Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.



We were supposed to be re-submitted to family court last Friday 1/19. No word if that happened or not.

Some of my wonderful friends have received news of being OUT in the past week.  Always good to see my friend making progress!  (Angie – I adore you but am so jealous I can’t see straight since we got our referrals on the same day.  Still happy for you though!)

My mom and I sat and blubbered together on the phone this weekend about how hard this process is.  I hadn’t told her about our most recent “bump” of being pulled out of family court.  She offered to financially help me with another visit since it will likely be at least 3 months after our February visit before we can hope to bring Sabrina home.  I’m considering her offer…but there are a number of things I have to think about before I take her up on it.

I’m still feeling rather hopeless about our process.  It feels like she will never come home.  I really hate this but I don’t want Sabrina to be an only child.  When I think about going through this process again it makes me physically sick.  People tell me I will forget and be able to do it again in the future.  I hope they are right.

It’s finally winter here in PA.  It’s been snowing for days (not much accumulation though) and it is cold.  It puts Steve in a fabulous mood.  I don’t love the snow the way he does.  Steve is looking at some jobs in a slightly warmer climate – but that is a conversation for another day.

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Thank you!


Thank you to my friends who bought my earrings.  Yes, I sold all 4 pairs and yes I sold them all to blog or real life friends.  Thank you Michele, Jessica, Tonya, and Stephanie.  You guys are awesome and I hope you enjoy them!

My dining room table looks like the arts and crafts room of a mental institution.  They have the patients do arts and crafts to keep them calm.  I’m not sure how well it is working.  I’ve got the jewelry stuff strewn on one corner and my new project on the other.  My new project?  Making magnets.  It all started with all of the wonderful Christmas photos we received of beautiful babies this year.  I didn’t have enough magnets to put them all up.  So I started looking for some and ended up deciding to make them.  Here are my adoption themed magnets with some flowers mixed in:


Above is the Guatemalan flag, American flag, the words family, adopt and love, and a “map” of Guatemala.


These are the Chinese flag, a lady bug, and Chinese character for happiness (thinking about giving them to family who are adopting from China along with the adopt, love and family in the other set) and some flowers.

At least I’m entertaining myself.  And I now have 30 new magnets for my frig.  Heh. I might be selling these next.  Have to support my craft habit somehow.

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Blog for Choice Day



I didn’t realize that today was Blog for Choice Day until I saw it on several other blogs. I’ve found many adoptive parents and couples who struggle with fertility are not pro-choice.  That is certainly understandable.  After struggling so hard it can be difficult to support abortion rights.  It seems unfair that others get pregnant easily and terminate pregnancies when many of us would do just about anything to have a successful pregnancy.  Regardless, my stance on abortion has not changed.  I still feel that women should have options and choices to do as they wish with their bodies and the government should stay the hell out of it.

Abortion is not an easy way out and should not be used as a form of birth control.  We need strong sex education.  We need parents to be comfortable having those conversations with their children.  We need birth control to be readily available and covered by insurance.  And we need to stop legislating morality in this country.   Okay, stepping off my soap box.

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Sanity in the bottom of a beer glass



Yesterday, I went home.  I don’t get home to Ohio too often outside of holidays and funerals it seems.  But yesterday, I went home just because.  I met up with my best friend (in town also just because).  I took her to dinner for her birthday (only a couple of weeks late).  We went to a favorite restaurant that makes the best veal parm ever with a side of home made linguine with garlic butter.  We talked about everything and nothing.  We laughed.  We always laugh when we are together.  After dinner, we went to an old haunt.  There we found some old friends and some good beer.  The 6 of us sat and talked and laughed and drank.  (Only 2 for me…I had to drive in a few hours.)  From there, our motley crew headed to our favorite pub.  My best friend and I used to be found there more evenings than not.  We talked some more, laughed some more, drank some more (diet pepsi for me – wouldn’t want anyone to think I was drinking and driving).  It was like old times.  It felt so good to be surrounded by people who know me and care about me.  It felt so good to be away from these constant thoughts of the adoption and the empty, half-painted nursery.  It felt restorative.  I felt like me again for the first time in a long time.  I felt sane and happy.  I guess you can go home again – even if only for the evening.

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6 Weird Things


I’ve been tagged by Lori to share 6 weird things about me.  I think I’ve done this before but I have an endless list of weird things about me so no worries!

1.  I’m a lazy perfectionist.  I hate to do things half-assed – I would rather not do them at all.  For example, my bedroom needs cleaned.  Badly.  But I haven’t had the time (okay, I haven’t felt like it) to do it right so instead of picking up a little, I ignore it completely.  Also the reason I’ve put off Sabrina’s life book for so long.
2.  I’m cheap with expensive taste.  I like nice things.  I will immediately gravitate toward the most expensive thing in the store.  But I hate to spend a lot of money on things. I’m always looking for a bargain.  All of my higher end name brand clothing has been purchased off the clearance rack.

3.  I get on kicks with food.  I will decide that Triscuts are the best thing in the world and eat them non-stop for a month.  Then I won’t touch them for 6 months.  I’ll take the exact same thing to work for lunch every day for a month and then turn my nose up at it for months before it sounds good again.

4.  When someone asks what my favorite _____________ (fill in the blank) is I have to qualify it in so many ways that it loses all meaning.  My favorite flower?  Tulips.  Unless we are talking about for a vase of flowers then it is Gerber Daisies or Roses depending on my mood.  Favorite color?  Depends on the situation. For clothing it might be red (depends on the garment), for paint it is usually yellow (depends on the space), it also depends on my mood.

5.  I love to eat ice – much to the chagrin of those around me.  I can always tell when I am anemic because that is when I crave ice.  (I don’t know what the link is…but I’ve had people in the medical profession tell me it is true.)  I will get drinks at specific gas stations/convenience stores based on who has the best ice (Circle K in Ohio has crushed ice – LOVE it.)  Last year I wasn’t very anemic and almost never ate ice.  I’m back at it so I’m guessing my anemia is back…I’m due for some blood work so I’m sure I will find out if this is true.  Hello iron pills!
6.   I will avoid trends just to be difficult and then discover them after the craze is over and realize I was missing out.  When cell phones first became so popular? I refused to get one.  I hated the idea of anyone being able to reach me at any time.  Now?  We don’t even have a land line – cell only.  And I love my Razr.  I’m thinking maybe next year I’ll check out those MP3s that everyone has been talking about.  Heh.

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New Pictures


We got photos last night of Miss Sabrina.  Love these photos – they show her personality so much better than the doctor visit photos.

Chillin’ in the bumbo


Showing off her tummy time skills


And showing off that charming smile


Man, I miss her.

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Working on it…


I am working on getting the Secret Blog Pal assignments out tonight. I may not finish until tomorrow so if you don’t hear from me by tomorrow evening, please let me know.

**All SBPs have been sent.  If you did not receive an email, please let me know and I’ll resend.  If I sent you 2 or made some other mistake, please let me know!

Also, per your requests, the photos of the earrings now link to the auctions. Please, no pity bids…but you are more than welcome to bid if you like.

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Funky funk


**I wrote this before I read all of your kind comments about the earrings – you all make me smile more than you know!  Thank you.  

I’m a little concerned.  I’m in a funk and I can’t shake it.  I am leaving in 27 days to visit Sabrina and I can’t get excited.  All I can think about is how hard it will be to leave her knowing I might not see her again until May.  Yes, I know I need to focus on the good and enjoy my time with her – I ‘m saying at this point I can’t.  I don’t know why but my brain won’t focus on anything except the fact that when I hand her back in February, it might be 3 months until I can hold my sweet girl again.  And it makes me cry every single time I think about it.  Seriously – crying as I type this.  I need to switch to waterproof mascara until this whole thing is over. 

I am normally very emotionally aware and in control.  But I feel really out of sorts this week and to be honest it makes me uncomfortable because it isn’t familiar territory.  I don’t know what to do with my feelings about Sabrina not coming home for months.  I can’t intellectualize and compartmentalize them like I can most things.  I can’t change it.  I can’t do anything but wait for it to end so that grief and pain will go away.  I also haven’t been able to truly deal with losing my dad.  I am in big denial about that.  My sister gave me a box of some things from his office and every time we talk she asks if I have gone through it yet.  I brought it inside and put it on a shelf in the basement and have been ignoring its existence ever since.  My step-mom wants to talk about what of his I want every time we speak on the phone.  I can’t do it.  I don’t want mementos right now – they just bring pain.  I know someday they will make me smile and be important to me but that day isn’t here yet.  I’m usually the strong one in the family so no one is quite sure how to deal with my hiding from all of this.  

Please don’t worry about me…I am not falling into depression – not trying to send out an alarm.  I am just someone who is used to being able to handle most anything that comes my way without too much effort.  This is all just beyond my normal bag of defense mechanisms.  I know there are people out there who are dealing with much more than we are…I am just sharing where I am at right now.  

I tell you this, dear blogworld friends, not because I expect anyone to offer sage advice (although I always welcome input) or solve my problems.  I put this out there because writing sometimes helps me think things through and because I am trying to offer an honest record of my experience with international adoption for those readers out there who are just beginning as well as for myself.

Arm twisted


I’ve had several people email me or comment that they would like to see the photos of the earrings I put up on Ebay. I’m still not posting a link to them because I really don’t want to make my readers feel like they should go buy them to make me feel good (yes you all are just that nice – don’t deny it). And because there are about 80,000 pairs of earrings up for sale I don’t feel like posting the photos is tantamount to posting the links. I had to laugh, Steve went looking for them and couldn’t find them because there are so many jewelry auctions.





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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!


What brightens these dark, dreary, no-holiday-weekend-in-sight days of January?  There is only one thing…GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!  That’s right – it is Girl Scout cookie time!  *Happy Dance*  It seems  a little earlier than usual but I’m not complaining.  I arrived at work yesterday to find an order form on the table in our kitchenette.  I quickly ordered many boxes: samoas, tagalongs, thin mints!  Oh the joy! 

Girl Scouts?  They are like little crack dealers.  They started selling through their parents at work.  Then they started knocking on your front door to peddle their wares.  Now?  After cookie delivery, they set up tables at the grocery store bringing those little pieces of sugary heaven right to you!  No waiting!  The genius!  I know where they set up and can score a fix anytime I need one. 

No, I don’t think I have a problem. No need to schedule an intervention.  Here are the classic signs of addiction:
* Changes in friends. Hanging out with a new crowd.  I wouldn’t say I’m hanging out with the Girl Scouts…although I used to be one of the gang club.
* Reclusive behavior – long periods spent in self imposed isolation.  I like to be alone with my cookies so I don’t have to share…I don’t think that is wrong.
* Long, unexplained absences. I just had to run down to the store and score some more cookies.
* Lying and stealing. Nope.  I pay for them. Although I did steal borrow $10 from Steve’s wallet last year to pay for my habit cookies.
* Involvement on the wrong side of the law.  I try not to speed too much on my way to get more cookies.
* Deteriorating family relationships.  Nope – Steve loves it when I bring home cookies.
* Obvious intoxication, delirious, incoherent or unconscious. An obvious sign of opiate and narcotic abuse is the tracks of needle marks normally found on the upper arms of users.  Hey man, all I’ve got is some crumbs and a sugar hang-over.
* Changes in behavior and attitude.  Um, yeah – I’m euphoric and giddy!

It is only for a very short period every year and it doesn’t hurt anyone.  I can quit anytime I want…or when they are gone for the year – whichever comes first. Besides, it is for the children.  Heh.

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