Sunday, April 30, 2006

May First

I don't know about you, but I'm going shopping tomorrow after work...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Fingerprinted, Again...

Well, today's fingerprinting was for the 171H, but it is my second fingerprinting experience since this journey began. The wait was under an hour, but I was surprised at how busy the center was. The lady who took my prints was very interested in what I was doing. She asked me if my husband was having his prints done today, too. So, then I had to tell her a little bit of my story. There are so many people who seem to take offense at being asked about the adoption experience, but I feel like I have an opportunity to share a little bit about myself with another person, and perhaps open their eyes and heart to something they hadn't thought about before. Maybe I'll feel differently one day, but right now I'm happy to be an ambassador for adoption.

I've had this Carolyn Dawn Johnson song stuck in my head today. The lyrics just seem to fit this experience.

One Day Closer to You

So I'm not gonna worry
Cause I'm in no hurry
It's in the hands of fate
There's nothing I can do
Well it might be tomorrow
Or the one that follows
Got the rest of my life to look forward to
Cause every day is one step closer to you

Every day I pray that God will keep you safe
Cause I know you're out there somewhere

Friday, April 28, 2006

This Month's Referrals

AWAA (my agency) announced that they recieved referrals for 24 healthy baby girls this month. The babies range in age from 5 to 22 months old. I get the shivers when I think about the excitement and joy their new families are experiencing. What a wonderful way to start the weekend!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Remarkable and Tragic

My Aunt Patricia and Uncle Jack just returned from a couple of weeks in China. They traveled with a group from their church and visited several of the orphanages their church sponsors.

I talked with my aunt this afternoon and she told me the most remarkable and sad story.

On their last day in China, shortly before they were to go to the airport, they were walking near a train track. I don't know what city they were in. They noticed a toddler girl standing right by the train tracks. My aunt said the little girl's feet were nearly touching the tracks. Fifty people walked by and didn't stop to help her. So my aunt and uncle, and another woman in their group approached this little girl and picked her up. My aunt thinks she was between 15 and 18 months old. She was beautifully dressed and was clutching something in her hand that she wouldn't give up when my aunt tried to take it from her.

My aunt and uncle and the other woman took the little girl to security. Their Chinese guide told them she would be taken to a police station and her parents would be sought, but it is unlikely that they would be found. Eventually, she would be taken to an orphanage.

Why did so many people walk by and not notice this little girl all by herself? My aunt and uncle were told it's because if any of the Chinese had done so, they might have been expected to keep her.

Why was she dressed so well if she was being abandoned? My aunt said she was told that oftentimes the mother-in-law will take the child while the mother is away and leave her like that.

I'm just struck by the irony of the whole situation. Here they were visiting orphans, who at some point had been abandoned by their families, and then they witness an abandonment scene like that. I don't know what more to say.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weight Watchers

I just had my first experience with WW. I've never really dieted before, but the pounds keep creeping on and I've had it with them. I have a closet full of clothes that I cannot wear anymore, and I don't intend to replace them all. It's not the size that I'm hung up on. It's just that I would prefer to maintain my weight and not move up the scale another five pounds each year. After three or four years, it has really added up. Three weeks in France last summer didn't help, either!

Anyway, I've been wanting to do something for a while now, but I didn't think the amount I needed to lose would be taken seriously at a WW or any other weight loss program. So, I put it off. I talked with a friend at work, and she spoke very highly about WW, and I decided to give it a try. I like the points thing. I'm pretty good about writing things down and keeping track like that. Next Monday's weigh-in will show if it's effective for me, or not...

Ultimately, I want to be lean and healthy for my daughter. I want to have energy to play with her and take care of her, and as she gets older I want her to be proud of me. I don't want her to think I'm old and frumpy!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Fingerprint Appointment

I just received notice today that I can have my fingerprints taken anytime from now until May 6! I wasn't expecting to be given an appointment until they'd received my home study, so this comes as a pleasant surprise.

I don't have to go too far for the appointment, either - just to Bellflower. And they're open on Saturdays. I have plans tomorrow, so I'll get over there next Saturday.

Additionally, I spoke with the home study agency today and they expect to finalize and notarize my home study next week. They will then forward a copy to BCIS. As soon as I have my notarized copy, I'm going to send my documents off to the Secretary of State in Sacramento for certification. After that, I'm considering hiring a courier to take my documents to the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles for me. Anyone in Southern California used Assistant Stork, or any other courier service you'd recommend?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I read a few of these on other blogs before Jodie got to me. I didn't think I'd have time for this tonight, but the paper I was working on turned out to be a breeze. I wish they all were. So the topic of this tagging episode is "Six Weird Things About Me". Hmmm...

1. I've named all of my pets (since I've been an adult) after one pop icon or another. First there was the cat named Basia - remember her (New Day For You, late 1980s...)? Then there was Colvin the black lab/rotweiller mix named for Shawn Colvin (singer/songwriter... Sunny Came Home). Taylor was named for James Taylor, and Buffy was named for the Vampire Slayer. Oh, and I've already got names picked out for any future dogs I may have one day, well boy dogs that is. I'm not looking to get a new dog, though.

2. When I worked at Disneyland during my college years, I was a ride operator on Space Mountain. That's not weird. But after hours, we would ride Space Mountain without restraints, and we'd stand up and turn around. It was all so reckless! I'm not a reckless person, so I don't know why I did that. Peer pressure... I could have been killed!

3. I have to put lip balm on my lips before I go to sleep.

4. I don't like American Idol. It's too karaoke for me.

5. I used to laugh hysterically whenever my nieces were naughty. My sister really appreciated that (insert sarcasm), and I'm sure she doubts my ability to be an effective parent based on my prior reactions to her children's inappropriate behavior. What can I say? I wasn't the mommy, and they were really funny!

6. I lecture my students on boogers and farts at the beginning of the year. It's just easier to keep the flow of everything if I don't have to witness them "digging for gold", and if they don't upset their tablemates by letting one rip. They are advised to always use a tissue, or I'll bring the box to them. And if they feel gassy to go outside and act like they're getting something out of their backpack. That way, who will ever know what they're really doing? I think it's genius! And it's a practical response to years of working with children who do pick their noses and pass gas in class, if they don't have alternatives presented to them.

Okay, so now that I've disclosed so many personal things, I need to tag a few of you. If you've already been tagged, don't worry about it.

Cherry Blossom Baby
Seeking Sloan
To Tess and Back
The Markmiller Five

After you've posted your Six Weird Things, tag a few more bloggers.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter

I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. (Revelations 1:18)

Best wishes to all for a blessed Easter with your family and friends!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Girls' Day Out

I spent the day with my dear friend, Teresa. That's us above, back in the fall at Golden Gate Park. Teresa moved up to San Francisco about ten years ago. She visits Orange County several times a year to see her family, and I try to make it up to see her once or twice a year. She has a really good guy in her life, and they are always gracious hosts to me. They tour me all over the Bay Area and Wine Country!

Teresa and I have been friends since we were freshmen in high school. Back then we had Mrs. Vena for freshman English and Mr. Smith (boy, was he creepy) for science. She's like family to me. Oftentimes, when we're out shopping or dining, people will ask if we're sisters. Teresa is the kind of friend everyone should be blessed with. She is empathetic, loyal, and thoughtful. We always have fun together.

Anyway, we enjoyed the beautiful weather today by walking around Fashion Island. And we had a ridiculously expensive, albeit delicious lunch at a French bistro there. It was a perfect day.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Don't be deceived! Buffy looks like your typical yellow lab, but she's not! Well, maybe she is...

I got Buffy three years ago when she was just 8 weeks old. She looked like the puppy on the Advantix commercials - you know, the one at summer camp who sings the song, "Hello, Mother... Hello, Father..."

She's the first dog with papers I've ever had, and I gave her the sappy name of Bella Buffy Vanilla Pudding. Bella because she's so pretty. Buffy because I was totally into Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the time. Vanilla after the best dog I ever had - a yellow lab mix. And Pudding because she seemed so sweet. Little did I know!

This dog has been such a handful! I love her to pieces, but she has demonstrated an affinity for every bad behavior known to dogdom. She and her brother/cousin Reagan (he was once my dog, now he's my sister's) ate very large portions of the driveway gate and the frame around the garage door. She's currently attempting to eat her Igloo doghouse, and she's making really good progress. She's partially consumed a couple of dog beds. She barks at the poor guy who lives behind us everytime he goes out in his yard. Luckily, he's a dog lover and he assures me it's okay, however it's not okay with me.

She pulls plants up out of the yard and eats them or runs around gleefully with them. She's stolen fruit off the kitchen counter - she really likes peaches and bananas. She steals my socks and underwear on laundry days. Yuck!

On the other hand, she is very smart and learns commands quickly. She has a pretty big vocabulary. She will drop any item (even food) if I tell her to drop it. When food is involved she will learn and do anything. I taught her to roll over in under ten minutes using treats to motivate her. Now she'll roll over without a lure.

She loves to go for a walk, but she hates to wear any sort of restraint. She pulls the entire time, which is really irritating to me. And it was on our walks when I realized that she has a fear of small children. In the past, her fear made her get very nervous at first, and then she would growl and bark at any little kid we happened upon. This, of course concerns me because next year there will be a baby in the house.

So, my new strategy is to walk her more often through the park near my home, and to stop at the children's play area and just sit and watch the little kids playing. We did this today, and while she was interested in them, she did not react like she has in the past. There was no growling or barking. So, I'm hopeful that with continued exposure to kids and her maturity she will be a good companion for Jillian. I know that I'll have to vigilant with my training and careful when they are in the same room together - just in case.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

SW Visit #2

I received a call at 8 p.m. on Friday night from my SW. She asked if she could come by for another visit today. She needed another visit with me before she could finish her first draft of the home study. This time there was no time for a serious cleaning. I simply vacuumed, did the dishes, and cleaned the bathroom sink. She was here for a brief time and told me she'd email a copy of the home study to me early next week.

I intended to spend the rest of the day working on my paper that's due on Wednesday night, but instead took a nap on the couch and then went to have a long overdue pedicure later in the afternoon. I even let the woman who did my pedicure paint flowers on my big toes. I'm not usually a 'flower person', but it was such a beautiful spring day that I wanted to celebrate! She even put little rhinestones in the middle of the flowers. I feel so fancy.

Tonight I had dinner with two dear friends, Heather and Richard. We've been pals since we worked at Disneyland when we were in college. Heather and I were roommates about fifteen years ago, too. Now they're parents to three little guys and we don't see each other as often as we used to, so it's a treat to hang out and catch up.

Friday, April 07, 2006

It Just Gets Funnier...

So, I called the notary today to see if she'd fix the document I mentioned in yesterday's post after school today.

She had the day off.

I'll have to make a trip on Monday instead. Oh, well... Did I mention that I was there yesterday? I wish I'd known then, but I didn't. Sometimes I just feel like I'm going around in circles.

On a more positive note, I received a package in the mail from my cousin Mary yesterday. She sent this to me. I wore it at school today and all the girls in my class really liked it. I like it, too. Thanks, Mary!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Comedy of Errors

Oh, I just find this all so amusing...

Today my contact at the home study agency pointed out that the physical exam form seemed to be a photo copy. What?!?!

Yes, indeed... I called the doctor's office and they confirmed that they had filed the original. So, I stopped by on my way home and retrieved the original. Then drove to Kinko's for the second day in a row of FedEx service to home study agency.

Same doctor's office had notarized AWAA's physical form, but the notary had put her stamp on the backside of the form. I think I remember at the time asking her if that was okay and she assured me it was. However, upon faxing said document to AWAA for approval, they advise me to call the office of the Secretary of State to see if they'll authenticate such a document. No... They won't...

So, tomorrow I return for the fifth time to that very doctor's office so that the notary can place her stamp on the front side of the document.

This paperchase is so much fun. I don't know what I'll do when it's over!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Countdown to Spring Break

I do love my job. I have a sense of purpose and meaning that I derive from my work. I really invest myself in my students, take pride in their accomplishments, and lose sleep over the needy ones. But I've got to be really honest - the time off can't be beat! Friday is the last day before Spring Break and I'm just as excited about that as my students are.

This week has been much better than last. There have been fewer demands and I feel less stressed.

Tomorrow I return to see the doctor who performed the physical. We've got to amend the paperwork a bit, and then I should be done with all the paperwork related to the home study! That will be a good feeling.

Yesterday, I sent my I-600A application off in the mail. I'm also really close to being able to get certification at the state level on most of my dossier documents. I will be so happy when I'm done with the paperchase!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Corners of My Home

Okay, so I'm a copy cat... These are the items atop my tv armoire. The picture is of my nieces in a sunflower field in France. We were there together last summer. You can see my little Eiffel Tower in the foreground. The books that are stacked beneath the candle are about Paris and the Musee d'Orsay. I loved my time in France, and these things on the armoire remind me of that trip.

And these are the lastest additions to Jillian's closet. My co-worker made the mistake of telling me that Babies R Us has really good prices on clothes. I'd never looked closely at the clothes there before, so I had to go see for myself! She was SO right! And then, yesterday, I was supposed to be shopping for a gift for my grandmother, but I got side-tracked at TJ Maxx and found a few more deals. Now I'm swearing off shopping for Jillian until I'm DTC. I mean it!