Life as MommyMo

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It must be today

Max's visa interview was scheduled for Monday in Seoul, so I was completely convinced that we, like so many other people I've known, would get our travel call the same day. Not so much. You know what they say about assuming...

The good news is that rather than becoming despondent over the fact that the phone isn't ringing, I've started to just get more excited as time goes on. Every hour that passes, I figure the phone just *has* to ring at any moment. That means I have very high hopes for today. I bounced out of bed around 5:25 this morning, eager to get showered and ready to answer the phone. Because heaven forbid I answer the phone with bed head. And because we all know social workers in Oregon are poised to dial at 2:25 a.m. Whatever. I'm ready when they are.

My lovely sister-in-law Noel came to my rescue this weekend and helped me sew the pennants for Max's arrival (that sentence could also be read as: Noel sewed them for me. I watched and snipped stray threads for her.) All that's left to do is glue the last few letters to the remaining pennants and we're good to go. I just have to run out and get Liquid Stitch... one more in a long line of craft items that I never knew existed. I'll make a trip to get both that stuff and waterproof mascara at some point today. When I'm not parked next to the phone, willing it to ring.

Sam has been totally cute about being in big brother mode. The jealous comments are very few are far between now (well, I should say for now) and he's constantly talking about what he wants to teach Max about. We bought new books at the school book fair yesterday, and Sam immediately talked about how he was going to read his monster truck book to Max. Thank goodness I have two nieces and another one on the way, lest I drown in testosterone. I can always buy girly books (like Pinkilicious!) for them if I feel the need to balance out the male influence that surrounds me.

Speaking of Sam's love for all things mechanical and noisy, on the way to school yesterday, he completely floored me with his use of 50-cent words. We see a lot of buses on our short jaunt to preschool every morning. We usually see a line of school buses as well as an NJ Transit bus or two. Sam, as usual, was chattering in the back seat about how big and cool buses are when he asked me, "Mommy. Do you know that some buses are so big and hold so many people that they have to have an accordion in the middle to go around corners?"

I replied that yes, I had seen such buses before.

He said, "Do you know what their special name is?"

When I admitted that I did not, he said, "They're called articulated buses, Mommy."

Seriously? What four-year-old can recall the word articulated?? I googled the word to be sure it was correct. Turns out, the more commonly used term is "bendy bus." Nice. My child chooses to use articulated over bendy. Another word nerd in the making.

Stay tuned for the big news to come. I am sure it will be today!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm feeling better

I'm doing a bit better in the last 24 hours than I had been in the week or so before that. I'm still grumpy that my baby should be here and isn't, but I've been reminded in a few meaningful ways that I need to focus on the here and now and not let myself get completely bent out of shape over things I can't control. Have you ever met me? That's a big issue for me.

Thanks to smart friends with wise words, an appropriately timed Scripture passage and a husband who is emotionally stronger than I am, I'm actually doing a decent job of staying calm. I had a day or two of crying at the drop of a hat out of frustration, but I'm in a better place now. And it doesn't even involve adult beverages like I thought it might.

Rob said to me that he was intrigued by how differently we are handling these last few days of the wait. Whereas I get frustrated every time I see empty baby gear that sits waiting for Max, Rob says he gets excited. He even walked out of Max's room the other day after we'd stocked diapers and baby powder in there and said very happily, "Guess what?! It already smells like baby in there!"

It may have been that one small moment that brought things back into focus for me. I intellectually knew what I needed to do, but watching my husband be such a sweet Daddy reminded me that I'm not doing this alone, there is another perspective that I can choose to take and that we can focus on enjoying the time that we have right now. We'll both be giddy the minute the phone finally rings, but for now, we can enjoy Sam and little things like finally liking the same people on a season of American Idol. (I think we broke serious ground when we finally agreed on a political candidate... The carryover effect is quite nice.)

Sam's teacher told us the other day that he is talking all day long every day about his brother's arrival. He's able to find a reference to Max in everything they do. It's generally along the lines of "I'm going to teach my baby brother about this when he gets here." I hope that sticks when Baby Brother is actually here, touching his new toys and getting more lap time than Sam does.

Rob and I have had quite a few conversations lately about the memory that our little guy seems to have. I should do more reading so I know for sure, but I have been stopped in my tracks quite a few times lately when Sam will pull out a very detailed account of an event that happened as long as three years ago. I did not think children had memories of much other than really big things that far back, but Sam sure as heck does. For instance, he remembers small details about a trip we took to Canada when he was just two years old. He can also literally fall asleep in the car and wake up, know where we are, and give us directions home. It's baffling to me how he does it. It's even earned him the nickname GPS.

It will be interesting to see how his little brain works once he's in kindergarten next year. We got the receipt for his after school program yesterday, which for some reason, made his enrollment seem so official. I think he's going to really love going to a new school and meeting new people. I hope his brother develops Sam's same sense of adventure and sociability.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The list

Not surprisingly, I'm focused like crazy on the "waiting to travel" list on the Holt message board. You may recall how I pored over this list when we were waiting for a match. As of today, I am #8 waiting for travel.

That's truly so-close-yet-so-far if you ask me. I made the call to DC that I have come to dread already today and was told, yet again, that our paperwork is still with the agency. For the life of me, I can't figure out how they process these cases. Why would a child who's been matched with his family since December still sit and wait when others are coming home?

I did another type of calculation this morning, apparently out of the need to wallow even more deeply. As of today, we have been waiting 81 weeks for a baby. We started the process that long ago, which is almost hard to believe. I could have had two babies by now were I going the biological route.

I must say, waiting for travel during Lent puts things in a different perspective for me. This period seems so "dark" but I know that it will be much brighter very soon. I just hope I don't end up in the funny farm by the time someone wakes up and takes some action on our behalf in Seoul.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm at that point again...

I am sitting here hoping -- again -- that the adage about the process moving once you can't take it anymore will hold true one more time. I am definitely about to crawl out of my skin. My newest frustration is that I am now seeing travel for children referred after us, even when other dates along the way are the same (if not earlier) for us. I in NO WAY begrudge anyone getting a call to bring their baby home. I am just getting indescribably sad that things have slowed down for no reason that I can understand. I stare at Max's empty room, empty high chair and all of the little clothes and toys we have waiting and am just miserable that he's still in Korea when he could be here. I am really going to continue to try to make a concerted effort this week to relish the time I have to focus solely on Sam, but I won't lie. It's still really hard to be left waiting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

List watching

I think I could qualify as a professional statistician after this adoption process. I am fairly sure I have analyzed every single case's (on the Holt board) referral dates against their I600 approval, emigration permit approval, visa center log out date and P3 send date.

The problem? It doesn't make my phone ring any faster.

I know that we are totally in the home stretch now, but I am starting to see travel calls for babies referred after Max and I just don't get it. I want everyone's babies to be home where they belong as soon as possible, but the randomness of certain parts of the process are completely mind boggling to me. It's understandable when it comes to referral, because babies are matched to the families most appropriate for them. But travel? Shouldn't it happen as chronologically as possible? Isn't that why "logic" is part of that word?! I suppose not.

At least with the National Visa Center stalking I was doing, the case was being worked on in the Eastern time zone, so I could redial to my heart's content and have a shot at getting an answer I liked more. Now, all of our papers are in Seoul, where it's 13 hours ahead of here. It's so frustrating to get news I'm not happy with before 10 a.m., and then just have to sulk for the rest of the day and hope for better news tomorrow.

Why didn't someone tell me that I should have given up whining for Lent??

Monday, March 16, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

Thank goodness I have friends who not only check out this blog, but do so in enough detail to notice when things are glaringly incorrect.

We were SOOOOO proud of ourselves for getting the car seats installed this weekend. In fact, you may recognize this picture from a posting done on Saturday. As I was talking to my friend Jeff this morning, however, he immediately noticed a major parenting faux pas in the photo.

I stared and stared and didn't know what it was, but he saw it immediately. Baby Max is only 8 months old, therefore his car seat should be installed in rear-facing fashion.


Rob will be thrilled to find out he gets to take on this little project all over again. Kind of like how he had to disassemble the crib and put it back together again just before this photo was taken.

Chalk it up to item number 23432907 that we don't know about parenting an infant. Here's to being a quick study from here on out.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Getting Ready

We got the great news this week that Baby Max's I600 approval was logged in and out of the National Visa Center and sent to the embassy in Seoul on Wednesday of this week. That means, if all goes well, we could be VERY CLOSE to finally having our baby home!

Of course, along with the excitement comes the very real panic that we still had a ton to do in order to have a place for him to sleep and bottles to drink out of. We spent almost all day today getting his room finished up, installing car seats and washing bottles, blankets, etc. We've been chipping away at the project over several weeks, but today really felt like the day that we could see improvement. We both remarked a few minutes ago that we're at least at the point that if our phone magically rang tomorrow, we'd be ready. Or at least able to pass a first post placement visit without being judged as completely unprepared and ridiculously disorganized.

A few people have asked what the bedding that I'm so excited about looks like. I posted a pic from Ebay a long time ago when I bought it, but I finally got shots of it in Max's room today to share. You'll notice there are still things that need finishing (like taking Sam's name down from above the window and putting Max's up!) but the room is definitely habitable now and, to my immense delight, looks different enough from Sam's room that I feel like Max is not just getting hand-me-downs.

Here's how we spent our day:

Scrappers... Do you see what I mean when I say the quilt reminds me of a Two Sisters kit?! I LOVE the colors in this bedding. I will be sad when he outgrows it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The whole theory about movement in the adoption process when you're about to crack is still holding true for us. Rob commented over coffee early this morning that I looked like I was about to lose it. I was apparently clenching my jaw without even realizing it and generally looking like I was wound as tight as could be.

I decided to take that into consideration and risked calling the National Visa Center as soon as they opened this morning. I say "risk" because I was worried that if I got more bad news, that I'd be distracted and cranky on my LONG day of conference calls today. When I realized I was going to be more distracted not knowing, I dialed.

The lady on the phone asked all the usual questions... I could hear her clicking away on her keyboard. When she asked for the beneficiary's name, I was sure she was about to tell me -- again -- that they only show our 2005 case in the system. My heart sunk. I heard more clicking, then she asked MY name. I immediately realized she was confirming what she was seeing on the screen.

Her next question was "How can I help you?" I was confused for a second, thinking: Lady, I just asked you for the status of my I600. I replied that I wanted a status update and she said it was logged in yesterday.

I realize these details are beyond tedious for anyone not familiar with the process, but I swear, as soon as I hung up the phone, I thought to myself that this kind of joy at a minor step must be what a pregnant woman thinks/feels when she feels her baby kick for the first time.

He'll be home soon and I'm soooo happy about it!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Still waiting

I'm seriously TIRED. OF. WAITING.

I can't believe how long it's taking Max's papers to leave the National Visa Center. In my months of obsessing over timelines, this is one step that seems to just fly by for everyone. This is so NOT where I was expecting to find a delay.

If you're not intimately acquainted with the international adoption process, the Cliff's Notes version is that you have lots of paperwork from two governments to deal with. Some papers are approved on both sides independent of one another, but Korea needs to receive final clearance from the U.S. at this point before Max can have his visa physical and be scheduled for travel.

We are so close, yet really feeling so far right now.

We spent the day making great progress on the nursery. It's really starting to look like a baby's room again and I am in LOVE with the crib bedding I got for Max. I am fairly certain I can find any Pottery Barn Kids product I could ever need on Ebay... and almost on demand. So far, I've gotten Max's quilt, bumper, pillow sham, bed skirt, and matching valances all for way less than half of what I would have paid in the store. For my scrappy friends, every time I look at the pattern, it makes me think of a yummy Two Sisters digi kit! The colors are perfection and provided at least one day's distraction from my total obsession with our paperwork.

We got to go out to dinner last night with just Kim and Ted for literally the first time in years last night. We almost always just stay at one of our houses while the kids play. We can only think of one other meal in a restaurant that we've had together in the nearly four years Sam's been home. Hard to believe! It was soooo nice to go out for Mexican food (our mutual favorite) and margaritas while the kids happily played at church. Ironically enough, the family that sat down behind us at the restaurant had two little Korean boys with them!

So far, my Lenten sacrifice of all digiscrap purchases has technically been going well, but it has been a LONG week. One of my pastor's gave me the whole reason behind not observing Lent on Sundays when I was at Bible study this week... I'm still trying to decide if I want to look anywhere tomorrow, or just hold off. I will say that I'm getting a ton more scrapping done now that I'm not spending so much time just staring at all the pretty things in various digi shops. I've also got tons of CT stuff to work with, so I'm by no means truly deprived. I've been quite happy this week getting to play with Karah Fredricks' newest stuff. She had a "bring a friend to work" guest CT this month, and my buddy Keely asked me to join them for March. I am going to be very, very quiet in the forum toward the end of the month and hope that Karah doesn't notice that I'm still hanging around. ;-)