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...
...to see Yale...
...in 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.