Saturday, October 31, 2009

I haven't shared this with many people, since it was so painful that I honestly didn't want to remember it. It wasn't any one's fault, nor do I blame anyone, well, I do but more on that later...

In order to understand this story, you will have to go back several years. It was very soon after I decided to adopt a second time, and I had whizzed through my paperwork and although I had started my second adoption in January, I was quickly paper-ready to review or receive a referral...I went to the offices of COH and was able to review the files of 5 different children. Girls. Babies. My social worker and document specialist told me that I would only be able to get the information packet for one child. So we spread the pictures out on the table and I sat and stared at the faces of these darling little ones. One was quickly eliminated due to her age. If I remember correctly, she was around 18 months old. Another child was eliminated because she was Tartar or Roma, and would look very different than Anna and myself, and I wanted this new little one to blend in with us without looking like the child that was "adopted." Then I was left with three little girls. Two of the little girls were in Komsomolsk Na Amur and the other was in Khabarovsk.

I really wanted to go back to Komsomolsk, but one of the children had a minor disorder that I was unsure of, and the other two little girls were equally precious. My choice came down to choosing the youngest child. So, as a group we agreed that I would take the video, medical records, and other relevant information. Being a second timer, I knew that I had a few days to think about this and contemplate what I would do.

I took the video home and watched it over and over, I emailed the video to a few friends for help and sent it off to an international doctor for his review. This little gal was born premature at 32 weeks, and weighed just over 5 pounds. That was a concern, but I knew I was willing to listen to the doctor's advice and then rethink everything! His report was positive and I accepted this little gal. This was at the beginning of April.

That year, was the dreaded year that all agencies licenses expired. The Russian Ministry of Education had not yet written the new requirements for reapplying for their licenses to perform adoption work, so everyone knew that year was going to be very tough...Looking back, I don't think anyone thought it would be as long as it was.

My agency agency's license expired in May.

My documents were sent to Russia in the first part of April and at the middle to end of April I began to worry and push my agency for answers. By then I was in love, that sweet little face was burned into my memory and I could imagine all the fun that she would have with Anna. I got frustrated and did some undercover spy work, and contacted my friend in Russia about my little one. She let me know that she was still on the database and would not come off of the registry until the end of May. Meaning, I could not travel to meet her until then, meaning my agency would have no license, meaning, I couldn't go meet her. I couldn't tell my agency that I knew when this child was scheduled to come off of the registry, since they hate it when we go around them, so I was stuck to ask pointed questions and push them to ask more questions to the coordinator.

The day before my agency's license expired(along with countless others) I called my agency's director and blew up. I told them what I knew and refused to share how I knew it..I cried and screamed and let them know that I couldn't wait for an unknown amount of time for the Russian government to decide how to re-accredit agencies with this little gals face in my head. I couldn't walk around living my normal life knowing that there was a precious little gal who I had fallen in love with, languishing in an orphanage.

At the time, there was a middle man/company associated with COH and this mm/company tended to lie to COH and so although the COH staff may have wondered if this middleman was a dishonest man, they couldn't prove it, so they had to tell us wild stories to explain events that were out of the norm. COH's hands were tied to this mm/company and as much as they wanted to work directly with the regions, this mm/company wanted ultimate control of information. It was a very terrible time. For a while I didn't know if I could still travel to meet the child since my documents were submitted prior to the expiration of COH's license. For a while everyone was in limbo as to what the regions would do. Ultimately, Khabarovsk decided to stop everything. No first trips, no court trips. Yes, there were those who had already traveled to meet their children who had to wait for their agency to get their license reinstated. At the time, many families waited hoping that "any day" the Ministry of Education in Moscow would outline the plan for agencies to apply for their license. After many months, most agencies steered their families to the agencies whose licenses had not yet expired. After even more months No agencies were technically able to work.

This left me completely out of luck. As far as Russia knew, the little girl that I had fallen in love with was never promised to me. I had no legal right to meet her, visit her, love her. So as with many families, I lost her.

I was okay for a while, but then she disappeared from the Russian database. Then I knew that she was with another family..Maybe Russian, maybe a family from another country. I was happy that she had found her family, but sad for myself.

Then while looking at Khabarovsk's list of available children recently, I saw the face of a little girl that I knew. It was her and I was devastated. She had much more hair, and was lots bigger, but her eyes were just the same. It was her. The happiness of knowing she was with a family had long since conquered my sadness about losing her. And now seeing her back on the registry meant that what seemed like a permanent home for her turned out to be only

temporary. If there is one thing I have learned through adoption, its that the heart can be broken on many different levels. Curious levels. Knowing there is nothing I can do, knowing that she is waiting, wondering what happened, all break my heart on many of those curious levels.
So what do I do now? Where is this going?
I can only pray for this child who slipped through my hands. Please pray that someone will love this child. Pray that my heart won't break for her anymore.
So much has changed in the years since all of this. No longer do agencies get packets of information with videos, medical reports, and photographs. Pretty much everything about adoption has changed.
I understand that this loss brought me to AugustRose, and that makes me happy. Not choosing one of the others saved me from a year of devastating waiting for the system to catch up..And after being home a few months, I went to an Easter party at the Russian Embassy. While there, I met a family who had adopted a little girl from Komsomolsk. It was the little girl who was just a few months older than the gal I lost. It brings me such happiness to know that my choice to go with the younger child meant that family could find their perfect child!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

She Wasn't Who I Wanted..

I knew there was a child available. I knew this child was in Novosibirsk. I knew that she was very healthy and off the data bank. I knew she was 15 months old. My agency had never worked in this region prior to my adoption and I was asked to travel to meet the child with only the information about her health. I jumped at the chance. At the time, I secretly thought if it wasn't a match, I would request another referral. In my mind, it was 'win-win.'

When I agreed to be the guinea pig for my agency, I went straight to the federal data bank and started to look for the little girls that were around 15 months old. I found 3 or 4 but was able to eliminate a couple, because they were either Eurasian, had siblings, or looked as though they were ill. So I made my travel arrangements and the trip was set. Just prior to leaving to meet this little girl, I got an email titled, "Here She Is." I opened the email and my heart sank. These are the two photos that were attached.

The first thing I saw were her ears. Oh those ears. Then as I looked further, I fell farther out of love. She was odd looking and she had blue eyes. Because Anna has very dark brown eyes, I felt like that was what this child should have.
I called the BFF, Martha and asked if my agency was punishing me? Why would they think I could bring home this sad looking little child? How could this be? But in my endless googling I had found a website specifically highlighting the available orphans in Novosibirsk. I went back to the couple of girls that I thought my referral could be, and realized that SHE was one of them. I can remember when I saw the other site, I said, "Aw, Look, I bet that little girl has big ears, so they put a headband on her! Going back and forth, I began to see that my referral wasn't so photogenic and I needed to get over myself. Here is the photo that made me take the trip.

Upon meeting my gal, I was blown away by her beauty. She was long and lean with the most stunning blue eyes. She was 16 months old, and looked like she was 3 years old. Her fine motor and gross motor skills were way ahead of my big girl's skills at that age. Here we are in the moments that we met. She was tentative, yet warmed up nicely.

We got back to Novosibirsk quickly and had AugustRose in our arms on Thanksgiving Day of 2007. She was 18 months old. Everything I had for her to wear was a wee bit short. She looks small here, but she was a giant!
(1st Meeting with Grandma)
Can you figure out why I posted these two photo together? Do you see the common link? It's the bracelet. Both girls loved it and held onto it every time we were together. For some reason they both liked to try and put it on their feet, and both girls loved to snap it open and closed.

Once in Moscow, Anna took some funny photos of us. My sister flew to Moscow to meet us. Thank goodness, since just before leaving for my court trip is the precise time that I injured my back. (so if you are adding it up yes, it has now been two years of aggravation.)

I bought tons of this chocolate because AugustRose resembles this little gal!

Anna took this...I think she was telling me to bend down! At least I hope this pose wasn't what I thought made me look thin!

I took this at Gum. I am not sure what Anna is doing, but if you look closely, my AugustRose was just about to reach her arms out for me. She was still only wanting her mama.

I can't believe it's been two years together. AugustRose is so much more complex than her sister. She can be as silly as a circus clown, and can fight like a cornered tiger if she needs to. Adopting her changed the dynamics of our family in more ways than I can explain. It has been much tougher than I imagined, but it has also been more precious than I realized it would be. AugustRose is extremely bright and can read several words already. She colors in the lines and can nail a nail into a 2X4. She has perfect pitch when she sings, and makes up songs almost everyday. She doesn't like pet names, and even today when I called her "sugar-baby" she said, "I am not a baby." She has an independence about her, sort of an aloof attitude towards many things, but always wants to hold my hand or ride in the stroller when we go out in public places. She adores her Dadushka and I am pretty sure she thinks he is superman...
Everyone in my family says that she is the "spitting image" of me when I was little. Funny, every time she stomps her foot and replies "Never" when asked to do a chore, I hear how much like me she is...
With AugustRose, I have found that I am much more laid back. Her spirit is strong and I dig that about her. Looking back, I am sad that my first reaction to my girl wasn't a great one, since I was so wrong..Maybe that first image made me think she wasn't who I wanted, But God Knows how much I love her now. So tomorrow at our 2 year post placement appointment I look forward to sharing my baby's special gifts. But shhhh, don't tell anyone I called her a baby!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wellness Is Just Within Our Reach

This is what my gal looks like when she's sick...Her dark brown eyes, just have their sparkle..

Because my sweet sugar baby has only been in the house and laying , I felt sorry so I took out one of her Christmas presents, (her Princess Jammies) and gave her a little "sick girl" treat. AugsutRose started to fake cough and hold her head, so of course she got hers too!

Anna has been on Tamiflu for 3 days now, and I am able to keep her fever right at 100. We are taking Tylenol and Motrin in regular intervals. She still has a slight headache, and complains only of being tired. She lays around a lot. It's funny that when my gals are sick, my momma skills kick into a different level. I feel way more weepy, and way more mushy! I took a bath with my girl, and washed her hair, and gave her a little back massage. She eats that up. I have this little foot sponge that has soap in it. It has a hard and soft side, and smells so good. So today in our tubbie, I washed my girlie's beautiful little feet.

My childhood BFF, Lee and I talked about how when we were little and sick, our moms put us into bed, give us Tylenol and that was it. Sickness was a time to heal. That's was it, no back rubs, no laying together, no extra lovin'. But for both Lee and I, we feel like sickness is a wonderful time to bond with our kids, and show them how to be compassionate. We also want our kids to feel the comfort from us when they are sick. My mom is now very sick. She was tested and does not have the Swine Flu. She does however have pneumonia. So she will need a few days on her own to heal. I think all of her extra help she gives to me, is catching up with her. My back is still fried, and I haven't heard from my doctor yet. I have been studying my own MRI, and it appears that I have a whole lot of light and dark spots, and that's about all I can understand. I guess that's why doctors get paid the big bucks. I have had a lot of tingly, numb, and jittery feelings in my face and my chest. Not my heart, but my upper body. I am obviously on edge about my baby being sick, but I swear this is not just an anxiety thing. I just wish I could pinpoint what this is.

The good news is my condo is officially on the market. Now, pray it sells quickly! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for me, my baby, and now my condo selling!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another GreenGirl is Down...

Anna has the swine flu. The school called me today and said she had a 103.9 fever. Needless to say, I called super grandma who was at the school in record time and took my sweet sugar bear to the urgent care center. I left work in tears and met them there.
The doctor did the nasal swab and shared that the flu that is going around, is not the seasonal flu, and that 90 percent of it is the swine flu. So, she tested positive, and he gave us a prescription for Tamiflu. Anna had no traditional flu symptoms. Yesterday when I came home she said she had a headache and actually went to sleep at 5-ish. I woke her up for a tub and she continued to complain of a headache so I gave her a couple of Tylenol Meltaways. When she woke up this morning she said her headache was gone. The doctor said that since that was the only symptom, we had to watch that single symptom for signs of decline or improvement. I was told that after she took 4 doses of the Tamiflu her fever should be lower. He said if it ever got above 100 after the 4 doses, she needed to be taken to the emergency room. He was very firm, and gave me a list of items that I needed to have. He told me to get both Motrin and Tylenol, he wanted her to have at least one full glass of Pedialite each day while on the Tamiflu. And he did say that if she began to have diarrhea and vomiting, she would need to go to the emergency room. He was fantastic with the information, and said to keep her out of school and in the bed for at least 5 days.
I am hoping to hear about my MRI results tomorrow. It isn't any better, and I can't keep taking Vicodin and muscle relaxers for too much longer. They tire me out, and I am ready to pick out more funky paint colors and put the GreenGirlz touch on the walls around here.

I have to share it once again, that my parents are real angels. Seriously, both of these people mortified me when I was a teenager. I actually wished for boarding school when I was young. But now, I am not afraid to admit that I need these two. I cannot imagine my life and my girls lives without their constant presence. I know that God has blessed me with them as a gift, so I know I owe the big guy!
My dad has his house for sale in Florida. Yes, the beach house is on the market! BUT giving up that home means my dad can be with us more. Since we moved, my girls have gotten so used to having him around, that we can't go back to seeing him every few months.
Sometimes, I tend to want to do things on my own, you know, being a grown up and all...But I have been so comforted by my dad's "handyman" type of projects around the house, and of course knowing my mom has the girl's school and dance classes taken care of is another God send.
So we are resting and "belaxing" as AugustRose says, and hoping for wellness soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Better, Just Less Crazy

So what makes a gal feel better after having a meltdown in the MRI office? Well, it's a brand new double oven made just for me.

And to go along with that double oven is a delicious big giant frij with a freezer on the bottom. It wasn't here five minutes before Anna started to put her magnets and photos on it.She didn't even get all of the plastic off.

And the new cushions for our sweet little love seats arrived on the same day. AugustRose and Anna love them. The room looks like a Lily Pulitzer ad.
It wasn't intentional, but I guess "You can take the girl out of Florida, but you can't take the Florida out of the girl."

(This is the REAL AugustRose)

And here is the playroom in its current state. We have to get ride of the horrible yellow flooring. The room is getting measured this week for whatever I end up choosing. I will make the decision soon, as in when I am told how much I need and how much each kind of flooring will cost. I am leaning towards carpet lately. It is very chilly down in this room, since it is the basement, and I would love some bright pink carpet. Yes, I said bright pink. Listen folks, this room is for my girls. I want them to LOVE it...It will keep them home with me, instead of wanting to go over to other kids' houses. We will see.
*And about the whole back problem, crazy girl, need some meds thing, I GOT AN MRI TODAY. It was open, but not nearly as open as I would have liked it. It was very last minute, and I had no meds to calm me down, so I just made up songs to the rhythm of the MRI sounds.. We will see what the doc says when she gets my results. Man, I pray that my herniated disks is blown out so I can treat that more effectively. In some ways I think it is better for it to be worse!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Somewhere Between Crazy and a Tight Spot

I honestly think I could be very, very close to a breakdown of some sort. And not the kind you get when something is heavy on your mind, and all doors are closing, and all roads lead to somewhere awful, and all thoughts are terrible and distressing.
Because as many of you know, I have two great little girls, a lovely new home with lots of fun projects to work on, loving parents and a sis who support me at every turn, friends like Martha Stewart, (Missi) Lee, Berna, and Margaret, and a job that is actually pretty great this year.

BUT,the back issue brought me to tears at my job today. So much so, that I called my doctor and asked for a scrip for a new MRI. (mine is almost 2 years old) After I got home, my mom picked me up and drove me to the MRI shoppe. She drove me since I drugged myself on muscle relaxers and pain meds. So I get there, and go into the little room, and she shoved me head first into the tunnel. Now, I have done this twice before. Once for my back, and once on my brain. The brain scan was especially fantastic because I got to wear a halo thing, and the entire time I was thinking of dashed Olympic Dreams and singing "Richard's Window" in my mind. Somehow, I was throwing in Ice Castles too, but at that point I was just making odd connections.

Anyway, at 23 seconds, I felt my lips began to tingle, and my heart started beating really fast, and I lost it..I started screaming, and I irrationally thought I was going to die possibly. I think I thought the machine was going to collapse in on me, but my thoughts were racing so quickly, that I am not sure what exactly I was thinking. I just know I was terrified and by the time the bed was wheeled out of the tube, I was sweating and crying. I couldn't gather myself, since I was so embarrassed, but more let down than anything else. I know that in order to get medial assistance with my back pain, I have to have this done, and I was let down that I couldn't do the thing I needed to do to make that happen. She got the other tech and they brought a little hand held oxygen tank, and gave me a litte toot of air, and I calmed down.

I kept apologizing to the tech who was explaining that she goes through this as well. I just can't believe that I couldn't make it through 20 or so minutes of something uncomfortable.
But what troubles me is that the tingling thing that happens to my lips is the reason that I had the brain scan, and I NEVER thought it was symptomatic of anxiety or panic. Now, I am thinking that all of the lip tingling, heart and arm fluttering, racing thoughts, the urge to pass out, the urge to cry for no apparent reason, just might be an anxiety issue.
So here I sit. If I wanted to, I could still burst into tears, two hours later.
Now, I will wake up tomorrow and try to get an appointment at the open MRI shoppe, but regardless, I will be asking for Valium, Zanex, and hell, if it calms me down, throw some vodka in the mix!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Waking Up With

I am here to tell you that I WILL walk into an ER somewhere in the next few days, and demand that they rip my spine out, replace it with a PVC pipe, and be done with it...I have a scrip for physical therapy, but with my late bell schedule, I would have to take time off of work to get there before they close. And right now, that is not going to happen.
On a side note, my children are wonderful when I am sick or feel punky. They have messed up their rooms in EPIC form, and have actually cleaned them up, then messed them again.AugustRose came into my room in the wee hours of the night, and snuggled up for a good two hours. I left one of my windows open and it was cold in my room, and she kept whispering, Momma, You Ah Wahm...
(My girls have the oddest New Jersey accents)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's 1:30 in the morning and I am wide awake. My back went out while I was doing nothing. I had 8 injections in my spine 2 weeks ago, and they didn't work. Honestly, I lay face down on a table and take about 10 shots to numb the area, then 8 whopping injections into the lumbar and hip areas in order to make my life manageable, and yet today, it wasn't manageable...So vicodin and muscle relaxers and tons of diet coke have been my weekend diet. The combination makes me nauseous and so I add a lot of saltines to keep me from spending hours in the bathroom hurling.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Green is the new black

So you would think we would be completely moved in by now, but not so much. I have been focusing on the playroom and sort of stopped all movement when I realized I hated the floor much more than I thought I would.

Here are a couple of before and afters. This is the wall looking out to the small back yard..There is this odd vent area above the window and door, that didn't look nice at all. Even with a new paint job, you could see all of the bumps and bruises, so I did a little "stickering" and it looks much less obvious..

Here are my favorite items in the room. Our pink china cabinets..The girls have tons of nic-nax, just like their momma, and we needed a place for them. Some things we don't play with such as the snow globe collection. There are also our Russian collectibles. Items that could be replaced, so they can take them out with grownup help, but only sometimes...The other things are stuffed animals that were given to the girls at their baby showers. Again, we play with them, but only for a bit. The rest are books, and those are always out. I had to pack up two boxes of books and give them to Goodwill. They are just too worn out, and we need to replace them anyway with more appropriately leveled books.

This one was an old ugly brown thing that my mom and I painted..

This one I purchased just like this, before Anna came home.Notice there is a missing chunk of books from the shelf...They are all over the floor, cleverly that is not in the photo.

I love the green walls..They are much more lime than it appears..It is super happy, and blends so well with the pinks! I wish my new sofas were finished. I purchased a wicker love seat from Goodwill and had new cushions and pillows made for it. My mom had a similar wicker love seat and it's cushions and pillows are getting recovered. I chose 4 different fabrics that are lime yellow and of course pink. Actually Anna picked two of the fabrics. When I tried to get AugustRose involved she picked silver shiny sparkly fabric, so she was overruled! Now we are looking at flooring. I want carpet tiles, my dad wants wood laminate, my mom wants to take the floor back to concrete and have it painted..That way it can be hosed off when dirty! The final fun part is to give the room a name. I would love something Russian, but who would be able to say a long Russian word? Got any ideas???

On a completely separate topic, I got an email that it is time to do AugustRose's 2 year post placement..Wow, time has really been flying! We came home on December 1st two years ago..I can remember thinking that Christmas would be very Low Key that year, since I thought I would be in Russia for most of December..Who knew I would get my ten days waived!!