An emotional 2011

So far this year has been an emotional one.  I’ve suddenly become totally fixated on the adoption.  For almost 2 years now (since we started our homestudy) I’ve been cool and collected.  We had a list of things to get done before we could add another kiddo to the household.  I needed to complete the surrogacy (done 9/09 with the birth of the adorable baby Sera);  I needed to finish graduate school (done 3/10 with the completion of my graduate program); I needed to get my teacher’s license (done 4/10); I needed to find a job (done 7/10 with my awesome job);  The Hubs needed to start school (done 6/10 with his starting one of our state universities).  That’s it.  Those are all the goals I had set out for us to complete before bringing King home.  All of them have been completed and now I have nothing else to focus on.  I mean, sure, I could focus on work, on the other kids, on life in general……but what good would that do?  I’ve tried to join more adoption groups, find more adoption blogs, connect with other waiting parents, etc. in the hopes that I could find some peace.  It hasn’t worked.  I contacted our agency this past week telling our contact just how frustrated and discouraged we were becoming after the last 16 months of virtually no progress.  She replied with the rumor of some good news – well, potentially good news.  News that could means we travel in the next 6’ish months.  I was on cloud nine when I read her email and as it sunk in a little more, I became very anxious.  Suddenly I feel like there’s so much we need to do – so much we need to talk about before we bring him home.  Issues of disclosure (not here obviously, but IRL), issues of culture, issues of language – all the most important aspects that come along with internationally adopting an older child with special needs.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve touched on these things over the last 2 years and they were the subject of our pre-adoption education hours, but it always seemed as though we’d have more time to make the decisions that would affect our lives, and most importantly his life, forever.

Regardless of whether or not the rumor is true, we have Christmas photos and letters from King to look forward to next week from the orphanage director.  It’s going to be a rough year for my tear ducts either way!

Goodbye 10am wake ups

Today was the last day of my winter break from work. I just had 2 weeks off and it was great. Don’t get me wrong, I have the best job – quite possibly the perfect job for me – but it was still awesome to get 2 weeks off. And no matter how much I love my job, it’s still going to be tough to roll my tired carcass out of bed at 7:15a. I was getting quite well aquatinted with 10a wake ups but for now I have to say goodbye. Don’t forget about me 10a, you’ll see me tomorrow in my classroom teaching a math lesson, not in bed.

A Year in Review – 2010

This is my 5th year doing a “Year In Review” post and really, they’re one of my favorite times of the year.  Seeing life day-by-day you don’t realize the changes that are made over time.  In a recap, 2006 was the year Sissy came home from VN, 2007 was the year Lolee was born, 2008 I started graduate school, in 2009 things were very busy – we first laid eyes on King, I gave birth to a surrogate baby, and The Hubs got a promotion, and now we’re into 2010, which seems to be the year that people can’t say goodbye to fast enough.  I’m thankful to say that 2010 was a good one for us overall but I am excited to see what 2011 has in store!


This whole year has been pretty amazing for Dee and his skills as a human being.  In the final months of 2009 we made the tough choice to medicate him for the ADHD we always knew was there.  After years and years (and I mean close to 5 years) of diet restrictions and lifestyle changes, he started public school and let me tell you, it was rocky.  That year his December conference indicated he was “at risk of not passing” benchmarks across the board.  While I’m never one to think that children should fit into the boxes of institutionalized education, he was not happy and I am one to think that kids should be happy with the interactions they have with the people in their lives.  This has been Dee’s first year of medication and it’s been pretty amazing.  After a few rough trials with different medications, we settled on a non-stimulant that he’s really excelling on.  He’s gone from “at risk” to “at ‘no’ risk”.  Of course there’s always room for improvement, but he’s already reading above grade level (just a couple of months into the 2nd grade.)  We’re very proud of him and all the work he’s been doing.
This summer we took a break from swim lessons and Dee learned how to ride his two-wheeler bike.  He was so proud of himself!  If you asked Dee what he wants to be when he grows up, he’ll answer you with, “FBI agent or chef”; although I’m pretty sure it’s just because he’s been watching too many X-Files and Hells Kitchen episodes with us.

Dee in early 2010:

Dee in late 2010 (he’s been pretty elusive):


This is Sissy’s first year at full day school.  Last year she struggled to count to 10, this year she’s doing math and reading books.  How does that happen??  Her teacher conferences are full of “I love this kid” and “she’s my biggest helper”.  Meanwhile, at home we’re hitting attitude central.  She saves it up all day and comes home to be a diva.  Love that girl but she’s a 6 year old girl.  Why didn’t anyone tell me what 6 year old girls were like?  In all honesty, she’s our family sweetheart – diva attitude aside.  She made to be a singer (even though her tune bucket may have a couple of holes in it) and a dancer (even though she may wear two left shoes.)  This year she’s become even more interested in what makes our family different and talks all the time about us going back to Vietnam to visit where she was born.  We’re working on that.
Like Dee, Sissy learned how to ride her two-wheeler this summer, even if she is a tad less confident.  If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she’ll tell you she wants to be a hair stylist – making people beautiful.

Sissy in early 2010:

Sissy in late 2010 (really this is mid-2010 but I just love this photo!):


In years past, Lolee has won our “most changed family member” award for the year but this year I think she’ll be passed up.  While she has changed, she’s doing a lot more maturing than physical growing.  This year Lolee turned 3.  We tried to potty train her off and on all year but she was just not picking it up – all until September when on her birthday we told her she was suddenly too old for diapers.  She simply replied with an, “ok”, and that was that.  No accidents since.  That little punk was ready for months but just too stubborn to do it.  That’s my girl.  Daily she uses phrases like “you’re rude”, “Sissy’s being a pain in the butt”, and “I’m just so frustrated, I can’t think straight”.  We crack up regularly at her thought process.  For example, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she replies with “I want to be a rabbit – a rabbit who eats all the food.”  What can you say to that?  The answer:  Nothing, you can’t say anything in reply to that.

Lolee in early 2010:

Lolee in late 2010:


I wish I had more to report about King’s development this year but sadly, 2010 wasn’t the year we got a chance to meet him, as we’d hoped last year.  I can tell you that he turned 7 this year, also learned how to ride a two wheeled bike, and probably spent Christmas hoping for the two front teeth he lost in November.  We’re hoping that this year will be THE year.  King’s child history still hasn’t been completed so we are still an unknown number of months away from traveling to Thailand.  We hope 2011 will be our year.

King in early 2010:

King in late 2010:


Of course Bogart is the winner of our family’s “most changed” award.  I love this dog.  We have tried dogs before but it did not go well.  Bogart was our last chance at being dog people and it was a success – finally.  Bogart was born in July and came home with us Labor Day weekend.  He’s been to puppy kindergarten and can do all your standard “sit”, “stand”, “shake”, “high-five”, and my personal favorite, “bang”, where he plays dead.  He went from being born at just over 1 pound to now tipping the scales at just over 60 pounds and he’ll double that before the end of 2011.  He’s our big boy.

Bogart when he came home in Sept:

Bogart at 5 months old:

Me and the Hubs

This year was a biggie for the two of us – I graduated grad-school and I got a job, The Hubs quit his job and started school.  We’d be working towards this goal for several years, it was amazing to see it all come together.  Grad school was a great experience and actually finishing has truly been bitter-sweet. Having worked for year and years towards a career it’s become so strange to get paid for it now.  All I can think about is “when can I start my PhD program?”  Don’t get me wrong, the first 6 months at my job has been awesome; I have taught some of the most amazing kids I’ve ever met; My first class of graduates is starting college on this coming Monday!; I wrote the first curriculum our program has ever had; I’ve been blessed with amazing coworkers who are 110% supportive of the work I do……I’m just looking forward to being a student again.  The Hubs is of course loving being a student.  He started his program in June with the idea that he would go into renewable technology but last term changed his major to liberal studies in the hopes of working with soldiers facing combat related PTSD.
We’ve spent the last couple of weeks contemplating what our goals for 2011 will be.  So far I’ve come up with these:

– I’d like to finish my photography site (I’ve been working on this all year but have never really put the final touches on it)

– I want us to take more videos of the kids and compile a yearly “Year in Review” DVD for prosperity

– I want to blog more often.

– Matt and I would like to write more.

– I tried a 52/365 challenge last year but made the mistake of doing weekly posts that included photos from everyday – this year I will be doing one photo every Sunday that sums up the week as a whole.

– Matt wants to keep his GPA up.

– I’m going to try to do a Daily Joy posting (I’m stealing this from my friend Megan but will probably be posting it on my personal Facebook account although the real good ones I’ll be posting here.)  I want to work to be able to find the joy in even the toughest days.

– I want to work to become more kind.

– As a family we are giving up red meat for the year.

As always, we will be reevaluating our goals around Tet – give ourselves a month or so to try them on and see how realistic they are.  Thank you guys for all you’ve done to keep my spirits up this year.  See you next year!

2010 – almost over

2010 has come and (almost) gone, already.  Where does the time go?  Overall, I’ve been very lucky this year and have completed many of the “goals” I had for myself; I completed school and found a job with relative quickness.  Luckily I love my job and hope to be doing it for many years to come.  Sadly the biggest task on our “to do” list this year was bring King home, and, well, you all know how that’s going.  Sadly enough, despite all the progress we made this year as a family, and towards our ultimate goals, because we are missing that one HUGE piece, the year seems like a failure.  It was my mistake really.  When thinking of goals for a year you really shouldn’t add something to it that you have zero control over.

I’m already thinking of the things I have control over that I can add to next year’s list.  The Hubs is also working on his 31 before 31 list (which he’s been working on since he turned 30 – the first thing on his list will be “finish this list” and even then it’ll be a stretch!)

Here is my 2011 list thus far:

– Finish my photography site (I’ve been working on this all year but have never really put the final touches on it)

– Get a FlipVideo player and take more videos of the kids

– Compile a DVD of the year’s events from the videos

– Blog more often

I swear I had more on this list but I can’t remember them now – see why I needed to write them down?  We’ll see what else I can remember by Dec.

427 days

since we first asked to be King’s adoptive parents.

541 days since we started the process of our second adoption.

We’ve had ZERO progress since my last update.  Can you tell?

Small steps forward

Since my last post, nearly 6 weeks ago, things have been developing in small ways.  Sissy turned 6, I turned 28, we bought a dog, I got a job, The Hubs quit his job, and we still have no news on King’s paperwork.  Small measures of achievement but no real progress.  My heart is full and aching at the same time.

Sissy’s birthday was great.  She wanted a small family party with a slumber party afterwards but through a series of unfortunate events, her girlfriend canceled at the last minute.  With the neighbors out of town, we were led to a hastily organized trip to the water park and a family party at the InLaw’s.  She loved every minute of it and remarked regularly how much she loved turning six.

My birthday was less eventful.  The Hubs surprised me with a new iPhone 4 that he had ordered the first day of pre-order (over a month previous – how’s that for forward thinking?!).  It was awesome…or rather….it IS awesome.  I spent the actual day of my birthday having an interview with a local non-profit that serves at-risk youth in our community.  They were needing a new GED teacher – well not any more!  The next day I was called back for a lesson with the class and later that same day I was offered the position.  We were so grateful.  With public schools in the shape they’re in now, being a new teacher (while economically beneficial for school districts) is hard with the rules and contracts being enforced by the teacher’s unions.  Most school aren’t even looking at application for teachers who have less than 5 years experience teaching – I was entering the job market with 1 1/2 years of student teaching and a degree so new I feared the ink would smudge if I looked at it wrong.   Not only is this new job exactly what I wanted to be doing but the pay was just what we needed for The Hubs to be able to dedicate full time to school.  This is his last week before he is officially a fulltime student.  He’s so excited.  But let me tell you – working 40 hours a week is no joke.  I can’t remember the last time (if ever) I had a real job like that.  Oi, it can really take it out of you!

Now on to the cute factor:  Our newest-newest member is named Bogart.  He is a great dane pup who will be turning 5 weeks old tomorrow.  We have visited him twice are totally in love.  While he’s teeny-tiny now, in just a few short months he will be a small pony.  I will post pics as soon as he’s home for good.  The kids have been readying the house for his pending arrival.  To be honest, it has been a pleasant distraction from the worry of King’s paperwork hang up.  The hang up to which there seems to be no end.  It’s one of the most depressing things in adoption, to know that there’s a child out there who calls you mom but cannot be with you; a child who probably wonders every day why you aren’t coming to get him and bring him home.  I know everyone is well intentioned and we are SO thankful to have such a great support system but if I hear, “how’s the adoption thing coming”, or, “have you heard anything about King” one more time, I think I will scream.  And I hope the poor soul who is asking will forgive me when I do it.

Sigh.  I guess I’m off to bed now, after all, I have to be at work in the morning!! | 502: Bad gateway

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