Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Hunkering down for a long wait


We were anticipating a month wait until we received a referral. Obviously, we knew it could go longer or shorter based on the number of babies being born. A month seemed to be the average wait for those adopting a baby girl through our agency. Now that we are officially waiting, I am paying close attention to others who are waiting and referrals as they are given. I love seeing new referrals! I love seeing the baby pictures and hearing the new parents gush with excitement. Of course, I am also aware now that it means we are moving up on the waiting list.

There have been no referrals this week on our agency message board. No one has posted a new picture of a precious new baby. And many people are trying to gauge where we all sit on the list. I know we sit at the end of the list but I am interested in how long that list might be. Rumors abound but the reality seems to be that there are a buttload (if you recall from an earlier entry, we established that a buttload is a scientific unit measuring more than 9) of families ahead of us. I was thinking we were perhaps 9 or 10 on the list. It looks like we might be more like 17 or 18. Unless the stork kicks it into overdrive, we won’t be seeing a referral in August. We will hopefully see one in late September. It is even possible that October would be more realistic.

Our director (who is great at keeping everyone updated on what is happening with the agency and in Guatemala) said there are some referrals which will go out early this week. No word on how many…just “some”. I hope for those at the top of the list, that “some” means more like 5 or 6 rather than 2. I’m sure the wait gets harder the closer to the top of The List you are.

We were also told that the current slow downs in PGN may very well become the standard time line rather than the exception. Previos are very common (kickout from PGN requiring re-submission and waiting for another review). People are spending longer trying to get through PGN and there isn’t much that anyone can do about it. Political agendas are trumping the welfare of these children.

It all just makes me sad. Sad for all of the babies waiting to come home, sad for all of the parents waiting, and sad for us as our hopes for bringing our baby home get more distant. I find it so disheartening to keep pushing my timeline for this baby back further and further and further. We just want to be parents. Why does it have to be so hard?

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I’m just saying


I only discovered blogs 4 months ago. Prior to that, I had never read one and certainly never considered writing one. But now? I love them! I have a list of about 20 in my favorites file. Some I read daily. Others I check on weekly. When someone is traveling or close to a referral, I might check in a couple times that day. (I know, I know, I need to do a blogroll!) Some of the blogs I comment on often. Others I almost never leave a comment. I started reading them purely for adoption information but that is no longer my primary reason for reading.

Lately, I’ve been wondering why I enjoy my list of blogs so much. I think the first reason is just plain curiosity. I want to know what happens next. I want to know how that person is doing. I want to know how her story unfolds. I’m fascinated by getting a glimpse into the lives and thoughts of others. In what other situation do people feel safe enough to truly share their thoughts and feelings with little editing? It’s interesting to me that it is easier to share an honest piece of ourselves with strangers on the net than it is in real life.

I think the second reason I enjoy blogs is my roots as a social worker. Part of being a social worker is listening to people’s stories. I’m more of a bureaucrat these days but I always enjoyed doing intakes because I liked hearing that person’s story. It was never just a form to fill out for me – I wanted to know about that woman across the desk from me. Having someone truly hear your story without questioning it is a very powerful thing (especially for the domestic violence victims who were told repeatedly no one would believe them if they told).

My last attempt to rationalize my sudden devoted reading of blogs is that I managed to stumble into a little family of international adoption bloggers. I’m sure there are other circles of them out there on the big world wide web. But there is a group that reads each other, cheers each other, supports each other, and mostly gets what each other is going through (different struggles, similar angst). I am lucky enough to have been embraced by most of these wonderful women. I like this little community of bloggers. We are mothers and women who want to be mothers. We are women who have struggled really hard to earn that whiney ass “Moooommmm” which annoys you when you are behind us in the check out line.

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I see dead people


Still sick. My fever isn’t as high as yesterday but was 101.8 when I took it last (don’t tell my husband…I told him about an earlier reading that was lower and he agreed not to call my doctor). My only symptom besides the fever and achiness associated with it is a really raw throat. So I’m thinking there is nothing a doctor can do for me. Just a virus that needs to run its course probably. I am drinking lots of fluids and lying around.

We’ve been on the waiting list for a few days for a referral. My case worker called Tuesday night to say that Steve’s employment letter has to be done AGAIN (that is #6 for those keeping track). I didn’t notice that in the blank of so-and-so providing proof that he is the person he says he is, the notary wrote John H. Doe (as it appeared on his drivers license) but the person signed and typed his letter with the name John Doe. Arrgghh! I think Steve realized how sick I was yesterday when he called to tell me that he couldn’t get it done that day and my response was “I don’t care.” He found it alarming that I was too sick to care. LOL. He will get it done today, I will mail it off for certification and authentication. Our agency said we could still stay on The List since it was just one document and advised us to fix it as quickly as we can. So, the wait continues and Steve is chasing the last piece of paper! (And I’m still home sick on the couch.)

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Danger Will Robinson…Danger!*


Steve has warned me that he is currently working to cut our ties with blogger. He currently hosts my blog but I still use blogger (as an application? as a structure? don’t ask me to explain it). The danger of being a computer geek’s wife is that he is constantly changing things. Just when I get stuff all figured out, he switches it all around. So, he tells me that it will be a seamless switch. The address of my blog will remain the same. It will look essentially the same. But we will be using WordPress as the application (he has some objection to blogger). Why I am boring all of you with this? Because despite his assurances, it may very well not be as smooth as transition as he promises. If you try to find me in the next day or two and I’ve disappeared – just check back. I don’t want any one to worry (because some people love me so much that they DO worry when I disappear….really…I have an email to prove it).

*If you are too young to recognize that reference…well then you are just too damn young to have kids.

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That’s me groaning. I’m sick. My husband is like Typhoid Mary. He brings home everything from work but rarely gets sick himself. It’s not fair. I’m running a temp of 102.5, dizzy, headache, achey, sick to my stomach, and tired but unable to fall asleep. Just step over me and help yourself to anything in the fridge.

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Road Trip


We spent the weekend on the other side of the state visiting my brother in law, sister in law, and their twins. They have a lovely old farm house not too far from Philly or NYC. The area is loaded with towns dripping with quaint, old world atmosphere. And lots of expensive but cool shops. Instead of stopping at any of these little towns, we went here:

New Hope. I had dinner at an inn in New Hope when I lived in NJ many years ago. My memory of it is that it was also a charming little upscale village. Now? Not so much. It still looks charming if you can see past all of the people, motorcycles and cars lining the streets. But the shops are, for the most part, a big disappointment. Very little cool, very little funky. Mostly just crap. I was very sad. There were 3 stores I saw that I wanted to check out. One was a shop called Mexican Artisans. It was out of business. Another was called Made In Italy. I saw a cool Italian pottery plate hanging outside. I love pottery so I thought maybe I would find some neat pieces. Inside the store? There were less than a dozen pieces of pottery. I liked 2 plates. They were both about $150. These were dinner sized plates, not big platters. They were nice but not that nice. The rest of the store was filled with bad costume jewelry, leather masks, and wallets. The last store was an art gallery filled with original paintings. 75% of the paintings were copies of famous paintings (many bad interpretations of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Degas’ ballet dancers, some Georgia O’Keefe-esque flowers). 23% fell into what I like to call motel art – just bland vanilla scenes that evoke no reaction or feeling from the person viewing it (I put Thomas Kincaid into this category – art is subjective so don’t take offense if you are a fan, as well as kids playing on the beach, kittens and puppies playing in fields of flowers, etc). The last 2% was actually some original stuff. I wasn’t particularly impressed with most of it but there was one little painting we had to buy. It looks like our puppy, Angus, and makes me laugh. Tacky, kitschy, and silly but we love it.

We didn’t have time during our visit to go back to any of the cool little towns we passed on our way to New Hope. But as my SIL said, it is a good reason to go back for another visit.

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Our dossier was safely reunited with our agency this morning at 8:13AM. So we are officially waiting for our referral of a baby girl! *Happy Dance* I usually don’t worry too much about mail not making it where it is supposed to go…but I recently sent my mom a package and it didn’t get there. Ever. Just disappeared off the face of the earth. So I am very thankful that I used Fed Ex and that it got there safely. It would have been so messy if I had to torture the poor delivery man who didn’t get my precious dossier where it was supposed to be. No amount of insurance could cover the worth of those documents.

If any of you are going to be first time parents, I highly recommend purchasing the book Baby Bargains. I have been overwhelmed with the thought of trying to figure out which car seat, stroller and other baby accessories to purchase. I honestly have no idea where to start! And I didn’t know what we really needed versus what would sit on a shelf and collect dust. This book has been very common sense advice. It reviews a large number of items and talks about what is needed and useful. It is written by parents and updated each year so the items reviewed on those on the market. (Consumer Reports always tends to be a few years behind and review only a small number of items.) They also review items from a durability/safety stand point as well as what real parents thought about it when using it every day.

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Comfortably Numb


Life is amazingly quiet in our household right now. There is no frenzy over this letter or that clearance. There isn’t anticipation every time the phone rings that it might be The Call. It’s very weird…it’s like life has gone back to “normal” since we submitted our dossier. “Normal” being what it was over a year ago. Because back then, I was just trying to get pregnant, I wasn’t obsessing over the fact that I wasn’t pregnant yet. I wasn’t surfing message boards constantly gathering information. I wasn’t evaluating different countries to adopt from. I wasn’t trying to weed out which agencies were really evil trolls in disguise. I was simply a happily married woman who hated her job and had reasonable hope of having a child in the near future.

With the submission of my dossier, I have returned to that state. The adoption has renewed my hope of having a child in the near future but at this point is still hypothetical enough that I don’t feel particularly impatient (I’m sure that will last about a week). If I had a picture of my future daughter and knew she was growing older by the day as Guatemala’s process ground on? Then I would be a happily married mother who hates her job and is in constant angst over when her child will come home. But for now, I am quite pleased with this content place I am in. Do I want a referral tomorrow? You bet your ass. But I know it’s not coming for awhile so I feel free to relax and gear up for the next 6 months of angst. It’s like a part of me realizes that this is as worry free as I will ever get to be again. After I am finished worrying about getting her home, I’ll spend the rest of my life worrying that she is okay and happy and safe.

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Waiting to be waiting


It’s been a week since I sent off the pieces and parts of my dossier. I’m not on the waiting list yet so I guess I’m waiting to be waiting. I heard from my courier yesterday. She is scheduled to pick up my authenticated documents on Monday at the Embassy. She will then overnight them to my agency. So by Tuesday, I will be officially waiting…instead of waiting to be waiting! It’s rather exciting to know we’ll be officially on the waiting list.

And once we start officially waiting? I’ll probably not hear anything for about a month unless the stork gets super busy. Sigh…that means you are stuck with my rambling about random things for awhile longer.

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A little retail fun


I’ve mentioned before that we have decided not to buy a whole lot until we have a referral. I’ve stuck to that. I told you about the nursery full of furniture on Craig’s List that I wanted to purchase. Steve talked me out of it. But I did purchase a little celebratory item after I finally sent off our paperwork. I bought this pretty little baby quilt. (Gotta love E-bay.)

I wish I could sew. Maybe I should learn how. Steve is fascinated by the new sewing machines because they are computerized and do much of the work for you. He was tempted to buy one just because it seemed like a cool electronic toy. I was afraid of the damn thing. The last time I used a sewing machine was in 7th grade home economics class. And let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. The teacher wanted to throw the thing at me because every time I touched it, it got all jammed up. But Steve kept telling me with one of those computerized ones, I couldn’t go wrong. I’m quite skeptical. It seemed rather personal with that last machine. But I’ve thought about taking a class at the community college to see if it is something I would like. I would have to like it a lot to justify the cost of one of those machines – they weren’t cheap. I could buy a lot of already made stuff for the cost of one of those machines. Then I wonder what I would make?

I have this vision of making and selling some kind of sewn item on Ebay and in 5 years telling my husband “Honey, with that sale the machine has finally paid for itself.”

I was at Kaufman’s today. They were having a sale. So I purchased a few things to put into a ziplock and send down if anyone is heading down from our agency in the next month or so. (People from our agency will take a gallon size ziplock with items for your baby. You can send one pre-referral and then the foster mother will get the ziplock once you receive your referral.) I had fun picking out some sweet but practical items. But now I am going to behave until we get our referral! I swear. I can quit shopping for sweet baby stuff anytime I want. Really.

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