Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I can't stand the not knowing

I emailed GLA to inquire about the two little girls that may be related to Richnigthder and haven't heard a peep, boo, or a holler from them.  I also emailed Vivian and haven't heard back either.  I can't stand not knowing if these little girls might be Richnigthder's little sisters.  Even Marc is annoyed that we haven't heard anything.

If these little girls are related, we most definetly would move heaven and earth to bring them home to be our daughters.  Anyone have a contact at GLA that might be able to get the answer for us?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What if?

For several months now, we've contemplated growing the family thru adoption again.  I contacted Vivian, AKA, Adoption Social Worker Extrodinaire, and she explained how to start the ball rolling again.  Then we moved adoption plans to the back burner while we continue to wait and see if Marc will be moved again.  In the beauty of his job, they have the privilege to move you in the blink of an eye.  The big Kahunas are debating whether or not to close smaller offices and move all the agents elsewhere.

Decipher the last word: elsewhere often means, the border of the U.S. and Mexico.  That translates to worrying about Marc and his safety, and ours too, if we move to a hotbed of criminal activity.  So we have been trying to wrap our minds around the possible move and come to grips with moving from a house we've put our own touches on and now consider home.  We like it here and really don't want to move again, but you have to do what you have to do.  So we cooled our jets on the adoption until we figured out where we might end up by the end of the year.

Yesterday I was reading Dixie's blog at God's Littlest Angels.  She wrote about some of the new kids she has admitted to her creche recently and two little girls caught my eye.  Dixie wrote that  two missionary aides brought the two girls to her creche from Beaumont, Jeremie because the father did not think he could care for the little girls since the mother recently died.  Jeremie is the province where Richnigthder was born and lived before coming to our creche.  One little girl is about 5 and named Shelley and the baby sister is about 8 months old.  Richnigthder had a little sister he called (phonetically....She-lov)  she would be about 5 years old now too.  I put the picture from Dixie's blog up on the screen and just let Richnightder take a look.  I said nothing, except if he knew her?  He beamed and told me he thought that was Shelove.  Of course, I have sent emails to Dixie and Vivian and am waiting to hear back.  If this is Richnigthder's little sisters, then we will do everything in our power to bring these girls home.

So, what if these are his biological sisters?  It means his birthmother has died, just like Thomas' which I blogged about last week.  This stuff is far too complicated for a little tiny brain like mine.  A part of me hopes these are his little sisters and a part of me hopes they are not.  The part of me that feels relief if they aren't related feels tugged to bring them home anyway.  So many kids need homes.  What if no one ever brought these babies home?  What if I'm not on the right path in life and doing all I can to help the orphans of the world, particularly Haiti? 

What if, what if, what if?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Enough with the freaking gay bashing

I am so, so freaking tired of people bashing on gays.  I am tired of bible thumpers who claim to be living God's directives as dictated in the bible being malicious and cruel to people whom are simply living their lives as they feel they were born to be.  I believe one is born gay.  It is genetically encoded in them and that is simply how they are made, wait for GOD!

For God's sake, we are not talking about pedophiles or people who are making and selling drugs.  I'm talking about grown adults, who recognize and embrace who they are and do the best they can to live a life of kindness, generosity and overall, are just good people looking to have happiness and someone to love.  We have quite a few same sex couple friends, Marc has several gay cousins and we also have a couple trans-gendered friends.  None of these people are odd to us.  They are just average people who happen to love someone of the same gender.

I am also very proud to be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  Our church has officially stated that it allows a homosexual person in a monogamous relationship to hold pastoral positions.  It also openly supports people with different sexual expressions and recognizes that these people are in fact, children of God and are welcome to be members of ELCA Lutheran churches.  I am proud to have a pastor that seeks to develop understanding among small, rural families, that people who are different from their definition of normal, are indeed still worthy of love, acceptance and should be free from the hatred spewed out of ignorance or religious indignation. 

Nobody in this country should be forced to worship God at a church in which they do not feel comfortable, nor should they have to accept anothers views.  BUT, that being said, nobody should proclaim that they have the secret key to the pearly gates.  Save the fire and brimstone argument for someone who doesn't see God as benevolent.  I happen to believe God will welcome all his children home upon death....even if they are gay.  I have a fierce, but quiet faith in my soul and that brings me comfort.  Is that faith because I adhere to the word of the bible....the book that has been interpreted a gazillion different ways by a gazillion factions....or is is because I feel so deeply that God made each and everyone of us,,,even gay people? 

All I know is that in today's Christian world, gay equals bad and I find that abhorrent.  I am a Christian.  I am a believer in Jesus and I believe all of God's children, gay, straight, yellow or black or brown, will go to heaven.  Enough with the gay bashing and proclamations that the bible says its wrong.  The bible also says you shouldn't wear mixed/synthetic material and one should stone their child for cursing their parent.  So put on the cotton sack cloth and gather a bag of rocks.  I'm frustrated and needed to vent.  It's my blog, my thoughts and my right to spew my thoughts out into cyber space.  Many will not agree with my views.  That's ok.  Many will agree with me and that's ok too.  It really doesn't matter since there are so many more important issues to deal with in this world than whether or not someone is gay.

I know.  Let's talk about the million of orphans around the world who are hungry, lonely, and in need of loving arms.  Or how about the despicable state of our public education in this country.  Heck we could even talk about the millions of people without adequate health care in this country because they can not afford it.  See, there are lots and lots of other topics to discuss that are actually important and have some bearing on the future of our country and not one of those topics involves the weary old saga of Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.  Give me a freakin' break.  Give me Adam and Steve any ol' day over crabby old church ladies.  At least Adam and Steve will make me laugh and we can share a laugh and a drink.

Thank God for freedom of speech where I can share my thoughts, however unpopular they may be with the Christian/moral majority.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Allegra, why must you fail me now?

Our weather has sucked ginormous, rotten Ostrich eggs lately, is nice and it is supposed to remain pleasant for several more days.

The boys are on the trampoline and Madison is practing her jumping on Ka Ching and Lucki.  I just went outside to saddle up my horse and ride with Madi, but my allergies are so bad right now, that my eyes become like sandpaper, my mouth itches, I sneeze and in general am as miserable as a whore in church.  With all this rain and lush vegetation, my Allegra just can't keep up with all the pollen and allergens.  I just want to enjoy the nice days when the giant yellow ball of solar heat shows up and not have to lock myself inside,  BOOO HISSSS!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The death of a birthmom

Just the other day I blogged about the beauty and blessings of open adoptions.  Our adoption story with Madison's birth and her birth parents is one of great beauty and peace.  We love her birth parents and feel blessed to have them in our lives. 

Thomas' birth story is a little different.  His birthmom chose to not have ongoing contact with us or him, even though we desired it.  We don't know why she chose to close the adoption, but we guess that it was easier on her heart to not have to think about him and picture her gorgeous son be loved on by another mom and dad.  That's just a guess on our part and we could be wrong, but I know when we talked on the phone to her shortly after she delivered Thomas, she told us she was sure of her choice in us and that made her feel good.  We never had any contact with her after that phone call.

Periodically I would google her and see if I could figure out where she was.  She was a native of Louisiana but would sometimes live in Houston, which is where Thomas was born.  Last Friday I googled her and was shocked and grief stricken to have found her obituary.  I felt sick to my stomach and broke into tears.  A woman who I never met, yet love her flesh and blood son as a gift from God, had died 2 years ago and now Marc and I would have to tell our innocent son.

Adoption, regardless of how beautiful ALWAYS involves loss and pain.  Thomas has always grieved the fact that he did not know his birthmom like Madison does and has fictionalized the missing pieces of his birth.  These things are painful to him and to us.  I have hurt watching Thomas try to grasp why his birth mom didn't want to watch him grow throughout life or share in his development.  I am impotent to explain why she chose to make his adoption more difficult in our estimation.  Perhaps it was easier for her, but ultimately made our adoption experience with Thomas much more difficult and trying.

Yesterday, Father's Day, Marc and I sat Thomas down and gently told him that I had discovered his birthmom's obituary.  He didn't know what an obituary was and when I explained it, I saw the tears pooling in his eyes.  I held him and rocked him just like when he was a newborn and he wailed, sobbed and shuddered with grief.  His grief is so multi-layered that I have a hard time grasping it.  He is grieving for what he never knew, what he wanted to know, what he will never know.  He doesn't remember her voice, her touch, her scent.  He has so many unanswered questions that will remain unanswered forever.  He hasn't begun to even reconcile that these are now facts he must deal with.  For a child nearing adolescence, their world is confusing enough without throwing in to the mixture adoption, death and infinitely unanswered questions. 

Telling him about his birthmom's death was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do as a mother.  I've heard the words from someone else's mouth telling me my mom and dad were dead and it was horribly painful, but telling my fragile son about his birthmom's death was much more painful.  It ripped my heart out and made a lump in my throat that hurt so badly I could barely catch my breath.  I hated the fact that I had to hurt him with this news.  I hated the fact that his birthmom died and put me in this position.  I know that is irrational, but her track record of making poor choices during her pregnancy and subsequent decision to close the adoption compounded Thomas' struggles and ours as well.

We went to the nursey yesterday and let Thomas choose some trees.  He chose two apple trees that we will plant in our yard and create a small memorial rock garden to his birthmom's memory.  He'll be able to see it from his bedroom window and I hope it provides him some comfort.  I want the trees to bear lots of apples, thrive, grow tall and sturdy and be beautiful....all the same things I want for Thomas to embody in life and I'm sure the same things his birthmom wished for him.

Life can be so beautiful and yet so full of sorrow.  His birthmom gave him life, not necessarily the best start in life, but life nonetheless.  I am so grateful he is my son, even given his added struggles and feel hopeful that this is just one more sorrow in his life he will overcome, move forward from and become wiser and stronger.  For me however, shaking my irrational anger at his birthmom's death may take some effort.  I suppose my process of grieving the loss will be to let go of the anger and frustration and move forward into peaceful acceptance.  I can't do anything about the situation except support Thomas and understand this may send him reeling for some time to come.  Only time will tell.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The beauty of open adoptions

Angela and Madison at Angela's graduation with her Masters degree!

This post has been rolling around thru my brain for at least the last 3 years, or as long as I've had this blog.  As the title implies, our family finds beauty, comfort, and great love in having an open adoption with Madison's birth family.  I suppose I'll start at the beginning and take everyone along on our tale.

In January of 1997, Marc and I decided the time was right to grow our family from just the two of us to adding a wee one.  We always knew we would adopt and selectively chose to make our family exclusively through the gift of adoption.  We chose Heritage Adoption Services in Portland, Oregon and began to accumulate our paperwork, complete a home study and attend training classes.  By March we were pretty close to completing our dossier and after talking with our wonderful, WONDERFUL adoption social worker, Sue, we decided on domestic adoption of a newborn of any race.  Early in March, Sue began to bug me about completing our birth parent album and because I am a huge procrastinator, I failed to grasp the subtle sense of urgency in her nagging.

For about a week straight, Sue would call and gently ask if our album was complete....or even near completion.  For those unfamiliar with a birth album, it is a biography of the adoptive parents complete with pictures and letters written to a birth mom and is used by the birth parents to choose the adoptive parents.  So to say the album is critically important is an understatement.  It is something that you try to encapsulate your life, who you are and what you wish for their child should they pick you to parent their baby.  For us, the album was a labor of love.  We chose pictures that demonstrated who we were and what our lives' were like.  Needless to say, our album was a mixture of humor and frivolity.  We wrote our "Dear Birthmom" letter as though we were the birth parent and what we would find comfort, security and reassurance in.  Ultimately, if the positions were reversed, we would find great solace in knowing our child's adoptive family, and in having contact that reassured us in our choice and in affirming our decision.

Finally on a rainy Friday afternoon, I drove into Portland and delivered our album to Sue at the adoption agency.  I drove home knowing that from here on out, nothing could help us be placed with a baby quickly other than prayer.  Our waiting had begun.

On Monday afternoon, the phone rang and it was Sue.  She was calling to tell us that a birth mom had chosen our album and wanted to meet us.  Our wait had ended!  I don't remember how long it was before we went to meet the woman that had chosen us, probably several days, but it seemed like an eternity.  To say we were scared, nervous, excited or sick to our stomachs would be inept at capturing our feelings.  We prayed that the birthmom would like us in person and want us to parent her child.  We had no idea, that the birthmom would be afraid that we wouldn't like her, or find some reason to not want to parent her child.  How odd to realize now, that we both had the same emotions about meeting each other.

We met Angela towards the end of March at the adoption agency office.  I don't remember fear or nerves once I laid eyes on her.  The second, and I mean the very first second, I saw her, I knew I liked her.  Our meeting went very well and we agreed to meet again for dinner at Applebee's in Lake Oswego.  We met again and it was then, that I realized I would like her as a friend regardless of an impending adoption.  Angela and I continued to do fun things for the next several weeks to include having her over to our house to see the baby's room.  That was the first time she met our 3 Rottweilers, Molly, Gotcha, and Zedo.  She's a cat person, so seeing 3 large Rottweilers was a little bit of a shock, and maybe, just maybe it contributed to her going into labor.  It could have also been the Italian food for lunch or the Mexican food for an early dinner I force fed her.

Either way, about 11PM on April 16th, 1997 Angela called us to say she was heading to the hospital with 'indigestion' and wanted to know if we wanted to meet her at the hospital?  UM,'re giving birth to our baby and you seriously want to know if we want to be there or stay home in bed and watch the Late Show??  Of course we wanted to be there and jumped in the car, ran every red light and made it to St. Vincent's Hospital in about 2 and a half seconds.  She was being admitted when we got there and it turns out Angela was about to have a baby.

We wandered the halls with her to help her labor and would have been kicked out of the hospital if she wasn't in labor when we got off the elevator on the cardiac care floor and I asked what the stink was, Angela replied, "That's the smell of death!"  We burst out laughing.....the three of us, one wearing a gown and in labor and Marc carrying a box of kleenex since we would spontaneously burst into tears.  Angela gave birth to Madison at 8:30 in the morning, April 17th and Marc got to cut the cord and we were there to witness her very first breath of air on this planet.  She was so fresh from God; a perfect, gorgeous baby girl, placed into my arms as I stood next to Angela.  There we were.  Her two mom's forever locked in love all because of this sweet, innocent angel sent from God.

Our relationship with Angela is amazing.  Naturally we know she gave birth to our daughter, but I love her for a gazillion other reasons.  I love her sense of humor, her infectious laugh, her ability to use sarcasm, her indescribable joy of life.  She is very intelligent and we are immensely proud of her achieving her Master of Occupational Therapy and her dedicated work ethic.  Angela is a fabulous woman and when I try to explain to people how much I love her and enjoy being with her, I'm always surprised by people's reaction to our story and open adoption.  I've tried to explain that Madison was the instrument that brought us together, but that I love Angela like a little sister, a dear friend, someone whom I cannot imagine not having in my life.

Angela has been there at moments in my life to support me, that only God could have known that I would need her.  Angela was babysitting Madison and Thomas when she answered the phone at our house explaining that my Dad had been taken to the hospital.  She then called me to tell me.  She was also there the very last time I saw my mom alive.  It was her arms that held me and comforted me when I closed the door to the Alzheimer unit and broke into tears knowing I would never see my mom alive again.  How could anyone have foreseen that Angela would not only have given us our first born child, but become an integral member of our family.  She loves all my kids like she does Madison and treats them all like the fun auntie she is.

Madison has relished having Angela in her life.  From the little things like finding out what foods you both hate, to almost killing her with sun stroke, Madison has benefited from knowing her birthmom.  When I watch Madison walk, I see Angela in her footsteps.  I hear Angela's voice inflections in Madison's words and I see Angela's smile in Madison's face.  What tremendous gifts this beautiful open adoption has been.  Of course we also have a beautiful open adoption with Madison's birth dad, Darryl, but I'll blog about him another day.  Yet again, our relationship with him is a blessing and he is a wonderful, fantastic, handsome man that we adore.

For years I have wanted to share the tremendous love and respect I have for a dear friend/little sister named Angela who just happens to have given birth to my daughter.  From a gigantic universe, God brought us together and gave us the gift of not only a beautiful baby girl, but also a friend whom I trust with my life.  To all those nay-sayers who think open adoptions are bad news or confusing for the child, I ask you to look into your heart and see what beautiful experiences may just be waiting for you.  Our adoption has been so much more than I ever imagined.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The fastest way to flush $5000

Thomas had his braces removed in February. His gorgeous teeth were sparkling, stunningly straight and when he smiled they were a gleaming tribute to the money we invested in his oral health and appearance.  Since February, I have developed a new mantra.  At least 4 gazillion, bazillion times a day I ask Thomas where his retainers are.  At this point in his orthodontic treatment, the retainers should be in his mouth 24 hours a day and only come out when he is eating or brushing his pearly whites.

Since February, Thomas has lost his retainers too many times to count, only to have them turn up in some freakish place like, under his dresser, in the pocket of his jeans, the zippered compartment of my purse, in his sock drawer, the glove box of the car, a Big Mac box, the silverware drawer, the fridge in the bar downstairs and my personal favorite, on the pew in front of us at church.  In addition to losing them all the freaking time, the dog as eaten them twice.  The first time, we returned immediately to the orthodontist to have a new bottom retainer made.  He cautioned Thomas again about the need to keep his retainers in or his teeth would go back to their original crooked positions.

Unfortunately I was a little slow in realizing today that the snapping and crunching coming from behind the couch this morning was the dog chewing up his retainer....AGAIN!  Yes, I realize that Thomas has some struggles with cause/effect behavior, predicting outcomes, and remembering things, but I am PISSED OFF WITH HIS LACK OF CARE AND THE MONEY IT WILL CAUSE US TO SPEND...............AGAIN!  So in an effort to reduce my daily mantra reiteration, we are scheduling an appointment for Thomas to have at least one permanent retainer put on and perhaps a different retainer other than those Invisalign thingymabobs he's had.  At this point I'd be happy-as-a -woman-with-money-in her-savings-account to have the ugly wire retainers made that he'll be embarrassed to wear!

God grant me patience.  Madison gets her braces removed next month.  I can't deal with two kids and lost retainers.

Addendum: 12 Noon, Tuesday

The orthodontist explained that he is too young and his teeth too freshly out of braces to put a permanent retainer on.  I do have faith in the ortho and believe in his work so I will follow his advice and return for yet another impression and new retainer thingymabob made.  If the ortho had young children himself, I would completely believe that the Laurie family was solely responsible for putting his children thru college. 

To perpetuate the fun I was already having today, one of the Rottweilers went into Thomas' bedroom, jumped up on his bed and took a ginormous wizz!  Looking at the pool of pee, I believe the mattress is a total loss and will head out shortly to go buy a new one.

Monday, June 13, 2011

No need to remind Marc, but it never hurts

I saw this at Hobby Lobby this morning and knew it was meant for me.  I really, really love my husband since we have lived by this motto since before our marriage. Have I said how much I love him?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Though miles separate, it's the little things that keep us connected

The past couple of weeks have been weird around here.  There hasn't been a rhythm to life and we've lacked a sense of normalcy.  Life in Bismarck has been chaotic with the flooding and our days at home have been messed up with the lack of school.

We've had accidental injuries, changes of plans at the last minute, issues to deal with involving one of our kids and his ongoing struggles with balancing his behavior and lots and LOTS of broken things around the house that Marc has had to fix.

In a has sucked the past 2 weeks.  Not sucked as in life or death problems, but more like the kind of problems that give you a rash or like wearing an ill-fitting bra.  It gets the job done, but man, does it rub, pinch, bind and just plain old make life uncomfortable!

But today I got something in the mail that made me smile.  It was from Corey and it was a lovely little note that let me know she knew my life has been out of whack for a while and she included a little button to wear.  The button sums it all up.  It simply says, "The older I get, the more everyone can kiss my a$$"  Miles and miles separate us, but it sure feels good to know others are thinking of me and get my atypical life. 

Hugs and kisses to my dear Soul Sisters.  We are a unique group of women who get each other and it's good to know that although we are separated by great distances, we share a common thread and bond.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Can I Just Say......

that nothing ever goes as planned.  I'm willing to bet, many of you understand and sympathize.

To quote pirate Jack Sparrow, "Aaaarrrggghhhhh!"