Thursday, December 22, 2011

Court Date!

"Court Date."

I'm not even sure what else to say.  The fact that this is actually happening is simultaneously thrilling, terrifying, and humbling (I tried to think of a synonym starting with "t" but it just wasn't happening.").  I am almost in shock.

One ocean and half a continent away Max is asleep (at least I hope so since it's 5am for him).  He has no idea what has been set in motion around him.  No idea that Jason and I are going to sit in a courtroom with a stack of paperwork and a scary judge (all judges are scary!) on January 17 and change his life forever.  And let's face it, if he did know, it would terrify him!

To think of it in those terms is humbling.  I want to sing and dance and jump for joy.  This has been one of the best days of my life.

But as the day comes to a close, all I can think of is him, asleep on the other side of the world blissfully unaware that everything is about to change.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thank Goodness for Holiday Hours

So today after finally giving my last final (the last one for like a year!) I had this massive migraine.  Like one of those migraines where the nausea makes sweat break out on your forehead and there are little black boxes swimming in front of your eyes.

Let's just say that driving home after class was Not Fun.

So needless to say I got home and stumbled upstairs to bed.  Immediately.  (Oh I got a Diet Coke first, but it took me about an hour and a half before I could even get myself to open it).

I'm not telling you this to whine -- I just want you to understand the extent of my not-togetherness.

The not-togetherness which meant that I didn't check my mailbox when I got home.  (The mailbox that I have been checking religiously to see if our notarized state background checks were in it).  It also meant that I didn't go immediately out to the Fed-Ex office to mail out our new visa applications until about 4:30.  (Yes, that would be the second set of applications overnighted to the visa office in the past 2 days, but that's another thing entirely.)

But of course I need to get these visa applications out today, so I pull myself together and head to the UPS store only to find out that they are open until 7pm because of the holidays.  Yippee!  So then I get home, open the mailbox, and what do I find?

The police letters.

That need to be notarized, apostilled, and in Russia by, um, Tuesday in order to apply for a COURT DATE!!

I shoot a couple emails back and forth with my our adoption coordinator and within 15 minutes was back on the road to the UPS store.

By 6:00 I was home.  And my court dossier is done.  Done.


Now we just wait for our court date.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Warm Fuzzy

I promise I'll put together a real post in the next few days -- sometime between grading finals, waiting for the final touches on our dossier, getting new Russian visas, and getting the new carpet installed in the post-flood basement.

But for now I wanted to share some happy news that we got from our adoption facilitator, who reports:

Max looks through the photo album given by his parents every day. He knows his mom and dad and can point to them.

 And yes, I know that his actual understanding of what parents are, and what his "mom" and "dad" will mean to him is nearly non-existent.  But still. It's coming together.

Warm fuzziness.

(And a new photo to show you all)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Watching the News...

This whole process of international adoption has been an eye-opener in so many unexpected ways.  For example: watching the news has all new meaning.

I've always been an international-type.  Having lived abroad for so much of my life, I like to think of myself as someone who is at least moderately aware of things outside the good ole US of A.  I look forward to November every year to see the Oxi Day coverage of Greece, and I perk up when Germany is in the news, too.

Never before, however, has news coverage of far-away places struck fear into my heart.  (OK, that's not true, either.  I am perfectly willing to admit that while my brother was deployed in Afghanistan I pretty much changed the channel whenever there was a scrubby desert on my TV screen).

But I digress...

Things are happening in Max's home country.  Almost none of it has anything to do with adoption (though there have been some VERY recent law changes about that,too that make me twitchy and anxious).  However, watching the tension between our country and his at the moment has both of us biting our lips.  It's probably irrational.  It seems unlikely that Events on a Global Scale could really affect our little family.

But stranger things have happened.

What it really comes down to, I think is what I am beginning to think of as post-infertility-syndrome.  This syndrome presents itself in only one way so far, but it's a doozy.  I call it "waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop-itis."  On some level I realize that sometimes you make it through different aspects of your life without all the shoe-dropping, but I think Jason and I have become conditioned to it (in rather than same way that you train a dog to an electric fence...).

I know it's a little irrational.  I know it.

And I also know that I won't stop fretting and losing sleep until Max walks through Customs and Immigration on this side of the pond...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Max!

Never in my life did I think that I would be celebrating my first child's second birthday from 5,000 (or however many...) miles away!

It kills me.

I hope he is celebrating in the orphanage -- and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if that were the case.  The orphanage director did tell us, after all, that he might be just a bit spoiled!  And it was clear that the people there loved him -- and really how could you not?

So we got him a cake (red velvet cause I'm the one who gets to eat it this year) and lit some candles for him.

And yes, those are awesome Toy Story plates.  And no, we did not buy them especially for this occasion.  (Which should really make you wonder about the occasion that we did buy them for...)

The cake was delicious, but I miss my boy.

Happy birthday Max.  We love you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Give Thanks

(and yes I realize that I'm posting late, but give me a break, I'm posting from a cell phone in a hotel lobby half-way around tho world from home!)


You know how there are those holidays that you will always remember?  For me some of those are about being someplace interesting at the time -- Orthodox Easter in Greece, Christmas as a missionary in Germany, that kind if thing.  Even more memorable tend to be the family things -- like that Christmas when we all had the stomach flu and had frozen burritos for Christmas dinner.  And the year Dean and I decided to show each other our presents several weeks in advance (they were hidden on the top shelf of the bedroom closet and we pulled them down every couple days just to drool over a He-Man action figure and a My Little Pony all wrapped up in clear plastic!)

But nothing -- nothing -- tops this particular Thanksgiving!

We have hqd such a fabulous time with Max over the last few days (even though he cried through most of the hour yesterday).  Today, though, was really neat.  When we got there the baby home workers invited us to see a little puppet show program being put on for the children in Max's group.  There were about 10 of them and they were all so precious it hurt my heart to see them there.  Jason and I wanted to scoop them all up now and find bedrooms later! When Max saw us I think he was a bit worried that we were going to take him away from the fun, but I would't have missed that for anything!  It was so neat to see him interacting with people that he knows and loves (since we are still on through weird and mund-of scary list!)  But he has so much personality -- while all the other kids were dancing like bears, he decided to peek behind the puppet show curtain to see who was back there!

Later in the room it took him awhile to warm up to us again, but by the end we were having a great time.  I learned how to make all sorts of animal sounds in Russian and he made them too!  We cooked a plastic fish, we played an improvised version of monkeys-in-a-barrel but with frogs, we crashed cars into each other and just generally had fun.  Even more importantly, he seemed to be warming up to Jason, too!

(If you listen REALLY closely you can hear him making animal noises!)

(This is Jason's new favorite photo...I'm sure you can see why!)

When it was time to go, he just skipped off with his nanny with no idea of the changes in store for him over the next couple months, poor thing.Jason and I managed not to cry, mostly.

And yet, after so many years I just can't believe that he is real.

Thanksgiving indeed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So most new moms have to wait at least a couple months to get a smile.

I only had to wait a day. (So there!)

When we went to visit Max this morning he was obviously feeling much better.  He was still pretty shy, but he got used to me again pretty quickly.

We started out with the loud, blinking farm game again, but moved on quickly this time.  He clearly likes toys that have moving parts -- buttons, things to twist, dials or whatever.  And he has an incredible attention span for a two-year-old.  We are going to have a great time playing when he comes home!

Anyway, we eventually found a couple of "shape-learning" toys that he enjoyed and...well...a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

And then there's the really good stuff (just ignore my extreme dork-ness)...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How I Met My Son

That's right.  You heard me.

Son. Mine.


In all honesty it has been one of the most emotionally draining days ever -- I have been a nervous wreck for awhile now!

The day started out with a visit to the government department that handles adoptions, where we had to answer all sorts of questions about who we are and why we want to adopt.  Not hard questions, by any means, but it was sort-of intimidating nevertheless!  Our facilitator/translator was fabulous though -- I can't imagine doing any of this without her.

By the time we were finished there Max had already gone down for a nap so we met with director/head physician of the baby home, and a few of the other people who work with the children there.  They told us everything they knew about him and his background (right down to the 2 ear infections he had last year!) and we got to ask any questions we might have.  Honestly we didn't have very many, but we were very relieved to hear that he isn't allergic to dogs!

At that point we went to lunch since the kids were still sleeping and came back around 3:00.  Max was still asleep when we got there and everyone agreed that it was best to let him sleep since he's had a little bit of a cold for the past few days.

We waited in a playroom and I pretended not to be scared to death.  (Jason, being Jason, took a catnap.  I was jealous!)

At last they brought Max in!

He had quite obviously just woken up, and still not up at 100%, the poor thing. 

And he was pretty much the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

At first even his nanny was having a hard time getting him interested in his toys -- he was clearly nervous at being the center of attention and didn't much like it when she left the room (which is a really positive sign, by the way).

Eventually I ended up with him on my lap playing with a farm that made animal noises when you pressed buttons.  He seemed to really like this toy and we played with it for much longer than I expected.

And not a single word of that can tell you how it felt to have his little body snuggled into mine.  If you have kids already, go give them a hug.  Right now.  Really.  Go do it.

Eventually I let Jason have him for a few minutes.  Max was less thrilled about this -- we had been warned that the children tend to be wary of men, but Max was very brave!  You could tell he thought (seriously) about crying, but he never did.  It did make for the best photo of the afternoon though!

After a couple minutes of this, though, I held out my arms and (with a bit of hesitation) Max came right back to me.

Best.  Moment.  Ever.


Thursday, November 17, 2011


Jason and I met almost 9 years ago.


We met in person for the first time in the Detroit Airport on Valentine's Day a couple months later.  I had borrowed a cute red sweater from my roommate.  He was wearing blue and white Adidas sneakers (really, this is the very first thing I saw when he came down the escalator!).

I spent that weekend trying to reconcile the Jason sitting on the couch watching TV with me to the Jason that I had been IM-ing and talking to on the phone with for weeks.  It was a surreal experience, coming to know someone in their entirety that I had previously only known in part.  It made me nervous and a little unsure of myself.

Obviously I wasn't unsure for very long -- I mean we were engaged by Memorial Day, for crying out loud!

I have been thinking a lot about that experience as we get ourselves ready to meet Max this week.  I have four photos of him.  He looks sweet and charming in each one.  His eyes are surprisingly bright for a child who has been living in an orphanage.  It's hard not to create a series of expectations about him based on such a flimsy foundation.  (You try it.  Really.  It's harder than you think!)

And since I am desperate to know who he is, it's really hard for me not to imagine that moment when we finally meet.  In the interests of keeping my expectations realistic I try to at least imagine every permutation of this meeting.  In most of these he is nervous but warms up after a few hours or days.  In others he is a social butterfly that takes our hand as soon as we walk in the door.  In others he freaks out a wails for the entire time.  Sometimes he sleeps.  Sometimes we leave exhausted because we can't keep up.

But I know -- know -- that these are trips of my imagination and nothing more.  I know that when I get there that I will look at him (just as I looked at his dad) with a wrinkled brow thinking, "Who are you?"

I just hope that by the time I come home that I might have a few answers to that question.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lucky Sevens

There are 7 colors in a rainbow!

There are 7 Wonders of the World!

(and yes, Jason and I somehow hit the one rainy day a year at the pyramids...)

There are 7 stars in the Big Dipper!


There are 7 days left until I finally get to meet Max!

Monday, November 14, 2011


That's right!  We got our USCIS fingerprints today!  USCIS (United States Customs and Immigration Services) essentially is in charge of giving us the go-ahead to make Max a US citizen -- in other words the Department of Homeland Security is suddenly a very important force in our lives.  Who knew that a couple of people born west of the Mississippi would ever get to know the ins and outs of the US naturalization process?

Actually that all makes this experience seem a whole lot more adventurous than it was. was remarkably like a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daddy and Mommy Dolls

So I am one of those people that believes that anyone who comes up with a really new and original idea deserves every penny they make.  Case in point: I hope that whoever came up with the new roller-bag suitcases made a killing.  I remember dragging 2 of the old-style ones across Athens in the middle of the night and it was not fun.   I hope that whoever made suitcases better can use Ben Franklin for toilet paper for the rest of his/her natural life.

I feel the same way about Daddy Dolls, which is why I'm telling everyone about them.

Our family first learned about these when my brother was deployed in Afghanistan.  My niece carried one around for the entire time he was gone -- I clearly remember the absolute and utter panic the few times when it went missing.  For months on end, this was how she heard her dad's voice whenever she wanted.

So...we ordered a couple for Max!  Aren't they cute?

And it seems like the perfect thing to give him so that he will be able to sort-of remember us between trips.  I mean yes, we go visit over Thanksgiving (yay!!) but we have to leave him there for a couple more months until the adoption can be finalized.  And he's only 2, so how on earth will he ever remember/connect us to the things going on around him?  Enter the Daddy and Mommy Dolls.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Shining Moment

I had a shining moment today.  One of those feats of daring bravery.  Storming the castle kind of bravery.

I went to Babies R Us this afternoon. By myself.

I didn't have a fit of hysterics.  Not a single tear.  I didn't even give an evil eye to the single baby belly wandering around at the same time!  Don't ask me what the woman looked like, I still pretty much only could see her belly, but the lack scowling was a real step in the right direction.  Don't get me wrong, I pretty much ignored the majority of the aisles since they had baby-baby stuff in them, but it was more because I was too busy looking at the toddler stuff than because I was avoiding them like the pit of vipers that they usually are. You need to understand -- at Target I go WELL out of my way to avoid the baby/kid/toy section of the store (a true feat of spatial engineering, I tell you!) and today I braved the lion's den itself.

Good stuff.  I think I deserve a medal.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

(Not) Leaving on a Jet Plane

So I'm supposed to be on a plane at the moment.

I'm not.

This makes me very, very sad.  I really, really want to meet my son.  It horrifies me on  a daily basis that he's in an orphanage of all places, that he's not here with Jason and me like he should be.  I have a son and he has no idea who I am or that I am coming for him just as soon as I can.  (And let's face it, if he did know it would likely terrify him!).

However, there is a silver lining to everything. Now that we will be going at Thanksgiving, our work schedules are going to be much, much easier to deal with.  Also it will mean that there won't be quite so much time between our first and second/third trips, and that's a really good thing.  Also it means that I have just that much more time to get my house in some semblance of order (remember Irene?  I do).  I have a little more time to figure out the Cyrillic alphabet -- which is less like Greek than I had hoped.  We have time to get a few more things to bring to him.

So there are some benefits, I suppose.  Really there are.

But I still wish I were on a plane.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Booger, Booger, BOOGER

Not just any booger, mind you.  One of those really gooey, greenish, I-have-bronchitis nasty boogers.  Booger.

So we just got a call from our agency in the US and things are on hold...again!  It's not a complete disaster like it was a couple weeks ago, but I'm still thinking about flinging gross balls of snot across the ocean.

Max is fine, we're still going to visit him soon.  Just not this weekend.  (Why do I feel like I have used that exact phrasing not long ago?  Oh yeah, that's right.  Because I have.)

See the way it works in most of the Eastern European countries that I know of, is that when a child is orphaned/abandoned/taken away or whatever the situation is, that child has to be on a database for a certain amount of time before they are "released" for adoption.  In this case, due to well...bureaucracy (go figure!) turns out that Max won't be officially "available" until mid-November.  Which means that if we head over there this weekend, we could spend a week pressing our cold little noses against the orphanage windows and never get to see him.


Here's the irony of it all:

#1: We had originally wanted to go in November to begin with!
#2: We just rushed our visas (expensively!) to have them ready to go by Saturday.
#3: Said rushed visas are only good until November 20 -- giving us, oh, about a week between the time when Max becomes available and we officially need to be off foreign soil!

Our choices are:

#1: Squish a visit into that narrow time-frame.
#2: Eat the first visas, get new ones and go when it seems to work out best.

No idea what we're going to do yet.  Stay tuned.

Booger out.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I have spent the last couple days close to tears.

Not because of something bad (for once!) and not because I am completely overwhelmed by my life (even though I am)...

...but because I am grateful.

Over the past couple days Jason and I have watched as family, friends, co-workers, and even a few strangers have contributed towards our fundraiser.  We never ever expected an outpouring like we have seen over this weekend.  We are stunned.  Overwhelmed.  Humbled.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Making it all happen

So here's the thing.  If you look over at the right side of the page you'll see the estimated costs of making this adoption happen.  It's actually a very conservative estimate, believe it or not.  The thing is...this adoption is going to take a chunk out of our bank account the size of a house down payment!

We have, oh, maybe 3 months to come up with the money...

So we are hoping that all of you guys can help us out a bit.

This is a puzzle of a major landmark from Max's hometown.  I'm not going to tell you what it is yet -- to find out you have to help us put it together!  For every $10 that you donate to our adoption fund (with the Chip-In off to the right or to us directly), we are going to write your name on the backs of 2 puzzle pieces.  (It's a 1000-piece puzzle, and even I don't write small enough to make it fit on one!).  When the puzzle is complete we will frame it in double sided glass so that he can always see all the people who helped to bring him home!

Money is tight everywhere, I get it.  But as we get into the Thanksgiving and Christmas season this year, I hope you'll think of us and a little boy who has spent his whole life in an orphanage.

Let's get him out of there as fast as we can!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life's a Chess Game

Forward one step, jump two spaces then promptly go left, move diagonally and finally move any direction you want-- but only one step at a time.

I think my life is like a chess game.

Which is pretty funny, since I am really miserable at chess.  I think I have trouble seeing the bigger picture on occasion.  Things like -- oh, if I take his pawn then in 2 moves I'll be wide open with a downed king.  That sort of stuff. 

So it's a little comforting to know that someone else seems to be playing my life chess game on my behalf.

Way back in May, when I first began to investigate the adoption of a waiting child, there was one boy's photo that popped out at me before any others.  I can't post it here yet, but I looked at Max and my heart sort-of melted.  He had ears like my Granaddaddy's and a smile that lit up the computer screen.  

My photo of this little guy allowed me to "see" all of the other children who needed parents as much as Jason and I need them.

Then, of course, I was a little bit pregnant (see the "Backstory" page up above) and my little chess pieces took a flying leap off the board.  As Jason and I returned to the idea of adopting, I looked at the photo of this little guy often -- along with a few others.  But the fact is that Jason and I have learned of necessity to be a little careful with our hearts and so we waited to settle on a single child until we were pretty far along in the process.

We narrowed it down to a couple little guys, each of them cuter than the last.

Then Max disappeared.

We didn't know what happened to him -- I rather hoped that he had been adopted by a local family, but no one knew anything.

We set our sights on Yale and kept going.  It's a strange thing to fall in love with someone's picture.  I've done it a few times now, after all, starting with Jason!  But the two of us fell in love with Yale, let me tell you!  When we got the call that his relatives had decided to adopt him, we were crushed.  Even knowing that this would work out better for him in the long run, we cried for a couple days straight.

When we were ready, the orphanage sent us information on two other little boys that are there right now.

One of them was Max.

Someone is playing chess with my life, and I promise you that it isn't me.  For the last several years Jason and I have asked ourselves again and again to what extent God really reaches down into our lives and tweaks things on our behalf.  For a very, very, very long time my answer to that question has been along the lines of not bloody often enough.  Loss after loss after loss, it was pretty hard to believe that anyone was up there listening.  Again and again Jason pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and just kept going, not really knowing  where to put our feet next.  Falling in love with Yale was a choice in so many ways.  With so many other children out there, how do you decide which one belongs in your family?  Jason and I agonized over it.

Finding Max again -- having him found for me -- was not a choice.  It was a gift.

We are leaving to meet him in ten days.  Ten days.

I tell you, someone else is moving my chess pieces for me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Change, the Only Constant

That's what they say, at least, that the only thing that never changes is change itself.

Certainly that seems true for us.  

We are still going to make a visit to our new son in a few weeks.  

But it looks like that son won't be Yale.

We found out yesterday that when inquiries were made to Yale's birth family, some of his extended relatives stepped forward and want to adopt him.  Neither of us could sleep last night.  I remember lying awake at 3am thinking that this just couldn't be happening again.  All day I've been scatterbrained -- even for me! -- because I can't quite process it all.

I have a feeling that someday there is going to be a really profound story to come out of our experiences here.  One of these days I'll even manage to write it down.  But right now my head is spinning out of control.  Yale is going to have a home with part of his birth family, and it looks as though that will actually be a wonderful thing for him.  And we will be bringing home some other little guy who needs a family just as much.

It's a bittersweet moment.  But this isn't the end of the road for us. 

 And if at the end of it all, two orphans get families...well that sounds like a grander plan than something I could make happen on my own.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Head Spin

I'm online looking at airfare... see Yale... a month....

Unreality is setting in.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hurry Up and ... Then Hurry Up Some More!

So suddenly it's all coming together -- fast!  I think I might be the only person I've ever heard of whose international adoption is progressing faster than expected!

I had these great, responsible plans -- I would take off work next semester while we head back and forth across the Great Pond, so that I could be home with him, etc. etc.  But now it looks like I'll be taking some time off after all!  

'Cause we are making our first trip SOON.  Like in 3 weeks.


It's all the result of some happy coincidences, some really fabulous people at the adoption agency and the beauty of Fed-Ex.

It's all going to happen!  For reals.

I'm slightly freaking out.  Yale could be home -- like a real live son living in my house!!! -- before the end of the year if all works out.  In the meantime we need to:

Turn the Irene-ified basement into a playroom!

Turn the storage drop into a bedroom!

Start our fundraising efforts!!!!  stay tuned...

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I was in Michigan.  It was my first year of grad school -- and I had only been home from my mission for about 3 weeks at that point.  I walked to school and went into the museum to chat.  I asked, "So how are you guys?"  My deskmate replied, "Not so good.  A plane just hit the World Trade Center."

It was early enough that the towers had not yet fallen, and I found myself sitting in Ashley's (the closest TV around) with 2 other new students trying to make sense of what we were seeing on the screens.  We didn't know each other well.  But two of us were from the New York area; I remember holding my breath while my friend frantically dialed her boyfriend and other close friends who lived in the city.  

I thought of home.

I had no close friends who lived in the city at the time, but I knew immediately that my hometown would be affected.  My next-door neighbors commuted into the city -- as did probably half the people in the neighborhood.  I knew that there were people I knew who would never come home, and, in fact, there would be empty place settings in the neighborhood in the coming weeks.  My next-door neighbors were lucky.  One of my high school classmates was not.  

Dave wasn't a close friend -- we both hung out on the fringes of each others' groups (in the way that only happens in high school), but we had been in classes together since...well...kindergarten, I think.  When I heard that he had been lost on 9/11, my sadness was real and immediate.  I remember him every year at this time.  

I looked him up in our senior yearbook this evening (since my yearbook was one of the things laying around in the house post-Irene).  His senior quote made me smile:

"Forever trust in who you are
'Cause nothing else matters."
-- Metallica

Words to live by, Dave.  I'll remember.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Paying it Forward

So Jason and I did something kinda neat today.

Remember all that Irene water in our basement?  Remember how much it SUCKED?  Well, the sad thing is that we weren't really all that bad off compared to some people.  So around 7:30 this morning we got up along with a ton of other people from the church and headed up to northern New Jersey, around Teaneck and Paterson.

These are areas that after the storm looked like this:

That's, like, a lot of water.  

So today I got to put on one of those seriously stylin' "Mormon Helping Hands" T-shirts and went to go help people get cleaned out.  

(This is not us, BTW.  I was too busy to think about photos...)

And it made me grateful for the many things that I have.  Most of what we lost was replaceable.  The part that wasn't was largely salvageable.  Not everyone that we saw today was so lucky.  I stayed in my home and was able to mitigate damage as soon as I found it.  Most of the people that we helped today were evacuated.  Jason and I had people at our house within hours of the end of the storm and had that basement pumped and the carpet torn out within a day.  I talked to a woman this morning who had 3 feet of water in her basement until yesterday.

And that's why we got ourselves up this morning.  We had help.  Lots of it. 

It was time to leave our empty, wall-less, mostly mold-free basement to go help someone else. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I feel like I've fallen off the face of the earth.

No, really.

Somehow I woke up this morning and it was September 8 and I have no idea how it got to be so far into the month. 

But it's funny how quickly your life can switch focus so suddenly.  Two weeks ago all I could think about was our adoption progress and then -- BOOM! -- suddenly Jason and I thrust ourselves into survival mode.  (Survival mode, by the way, consisted of stripping the TV room down to the studs and then trying to get the whole area bleached and cleaned out.  Not so fun).

But today I:

1. did the dishes for the first time since before Irene
2. moved the kitchen table back into place
3. cleared off the kitchen table to that we could sit down and have dinner at it
4. used the stove top for the first time since the storm
5. put little smelly-things in all the sockets so that the house smells slightly less like mold, dust and wet dog

And now I can think about this adoption business for the first time in days.  Phew!

But I won't lie.  Last night while it was raining cats and dogs (again!) both Jason and I woke up more than once just to check that the power hadn't gone out and that the sump pump was still pumping away.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

How Irene Kicked My Trash...

This is Irene:

This is Irene at my house:

Yup.  That's Jason.  In the kayak.  In the basement.  With 10 inches of water.

Not the best way to wake up in the morning!

But the great thing is that as soon as we posted that photo on Facebook the phone started ringing, and all our friends turned up at our doorstep with buckets, smiles, and some really good ideas.  Like this one:

This is a siphon.  It was the coolest science trick EVER.  (For those of you without scientist/engineer friends, may I strongly suggest that you get some...)

Unfortunately, the siphons didn't work as quickly as we needed, so when we got enough people we also made a bucket brigade:

That was HARD WORK!!!!!!!  I didn't have fun at it.  But I think we managed to lower the overall water in the basement by 2-3 inches (including the new water that was still coming in).

Eventually we got a generator from the neighbors across the street.  That was good.  Then even more friends came to help, and they had an RV with a generator in in that we used to finish it all off.  Believe it or not, by the time we finished that afternoon, there were only puddles of water left in the basement, and the carpet was entirely gone.

Yup.  We have some awesome friends.  AWESOME friends.

The aftermath hasn't been much fun either.

This is my kitchen the next day:

I feel like I should be on one of those hoarder shows...  But if you'll notice the screens they have a real purpose.  Laid out on them are photos, letters, kindergarten report cards, and you-name-it -- and all of that stuff is actually drying out!  What could have been emotional disaster was saved by those screens! (Thank you, thank you, Jennifer!)

Not everything was so lucky.  My art history books are/were very wet and eventually very smelly.

I was told that even the books that *didn't* get wet but were down in the flooded area needed to get aired out to prevent mold and so...

I hung load after load of my academic library on my little garden fence and the outdoor dog kennel.  For days.

But after all is said and done, we are left with this:

The trash collectors are not going to be happy.

But it's just stuff, right?  It could have been so much worse.  I learned the value of good friends, a sense of humor, and a feel for the big picture.

After all, when Yale comes home in a few months, we were going to have to redo the lower level rooms anyway.  Now we get a head start.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How Google Found My Family


My current household owes it's existence to the Internet.  Completely.

Let's review:

Jason: found online at

Cleo: found online at (but it looks like they took their site down...)

Zoe: found online at

Bella: OK, she was born at home, pretty much in my lap since Cleo was a little freaked out by the whole giving birth thing

and introducing (drumroll please!):

Max: found initially at and then found again in a crazy series of events!