Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Catching up.....Again

WHO gets the award for the least amount of posts....? Umm, that would be ME! I have a million things I would love to update here, but time is my biggest enemy. Or I should say, the lack of time is my biggest enemy. Our days are very busy as I am sure most parents, would agree. It seems when I would like some extra time, it eludes me, but when I would like the time to pass faster, it just drags on, and on, and on, and on. So let's start there, time dragging on. Yes, we are still waiting and hoping for a referral of our sweet baby boy. It's been eighteen months now and we recently had to renew our fingerprints for USCIS. Made me fingerprints haven't changed, and if I was going to change something, it certainly wouldn't be my fingerprints! Maybe a tummy tuck, cheek lift, something to improve, kinda thing, but hey, rules are rules so we made the trek to their office, and we have been updated. After the holidays I will submit for the I600A renewal. I never thought we would have to renew that paperwork, so I will add it to the list to update with our homestudy, dossier, and pictures. The hubby will just love that idea....(insert sarcasm) ....he doesn't like his picture taken. I'll think of some bribery tool to get it done.

Let's move on to pictures.....I love taking them, they are not always the best, but it's fun! I have a boatload of them from our trip this summer to Lake George NY and to Lake DuBay in Wisconsin. This one is at Lake George, Adam was our photographer for this shot. Beautiful place, met up with some old friends. Awesome fireworks that echoed through the mountains, really neat. Our next summer adventure took us to Wisconsin. And we drove, all the way, one and half days. Our kids are great travelers and sleepers, what a blessing. Here we spent a few days at the Wisconsin Dells, what a fun place with something for everyone. The weather wasn't the best, but we still had fun. We then headed north to Lake DuBay for our annual China Families Reunion. We have been meeting with them each year since the girls were adopted. We all met in Hong Kong as new parents to our little girls. To this day we still talk, catch up and see how much all the girls have grown. For 12 yrs now each family takes a turn hosting in or near their hometown.....we have been all over! Columbus Ohio, Wisconsin x2, Myrtle Beach SC, Memphis and Gatlinburg TN, New York City, Cape May NJ, Kansas City Missouri, Niagara Falls Canada, just to name a few. Not each family can make it each year, but we all try. There were 12 baby girls that trip to Nanchang China, and it is so much fun to see the similarities. Of the 12 girls, 9 of them are left handed, 7 participate in sports, dance or gymnastics, 5 play a musical instrument, most like to read, and 8 of the families have adopted again. Pretty Awesome, very
LARGE Group! Can you say reservations for 40 please? Heaven help the Chinese restaurant we go to at a reunion with everyone and their entire families in attendance. Some even bring the grandparents too. Here are the few that attended this year, five of the original girls, and their two little sisters. Even if some families can't make it, we still talk through the year, birthdays, holidays, or just catching up. This year all the kids got to try some fun lake sports..... Emily, her turn water skiing.

I love this smile! Not sure what he said or was saying, but he loves the water! Adam skied like a pro, until he got a little too over confident and he tried to jump the boat wake, practically split his bathing suit right up the middle and almost landed in the lake. He complained of a slight thigh/groin strain, so I told him to stay in the lake, float around for a bit, and the cool water will keep any swelling down. He was good after some rest. Ahh, boys! Gotta love 'em! We had so many great times... this is how we started our evenings.......the sun setting while we started the campfire for stories, games and roasting marshmallows.

As summer ended, we closed the season with a 70th birthday party for my mom, including my brother and his family from down south. About 35 friends and family came to celebrate Mom on her speical day. Every once in a while I still find a piece of the curling ribbon that held the balloons on the deck, needing to be cut. Chris finished the pool deck and he did a fantastic job! I called it Chris's Ark as he doubled checked each screw and measured and RE-measured each board, I don't think Noah took as much time as Chris did, LOL! :-) Adam says his dad can fix anything and I think Adam is right! We had a few parties to celebrate summer and I think I have enough plastic silverware to last two summers. Note to self ~ Buying bulk isn't always the best idea. Then it was time to head back to school. So we did all the shopping for just the right binder, shoes, so many shoes, and cool pencils. My kids think it's un-Cool to let Mom take your picture on the first day, so sorry no pictures. But I did get to watch them walk to the bus stop, only permitted if I stay on the front porch. The only one that everyone agreed on is this one.....oh my, they are growing up fast!

Next up, lots of projects for school (already finished four), plenty of driving practice, dance, concert band, and Halloween !! Oooh, spooky fun! Fall is alot of fun and there is always something going on! Finally the weather cleared up here after three days of rain, just in time to go back to work. Go figure, right? Well this weekend, we will try to find some pumpkins to decorate the front porch. Enjoy the Fall !

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Busyness Keeps (us) Going ......

Our June had a lot of running around, mostly the winding down of activities, and we even squeezed in a birthday with Father's Day. Emily finished up dance classes for the summer but not without a stumble this year. When you send your daughter to dance you imagine that she is learning grace, poise, and balance. This year Emily tested all those things, being over eager going to class one day, only a couple of weeks before the recital, this is what I was greeted with when I picked her up two hours later......not smiling though.
She was running up the concrete steps, tripped and scrapped both shins! Big Ouch! (Did I mention grace and balance?) She was trying not to limp when she walked, being very brave. It was worse than it looks and but Sp*ngeBob helps! She needed about 5 of those little strips to cover each scrape! Thankfully her tights covered them nicely as part of her costume. Here is one of her costumes for the show,
Pardon the background.....It was the best place to show off the costume. She is trying to be serious here; in this dance routine, the girls were to be serious, and not smile, but I kept making her giggle. She wore another outfit, totally black, very sequined and looked great on her, those pictures didn't turn out so well. I have helped out as a backstage mom for several years. So loaded with my bag of tricks, hairspray, every color of bobbie pins known to mankind, double sided tape, more bandaids, snacks and juice, I help the girls change costumes, hair pieces, and help keep them in the right order for the show. It is absolutely amazing! These girls dance in several numbers, having to change multiple times, and remember all the steps for each one. The best part is watching the younger girls look up to and learn from the older ones, and watch each one grow with confidence in them selves. I love being back there!! So much and energy and FUN !!

Dress rehearsal before the show. The theme was All Creatures Big and Small, so alot of animal prints. Reviewing places with our teacher. And this was her other teacher for jazz class - they could be sisters! Teacher M was also adopted from Korea as a little girl - another great connection! Needless to say the show was wonderful and all the girls, even the littlest ones who are sooo cute in their little tu-tu's had a great time. We start that all over again in September!

I can't forget my bestest guys..........Adam finished up his last year of baseball and tennis (for school). Adam is my hardest person to take a picture of, he doesn't like it. But while he was on the field I got him!

He looks very grown up and professional here. Oh my. It's hard to admit, but I have to look UP to see him eye to eye! He will always be my little boy playing with hotwheels on the kitchen floor, panicked when they roll under the refrigerator! Ahhh, memories. Here's my drama, lately he's looking at another type of car, this time ALOT bigger. I can't believe this part......driver's permit !! I want the hotwheels back !! (heavy sigh)

I had to face facts when his birthday came and he proudly reminded me of his new right of passage. Adam can get his driver's permit this summer. I'm still in denial!!! Probably will be until he comes home from the motor vehicle agency with the permit in hand. I know those hotwheels are in the attic somewhere, I might need them! Therapy. We had family and friends over for his favorite, ice cream cake. Mmmm, it was good too!

June brings Father's Day so I had Emily grab Chris, hoping for a group shot but Adam darted away again. Boys. I just love this picture.........

Our June ended in a very special way, compliments of the owner of the company I work for. He owns a very large boat, 70 feet of largeness. Each summer he has a few 'employee trips' and we get to bring spouses or friends along for the ride. Our evening takes place in New York Harbor. The whole night you are waited on by the crew and the staff, serving awesome food and drinks. I haven't been on this trip for many, many years and it is awesome each time! The weather was perfect, so was the company and no complaints were heard.

New York Harbor, just before the sun was setting. The captain actually took us right up to Ellis Island and the Statute of Liberty. It was sad not seeing the Twin Towers, but said a prayer for the lives lost that sad day.

Yep, going UNDER the Brooklyn Bridge as we head up the East River.

Looking down from the tower, taking a picture of was so cool to be up that high, the view was great!!

This was probably my favorite picture of the evening...........

Terry and Chris caught having a great time!!

In July we took a few road trips for vacation - More fun !!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Busyness Overload!

I promised myself that I would do my chores before I went online tonight, and well, I just couldn't wait......I can mop the kitchen floor and clean bathrooms tomorrow, right ? Who's looking anyway? Right now everyone is in bed! I have been a good parent, good cleaning lady, cook and chauffeur but a very bad blogger. I checked a couple of blogs and found so much good news ~ I can't stay away too long ever again!
First, lets update our adoption.........ummm, sorry , no news. We are still waiting. Some days are easier than others, the kids keep me busy, but there are a few days that hit kinda hard. My only way to look at it is that I am holding the winning lottery ticket with just the right numbers on it, but no one calls my numbers yet. I am still holding my ticket, check my numbers (email) everyday and wait. It's just not our turn yet. But when they do call that magic set of numbers (preferably my cell phone) I'm sure any one west of the Delaware River will know!!
On to our busyness.......I can honestly say that I am very glad that summer is here! The end of the school year just about kicked my butt and I'm not in school anymore. The kids got a couple of big projects (each) and I felt like I was at the craft store every couple of days. But I can say proudly (yep, I'm gonna brag abit) that both kids finished with all A's in all their classes. Emily is in enrichment classes and they follow the same course line, but more in depth. Adam took three honors classes and really worked hard the past two marking periods for finals. This is a picture of Emily's 3-D plant cell, ariel view. Lots of clay (no playdough permitted), Styrofoam and each part labeled, yes, her grade was an A. This is seventh grade science class. I can tell you that as a parent, projects are a lot more fun!
OK, it's still late May, for the purpose of this post anyway and we also had three band concerts (all in two weeks), and anniversary, and a few birthdays. Emily had one concert, at school, and she plays the clarinet in the school band. I couldn't get the camera to cooperate that night, but it was good. Catchy tunes, current songs, and a cool slide show of the graduating 8th graders.

Our anniversary fell on a Thursday this year, so my wonderful husband wanted to take me out to dinner and a show. He is soo thoughtful, and an awesome Dad. who could turn him down, right ?

Well here is dinner .........

And here was our show........ Although he had the best intentions, the family and kids took priority. We did go out later that weekend for an awesome meal, grownup talk and indulged in too much dessert, so we walked it off in a kid free (no 'I'm bored' stories) trip to L*wes, talking about more outside plans. Not very romantic, but it works for us.
Our next concert was for Adam at the high school and that was .....interesting. I'm not a music buff, but the music they played was involved, and seemed hard. But it was good, really good!!
Adam plays the French Horn and the Alto Sax. Doesn't he look handsome ?? I'm a little partial, I know, Mom's privilege! :-)

Our next concert was at the Camden Riversharks game - the middle school band had the honor to play the National Anthem at opening ceremonies. Parents weren't permitted on this trip, (I would have loved to watch too ) and the school will not publicly release the pictures. I tried to add the link for the Riversharks, but it is not working for me tonight. Our band director said the kids did a fantastic job and maybe invited to play again at another game.

To wrap up our running, my neice and nephew (twins) celebrated their 4th birthday with a chilly pool party and cake! On Memorial Day ! Cool birthday huh ?

All of this fun combined with the regular Mom jobs. And June was jumping even more than May.......... :-)

Friday, May 15, 2009

I've been Surf Controlled

One day last week , I get to work, normal day... go through the morning routine, getting ready to enjoy my morning cup of hot chocolate.......cautionary note: no coffee -caffeine and Terry are not a good combination; as those who know me can testify, caffeine puts me into overdrive and you would never be able to get me to stop talking...... back to the warm coco, it's quiet at work, which in itself is a true blessing. I work for a busy construction company and people are always in and out. Anywaaaay, (no, I haven't had any caffeine LOL) as I am settled in my office, I attempt to check in to Taiwan Adoption Blog world, my favorite thing to do in the morning.....I really enjoy the stories and see how other families are doing, new happenings, funny things kids do, any new adoption information or new updates with pictures ~ I really like those posts! Open the Internet, go to my Fav's and there it is.........ACCESS DENIED!!! OK, Wait, don't panic, let's try again, right ? Maybe something is just not connecting.........ACCESS DENIED AGAIN!!!! Several attempts and nothing. Same blah, tan screen. I really didn't like that screen.

It seems that while we were all snug, sleeping the night away, the IT Dept in the main office was very busy installing new surf control software!! Darn those geek guys. Although our IT guys are not really 'geeks', they are very helpful and genuinely nice guys. That day, they were getting the Stink Eye from one very disappointed adoptive mom!!! It's a good thing that their office is two and half hours away in north Jersey.

It seems that Taiwan Adoption Blogs are "Social Networking" and (in their eyes) rank right next too Facebo*k and MySp*ce. I think Taiwan Adoption Sites are better but now they are not permited on the work network.

I lost my therapy! I have been DENIED! I know what some of you might be thinking - I was at work, I am not supposed to be catching up on my personal web surfing at work. And you are right. I was taking some time to catch up. I admit it. I know that this is not a very good excuse, but with our adoption going at a snail's pace, reading other stories is therapeutic. It gives me hope and something to look forward to. I can read about hotel stays, the places to see, and as always ~ PICTURES! Thank you to the other families for allowing me to share & enjoy your stories. I wish the IT guys and the bosses felt the same way.

Another intuitive and wonderful mom, Riza, (and very supportive too) recently posted about how Moms' needs often take a back seat to the needs of their children. I am no different. Kids come first. The kids get to the computer first so I don't get a lot of computer time at home. I have "Mom things" to take care of and the evening just slips away so fast. I am guilty of sneaking a quick peek from work. And now I have been Surf Controlled!! Ugg !!

I would like to apologize in advance if I miss a new update, happy surprise, referrals or travels dates (yes, recently almost missed that post, sorry Sara). I will get to them, I promise. I have adjusted some settings on my blog, hopefully I have got them set right, and I can check them quickly. Any tips for blogs updates would be great~please share.

I am trying to look a this positively, that I will be a better employee, maybe read more news, and even try to be a better mom by asking to share the computer.

PS ~ I couldn't find a construction sign for Surf Control LOL I'll look tomorrow

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

55 mph or weeks ??

When people see this sign they think about how fast or slow they can go, setting a pace to follow, keeping within the guide lines set...... in our case it symbolizes how many weeks we have been waiting for a referral. 55 weeks. It's certainly not speeding along. I was keeping track of the number of weeks on my desk calendar and I remember hitting 40 weeks thinking that we should be at our "due date" for being pregnant on paper. That number went by with no referral news. Now anyone involved with an international adoption will tell you to expect a few of these along the way, and we have had a worker changes, paperwork chases, etc. Hoping we would not see #50, but watched it go by, I was dreading the 52 week mark as it meant a FULL YEAR has gone by. As of this post, we are at 55 weeks of waiting for a referral. The last update I had from our agency, we were told it could take longer, (hope you are sitting) maybe as much as another 12 months, Yes, twelve, months!! Go ahead pick your jaw up, I still can't believe it. I am trying to stay up beat and positive, but some days are really hard. REALLY hard. I keep trying to tell myself I have done this before and our labor pains blessed us with two of the most wonderful children any parent could ask for. This wait is longer than theirs was. I keep telling myself "OK, I can get through this". But it's hard. I have done very, very little retail therapy because I am not sure what to buy. We haven't set up the crib yet, Christopher said it would be too hard to see it empty for now. I have to agree with him.

To explain that I am really trying to be positive, here is a chuckle for you........

The other day, Emily asked me why I looked so down, noticing the frown on my face and the fact I was so quiet. (Those that know me, quiet is not my strong suit, I'm a talker LOL) I explained about the extended time, and she asked me if I wanted any popcorn - my ultimate favorite snack!! Ahh, Comfort food. I told her no thanks, (I'm cooking dinner) and she gave me a hug. Awww, isn't she sweet? Now they say timing is everything.........Christopher and Adam walked in the door, tennis practice finished, and looking for dinner. Emily was setting the table and they asked her what was going on. With out ANY hesitation, she simply replied, "Mom needs Cymbal ta, she's down". The two of them looked at me, total shock on my face.....and then bust out laughing. They already knew about the wait time but she hadn't yet. Emily pulled a classic 'out of the mouths of babes' and Christopher, my dear husband couldn't hold it in. Adam followed. They weren't being insensitive, it was all about the timing and the interpretation of a kid. I told her she wasn't allowed to watch television anymore! Even though I am down about the time frame, I can reassure you that things like this make the day so much better, and easier so that Yes, I can get through this. With out Cymbal ta!!!!!!

On a happy note......Tomorrow I am sending our updated & now current dossier paperwork, including our approved home study (Yea!) to our agency. You never know and Just in case, maybe our newest blessing could be ready for us soon. I want to be (paperwork) ready. And unless our agency gives us a sign like this..........
I will continue to be hopeful that I will see a sign like this really, really soon ............

Thanks for listening to my venting and pity party.......sometimes those that have 'been there and did that' are the ones that can truly understand!!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Little girl.... not so Little anymore !

Recently my little girl is trying some new things, and as a mom, you have to let them go and try, learning some life lessons along the way. Not always easy to do. Emily has graduated from things like jumping off the bed, or hanging upside down on the swing set to more "tween" things. I've gotten past the pierced ears, and lately some interesting jewelry. Nothing too crazy, just everything needs to be color coordinated and has to match the color of the day. OK, I'm good so far, remembering this from my own 'growing up'. A few weeks ago I went upstairs to put laundry away, walked past the bathroom and found her trying different shades of eye shadow - they were really bright too. Her explanation for the array of vivid colors, "so people can see them". (My first thought was from space ?? But I kept quiet) I explained that less is usually better with makeup...she was alright with that idea, washed her face and went on to try more colors, browns and tans. OK, still good after that. Mental note to my sister - NO more eye shadow kits for Emily. Her latest idea was all her own and I caught some grief about this, but this was something she wanted to do. Again, letting her try something is the before shot

She has ALOT of hair and has been growing it like this since she came home, so other than, small trims here and there, this is how long it's gotten in 13 yrs. Absolutely beautiful hair!!!! I always envied her because I loved her long, dark, thick, beautiful, I'm the TOTAL opposite of her, blonde hair and blue eyes. Well, HOLD on to your seat, this is what she wanted to try.............not for the weak at heart

My little girl doesn't look so little here !!!! She cut off 11 inches of her hair. She donated it to an organization that uses donated hair to make hair pieces and wigs for cancer patients called Locks of Love. This was all her idea, and as her mom, I can't say enough how proud I am of her. She told me when I asked repeatedly 'Are you sure?" (I guess I needed to be sure more than she did) She told me that she wanted to help someone else, more than she wanted the hair, and her hair would always grow back. All I could do was smile, hold back my tears, hug her and make an appointment to cut her hair. Grandmom wasn't as pleased with Emily's decision, but as a parent, you have to let them try. She looks so grown up !! Christopher and I decided that she cannot combine the eye shadow and this new cut until she is about 25 yrs old. :-) I know this was not an easy decision for her and was tough on me too. So other moms and dads, cherish your little girls while you can ~ because while you are doing laundry, they are growing up really, really, really fast!!!! Hide the make up!!

She has a birthday coming up and has decided she wants a Chinese themed party - so now I am off to search for ideas for a group of girls, just becoming teenagers.....Open to suggestions and ideas.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Catching up !

Ahhh, allergy season. I have been out of blog world for several a few, not much else. I've been sick and really only the 'have to' things were finished. Well, I'm feeling better, so I sent everyone outside to play basketball, even sent the dog outside too, so I could update our blog. Mom took over the computer ! :-)
First, I am feeling better, and Mom is still doing well too. Knock on wood!!
Second, On the Adoption front, we had our last visit with our super awesome SW, she was here last Sunday morning for several hours! Yes, on Sunday. I still can't believe she was here on Sunday. She completed the rough draft and it was emailed to me for review by Monday afternoon. Here's where I dropped the ball....I wasn't feeling well, trying to proof read, and cold medicine kicking in wasn't a good a combination. I did get it finished, and emailed her back. As of Friday afternoon, it was going to the agency for their approval. Yes!! Now if we could only get a referral .......(heavy sigh)
Finally, and I think will really show my age, (don't laugh) but while I was looking for information for the HS & the SW, I came across some dates that I thought were I thought I would share and we could all enjoy a chuckle or gasp.
This is for Adam's adoption ~ adoption application sent in to agency 10-09-93
accepted referral of our handsome little boy 09-13-94
picked up at LaGuardia Airport, NYC HOME!! 01-12-95
adoption finalized in NJ 10-16-95
Cost of I-600A filing with INS (USCIS now) $ 140.00 gasp LOL
and your fingerprints were done at the local police dpt.

*** We waited almost a year for his referral and only 4 months for him to come home. This program was really new when we did this so we were pioneers for Vietnam and still send in yearly updates & pictures via the agency to reassure the government the children are doing well. That is a fun letter to write, free reign to brag
as a proud mom! LOL ***

This is for Emily's adoption ~ adoption application sent in to agency 11-10-95
dossier to China, total of seven sets of everything 08-25-96
letter of delay- restructure of the process 10-05-96
accepted referral of our beautiful daughter 08-12-97
leave for China (normal 4-6 weeks after referral) 09-17-97
placed in my arms in Nanchang, Jiangxi Prov., China 09-23-97
go through customs in WA, fly to PA/NJ HOME !! 10-23-97
adoption finalized in NJ 10-15-98
cost of I-6ooA filing with INS $ 155.00 (not bad increase)

*** We waited 50 weeks for her referral and had only 4 weeks to get packed and last minute things completed. We were delayed in processing of our referral because of the system was beginning to send everything to Beijing for processing. The local government processed your paperwork until this change. The "normal" referral time was "few months" based on what babies were available. I'm not sure how things are processed now. ***

My, how the time lines and the costs have changed!!! We have been waiting for ONE YEAR now and still have nothing to report for update regarding the timeline. Honestly, some days I feel like it is NEVER going to happen. The kids remind me in subtle ways that "when the baby comes home" this or that will change. I try to be positive, but once in a while, it gets hard. I know other families have been waiting as long or longer that we have, I give you credit. Maybe I need a new hobby to help pass the time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One visit complete - One more to Go!

We had out first visit with our new social worker and she is GREAT!! (Why didn't I call them in the first place 16 months ago I'll never know?? ) It went very well.....we answered all of her questions, including the kids. She answered a few of our own questions. She took notes and added them to the folder she had, full of our life on paper and in pictures. Here's the best part - she makes weekend visits!!! I have never heard of that before. Has anyone ever had weekend visits?? Yes, she will be back over the weekend for our last visit to wrap this up, and hopes to have the first draft sent to our agency by early next week. Someone pinch me! I've found my social worker angel, sent from Heaven and Holt. Thank you !!!

Now if we could only receive a referral.......wishing for a referral, wishing for a referral!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Home Study & Update

It has been a very busy two weeks!! I wasn't sure if I could really get this all finished, but I have addressed or completed every form that our new social worker has asked for, and proudly, in record time! Our biggest hang up was with the doctor's offices - they took the longest to complete their forms. I have already spoken to our social worker (she called over the weekend-can you believe that?) and our first meeting is on Wednesday, in two days! They are moving at an awesome pace to help us get this completed and submitted to our placement agency so we do not skip a beat with Taiwan! I still can't believe that all this happened, and but it is working out so well. I knock on every piece of wood I touch these days! I'm not leaving anything to chance.

Now if we could just get a referral, that would be icing on the cake !!!
Speaking of cake, tomorrow is my husband's birthday.....wouldn't that be an awesome gift if I could tell him

"Happy Birthday Honey, & Congratulations ~ It's a Boy!"

Ahhh..... to Dream (and hope and pray and cross your fingers and toes and wish on every star)! Imagine the different ways to tell him, on the cake, in a card, on a note wrapped in a box......hmmm.....???? :-)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Homestudy Update~NO! Homestudy DO OVER!

We have some adoption news, not the best, but thankfully we have turned it around, and hopefully this does not affect any other families. I wanted to give a heads up, just in case anyone else is using this agency for a social worker. Now that I've panicked, cried and calmed down, this is long, (sorry about that), but here goes.....

We are waiting for a referral, it has been 48 weeks, or 11 months since we were added to the "Wait List", officially Pregnant on Paper. Our placing (adoption) agency sent an email a few weeks ago, saying it was time to get the home study updated. Figured this was coming because of the extended wait time. No problem. Started calling the social worker. After 6+ messages and several emails, over about two weeks time, I still hadn't gotten any reply, in any form. Worry, panic and a few other emotions started to creep in. I left every possible phone number, and email address I have and still NOTHING! What could be going on ??? Was she on vacation, were her kids sick?? No answer was more stress being added to the existing stressful & bad week I was mom was admitted to the hospital again (emphysema & pneumonia), dealing with the doctors and family updates for her, then two lengthy and involved projects due (a day apart) for the kids, and to make it even more fun, the construction company I work for started to remodel the office, with no place quiet to hide, talk or make calls. I just wanted the SW to call me back and something to go as planned. Nope. Nada. Zip. (heavy sigh)

Our social worker works from a satellite office in NJ but the main office is in Maryland. At the time we used them last year, she took every bit of SIX months to complete our homestudy. (no joke) Comparing other agencies this should have only taken about 6-8 weeks. When I was given this agency's name, I was "cautioned" to 'keep after her, she needs reminders'. This office worked with Taiwan and the placing agency, OK, great. Thought no problem, I work with accounts receivable for a living, so I'm always reminding some one to pay, I can do that. Boy, I had noooo idea how many reminders she needed until it was happening or not happening. So when we were asked to provide an update, I knew I'd better get after her, hoping this doesn't take a long time again. (note: she is a nice person but had outside issues to 'deal ' with that had nothing to do with our homestudy, at that time, once committed & paid, we were at her mercy) After no replies, and a stressful week, I kicked into collection mode and called their main office located in Maryland. I left at least three messages for their executive director. On the last message I think the overload & stress came out by telling them how unprofessional this organization was and I couldn't believe I haven't heard anything back. I also left a desperate, but stern message for the social worker in NJ. Good or bad, please just call me back!! The NJ SW finally called me back, two days after the mean message to the director, telling me she received a call from her boss (about my call). Finally, I thought, progress. The SW proceeded to tell me that she was laid off from her agency approx. 4 weeks ago, but she didn't get to finish or send a list of other agencies to help or to contact. She offered to do a "quickie update, shouldn't take but more than a couple of weeks" if I'd like. Translation, I'm thinking I'm looking at least a month for an update (based on last year).....I didn't think an update should take too long, swell, nothing changed. Here's the best part, then she explained that the main office has decided NOT to renew their license, expiring in June 2008, in NJ. Tears building fast........

So even if I accepted her offer, the homestudy wouldn't be valid for long, nor would she be able to do the post placements once we received a referral. All I wanted to do at this point was cry!!! Tears are coming big time.....So I hid in the conference room, closed the door and cried. Overload set in and it all caught up. About half an hour later, I washed my face, grabbed pen and pencil, and back to the conference room I headed. I called our adoption agency, explained the drama and asked the 'what now?' question. They were great, very supportive and helpful. Home Study DO OVER!

Now armed with the decision that it would be best to find another agency for the homestudy and post placements, and re-assured that we wouldn't loose any time with them for a referral, I made several calls. I couldn't trust this SW anymore and my gut was telling me to RUN! We decided to use Holt International, (the same agency we used for Adam & Emily's adoptions), and felt very good that they weren't going to be closing any time soon. Holt sent me documents to complete via email that afternoon and they were completed and returned ASAP. Don't you just love Fedex!! Our fingerprints (yes, we have to do them over too, they are non-transferable) are updated and submitted too. Hopefully the State of NJ doesn't get too concerned as to WHY we are in the system again and again ! :-) Holt didn't think that getting an update done in a few weeks was a problem, we plan to meet our new social worker, next week. My prayers were answered, Thank you God and Double Amen!!!

My first call to the unreliable SW was on February 16th and I only rec'd ONE return call from her and that was on March 5th. As of today I still haven't gotten a call back from the Executive Director (boss) in Maryland. I'm not expecting to at this point, probably because I put it out there due to overload or honesty. I am shocked that they do business like that. I would have gotten fired if I didn't follow up with my customers !! Who is the wonderful agency you ask (sorry for the sarcasm) ........We used World Child International Adoption, based in Maryland. I am not the kind of person to talk bad about anyone, but I felt that there maybe other families would want to know. An agency cutting back while you are waiting is a horrible thing to deal with. I hope that anyone who is currently using them has a better situation that we did. I cannot speak for everyone associated with this agency, but I feel better that we will not be using this office or SW in NJ.

Now that my tears have dried, my blood pressure has come back down, our new homestudy is underway, my mom is home, doing much better, and the kids projects both received A's, (Awesome job kids!!!) I can honestly say that I have the best husband and family.... they put up with my grumpiness and tears, helped with my mom and helped around the house so together we got through this tough couple of weeks. God answered my prayers by giving me strength and a great family!! I hope that I haven't upset anyone by posting this, because I try not to post anything negative, I guess it was an awareness and venting moment!

I am trying to be optimistic for a referral soon and for final rulings for some other waiting families, saying my prayers, crossing my fingers and toes for Good News Soon!!!

Thanks for listening :-)

PS - At work, the construction is still going strong, up to remodeling the bathrooms now, Dust is everywhere !
Ahhhh, Spring cleaning :-)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Snow ~ 10" of snow !

On a previous post, I talked about the little bit of snow we recently had.......
we really don't get alot of snow here so I thought that was our dose for the season,
Ummmm, NO !
Well I spoke too soon or jinxed myself because this is what we got last Sunday
into Monday morning!
10" of the fluffy white stuff ~ EVERYWHERE!!!
Emily is layered up to stay warm and dry under all those clothes!

I think I will stick to WISHING for SPRING !!
Someone must have heard me because we had a wonderful warm weekend,
perfect tease for SPRING !!!
Hope there are many more warm days ahead!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Suggestions Wanted Please

I am asking for your suggestions, opinions and experiences.....good and/or bad! While we are still waiting for a referral, I have taken to cleaning; cleaning out closets and basements. I ran out of closet's here and did the basement after the holidays so I've moved on to Mom's house. She's got a lot too! I've become a regular at our local Goodwill donations center, so much that my accountant now gives me the stink eye when I hand over the receipts - I'm not worried, he's young, he will get past this.
Here's my question....Does anyone have any experience or preference to using EBay or Craig's List for selling bigger items? A few people have suggested selling some things on line. I have a computer desk, a couple of pieces of exercise equipment, an air hockey table, a lot of out door holiday decorations, things like that. It's too cold here to have a yard sale and I'm running of room to 'store' things waiting for the weather to get warmer. I have gotten raised eye brows from Chris because I have taken up a corner in the garage. I have been to each site but wanted some other input. I thought some blogger input would help. Please let me know what you think, if you have ever used these sites, which do you like better, etc. Both of my B-I-L's use EBay, but Craig's comes recommended by some co-workers too.
If we don't get a referral soon, I might have to post an ad for basement & closet cleaning! LOL

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Our back yard

Neighbor down the street - his vineyard

We have SNOW! Actually measurable in inches this time!! Some of you are thinking "it's just snow", right ? Well snow doesn't always happen or even stick to the ground where we live, we are too close to the coast and it usually turns to rain. So I'm a little excited about that. I took some pictures early this morning - so peaceful outside, just the puppy and myself. Chris already left for work and the kids were still sleeping. The kids had a 2 hour delay for school to start so they got to sleep in a little extra.

Our puppy ~ Sanford

Which turns out very well because we were up late finishing another project with Emily. She had to make a college brochure~ started as each student picked a college, then had to research it, gathering a boatload of facts, course studies, costs, campus, etc. and then had to make a brochure, using pictures, school colors and facts to "sell" your college in an oral presentation. Sounds like fun, but it was a lot of work (and not a lot of notice, less than a week) and she did a great job, I hope she gets a good grade. All of this for seventh grade honors English class, I hope I survive this class, but Emily does really well.

My heavy sleeper Adam woke in a panic this morning thinking he over slept. When he realized how much snow there was, he was disappointed he didn't go out side last night to play, he went to bed early. Ahh, the priorities of a teenager ! Sleep, play and food. He was tired and needed the rest because he started high school baseball training last week so I guess he needed to catch up on sleep. But baseball season is upon us and that means spring is on the way !! YES!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gottcha Day 14 mos. to 14 yrs. ...... 01-12-95 !!

This is Adam's assignment picture given to our social worker from his orphanage director.
He is fourteen months old here. Fourteen months to fourteen years...........
Gottcha Day fourteen years ago.........I was in LaGuardia Airport in New York, waiting for the delayed arrival of my son, Adam, coming in from Hanoi, Vietnam. His plane was delayed due to fog, coming from the west coast where he went through immigration, so we went anyway and waitied for over 5 hours. Some of our family in the New York City region brought us deli sandwiches and we had an airport picnic. Things were different then...we were permitted to wait at the gate with our greeter and family. Today families have to travel to Vietnam, a couple of times I believe.
As I write this tonight, it is so different as our family is waiting again. This time for a referral for another son from Taiwan. I know that some of your are probably scratching your heads thinking that is a huge span in age, yes, you are right, but we love kids and the time is right!!

This is Adam one week after he came home on January 12, 1995. Today he is still a happy kid, very tall, and into computers & baseball. Below is my handsome young man, going to the sophmore (HOP, equal to the Jr./Sr. prom for underclassmen). We are very proud of him, even though he is typical teenage boy soild through!!

We Love Him !!

Since we don't have our referral to talk about, I thought I would share a glimpse into our current family as we wait. Helps pass the time.
Our daughter's Gottcha Day isn't until September...maybe I can squeak that in early :-)

We would love to hear from other waiting families too !

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Catching up.....Finally !!

The kids are doing homework, all the appliances are fed & running, my husband is out taking care of a couple errands, even the dog is sleeping ~ it's my turn to catch up!!! Finally !! I started this blog at a very busy time of year (poor planning there) and hosting the holidays for two large families took up a lot of time. Everything is cleaned up and tucked away until next year. It's kinda sad to pack up the decorations, but I know, that we will take them back out in less than a year! The holidays are one of our favorite times of the year, and a great excuse to bake & indulge in lots of cookies! Our holiday was filled with a lot of love and fun times. My mom, even did pretty good. (Note: My mom can't get around like she used to and is on oxygen 24/7---emphysema. She has her good days and her struggle days, but still holds her own.) My niece had her baby about a month ago so it was her first Christmas, and of course her Great Aunt Terry (yes, I'm a GREAT Aunt already ugg!) bought her the cutest outfit. I didn't have time to take a picture, the ham needed my attention, then she fell asleep. :-( But Emily got to feed her a bottle.

On the adoption front, nothing new. Big frown here. We are still waiting. When we started this journey, I really had hoped that we would have received a referral by now. I was given the impression (in not so many words) that things were moving along 'pretty good'. We have been on the "official" waiting list since April 2008. I know that some other families have been waiting longer than that. I give all of you a boatload of credit ~ what 's your secret ??? I'm not trying to sound worse off than anyone else in our position, but this adoption, (#3) seems to really be a test of paitence!?!?! Some days are easier than others and as the new year begins, I am really trying to turn my paitence into a stronger Faith. In a weird twist, I had to return a few things for Mom the other day....while waiting my turn, being patient of course, I looked around and saw a display of wall plaques, the one that caught my eye, read like this..... the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

Is that a sign or WHAT !???!?!?! I was on the right road!! Guess who bought that sign and another titled Family .....yep, that was ME !!! I proudly hung them on the wall in my kitchen that evening, when in doubt I can look there, and then check the adoption blogs of course! :-) I feel better now! Gotta go check some homework........