

Yeah, right.
I'm a horrible liar,
even with a mantra.