Posts Tagged ‘adoptive parent’

Post Wreckage Wisdom

March 21, 2013

Before this past Saturday, the previous car accident I participated in was in 1999 in Anaheim, California.  Thankfully I have been fender bender free for 14 joyous years. (However, in my current state of narcotic use, I could easily and most probably be missing large periods of my life in my memory banks.)  When one meanders through life without hitting other vehicles, you tend to forget many important facts regarding collisions.  This morning, at 4:06 a.m., I am here to inform all those who need informing on said subject.

1.  Accidents happen when you least expect it and when it is not convenient in your life.  In my case, I was casually  heading to Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase a much needed shower curtain liner for the main bath due to visitors who were scheduled to arrive at my home in exactly four hours.  My daughter and two friends were descending upon our house for Spring Break from college in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a mere 14 hour drive to Phoenix, Arizona.  Two days after their arrival, three Canadian relatives were also visiting for a week.  Hence, the new shower curtain liner was MANDATORY.

2.  Teenage drivers are a danger on the road.  Out of a neighborhood shopping center driveway (right next to Charming Charlie’s purse/accessory mother ship store) a small white vehicle came flying directly into my lane from the right without any warning time, hindering me from doing all those things you know you should do when you figure out you’re are going to hit another car, i.e. brake, scream “Sweet mother of God!”, brace yourself so as to increase muscle injuries, curse the driver’s day of birth, yell at your kids “Hang on, Mommy’s going to hit someone!” or any other such nonsense. I glanced at the car and slammed into it.  That is all.  I never saw the driver’s face as she was looking to her right the entire time she was entering the four lane road, planning on crossing two lanes of traffic.  The kind police man asked me how long I had between my visual awareness of the other car and impact.  “One second.”  I have since wondered about her actions.  Did she just find the queen mother purse to match her favorite hot pink and cheetah print shoes, and couldn’t wait to get home and unite the two, creating the perfect ensemble?  Did she just eat at the Mellow Mushroom and was in a pasta induced coma with garlic permeating from her pores?  We will never know, dear reader.

3.  When the kind police man finished my inquisition and then glanced in the back seat of the van to witness a tear-stained little Latina child, he should have used his kind policeman voice and asked a politically correct question like, “Who is this little sweetheart?” or “I see we have a princess in the back seat.” or “Honey, are you ok?”  But NO.  He got the wrath of the blubbering adoptive mother when he blurted out, “Who is THAT?” like I picked up an illegal alien down by the border and was transporting her color-coordinated, well manicured dimpled self like a criminal. I will admit I answered a bit tersely, “SHE’S MY DAUGHTER!!!!”  My tone set him in his place and his kind police man voice surfaced as he praised her for being in her booster seat and wearing her seatbelt.  I am a protective mama first, and an injured car passenger second. Don’t ever forget that!

4.  Auto injuries are curious beasts.  Due to the impact of the airbag underneath the steering column of our van, my shins took a real beating.  I did not know there was an airbag under there, nor was I aware that it was hinged from the bottom and the molded plastic cover was capable of shaving your legs so thoroughly upon explosion, you might never need to shave them ever again due to the absence of several layers of skin and hair follicles.  Thank God I was wearing jeans.  As was predicted by my ER doctor friend, other injuries will surface when the most intense injuries subside.  After four days of lying on the couch with my legs elevated and iced every hour around the clock, I was able to stand without tears accumulating in my eyes.  Then I realized my right shoulder was not working as well as it had been performing before the white car jumped in my path.  Yesterday x-rays were had and after two days of icing my shoulder every hour around the clock, we will hopefully have some answers tomorrow as to my gimpy limb.  When that is concluded, I do not know what will make me cry next…. the seatbelt bruise line across my entire torso?  Or some other area still in shock waiting to surface.  I will surely keep you posted, even though I am aware of “women’s tea rules of courtesy” of not speaking of sickness or operations.  This ain’t a tea…. it is my blog, and where else can I complain with my sense of humor intact for the enjoyment of others?

5.  God takes care of His children.  When God found our new-to-us van on November 30, 2012, He was testing my thankfulness at receiving such a good and perfect gift from Him, despite it being red.  Red is my least favorite color.  But I WAS thankful for the van… the low miles, the reasonable price, the stow-n-go compartments to haul more junk, the awesome air-conditioning, the radio controls on the back of the steering wheel, etc.  And I was content knowing that I couldn’t see that it was red while I was riding in the van. I imagined that it was a purty royal blue color.  So I am pretty sure I passed the red van test and now get another new-to-us van that is not red.  I will keep you posted.

Currently my pain meds have once again done their duty and I am ready to drift back to a psycho-dream filled sleep.  Good night for now.

After ALL These Years….

September 19, 2012

After all these years, I have finally figured something out.  Please don’t hold your breath too long waiting in anticipation for this monumental, earth-shattering news.  The back-story first.

With two bathrooms upstairs and a newly acquired princess from Colombia in December 2010, I decided that she could brush her teeth and bathe in the master bathroom, so as to leave more room for her three siblings.  How nice of me.  I’m the nice mom, remember?  I figured it wouldn’t be that much of a hassle due to her usually preening at different hours than her father and me.  Fast-forward four months to me being completely grossed out by the blobby toothpaste all over the cap and drawer where the Crest is kept.

The gross-out feeling is mutual between my new daughter and me.  She is grossed out that hair is stuck in my hairbrush.  I am grossed out by dried, globby toothpaste on the cap and in the drawer.  Deciding not to mention the blue blobs, I got myself a brand spankin’ new tube of Crest ONLY for personal use, and cleared a spot in my medicine cabinet for MY toothpaste where it would remain clean and blob-free.

NOTHING gets past her big brown eyes!  NOTHING!  She asked me THE NEXT DAY, “Why do you have toothpaste up there on the shelf now?”

In a sweet voice (because I’m the nice mom) I replied, “It’s because someone left toothpaste on that tube in the drawer and I don’t want to touch it.”

Her response made me burst out laughing, “Maybe DAD left the toothpaste all over the cap!”  Hahahaha!

Her father and I have been sharing the same tube of toothpaste for 23 years.  If you are a germaphobe, I’m sorry that you now look down your sanitized nose at us.  We are what we are.  So, YES there were new clumps of toothpaste.  YES, the Colombian princess was the culprit…. but not the culprit willing to admit to the messiness.

So what did I figure out after all these years?  My husband is a very neat toothpaste user, for which I am thankful.   I would not be harboring these thankful thoughts if it weren’t for our Colombian Princess joining the family.  :o)  One more blessing of adoption.

 

I am Strong and Healthy (repeat)

August 28, 2012

I am strong and healthy.  I am strong and healthy.  This is what I quote to myself out loud when the first signs of sickness raise their feeble heads in my body.  Be gone plugged sinuses.  Get thee behind me, nasal drip.  My offspring stand clear when they hear their mother muttering, “I’m strong and healthy!”

The S&H phrase has been my mantra all day.  Many a cure have been applied, sniffed, soaked up and swallowed to no avail. So as the red numbers read 12:34 a.m…. the green tea in the kitchen cupboard called to me.  You know I’m not healthy when I drink tea.  Tea reminds me of wet cardboard.  Hot wet cardboard. Yes, I have tried chai and it simply tastes like sweet hot wet cardboard.  But I digress.

So I have been reading adoption blogs while waiting for my cardboard-flavored tea to get down to “children’s temperature”, as a kind Starbucks employee once described MY temperature of choice. Whatev!  Lately I have been messed up by a book called 7.  Yes, it’s a single digit number title.  Kind of like 1984, but with only one digit. At a later date when I am truly strong and healthy, I will expound on this tome and impress you with my knowledge of things I have only read about.

Anyway, the author, Jen Hatmaker, adopted two older kids.  I can relate.  She had three bio kids at home… a girl and two man-children.  Same same.  And aside from her story and her tales of woe leading up to the referrals, etc., I have been experiencing AMG… adoptive mama guilt.  Tonight I came to the trusty home computer (in the family room for ALL eyes to see what anyone may be viewing online….. side note: once I sat on the couch that is 10 feet behind the screen… and behind the viewer’s back, I used binoculars to READ THEIR MAIL!  Yes I did.) and after reading a few adoption blogs I realized I NEED to confess and repent of some AMG.

But as I leaned forward to see the keyboard in the dark of the night, my nose dripped in my green already-gross-tasting tea…. and I decided to lament the whole scene and blog about AMG tomorrow…. when the sun is shining and I am strong and healthy.

Goodnight.

It’s ALMOST Comical

January 17, 2012

Yes, I’m talking about one more glitch in the adoption process.  Yes, we have adopted the Colombian Princess.  Yes, it is final in Colombia and recognized in the USA.  She is ours. We are hers.  Done…. with papers to prove it.  She is an American citizen and we have a pretty paper to prove that too. BUT, we are in the process of re-adopting in our state so we will have an US adoption decree, an US birth certificate and the final name change decree, which the courts in Colombia wouldn’t allow. (Even though she asked for her name to be shortened, they wouldn’t change it because she was over 5 years old.)  We all know how important it is to prove that you are a natural-born citizen OR have hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover up that you aren’t…. but I digress.

I assumed re-adoption in Arizona would be easier than an international adoption.  It is slightly. Of course we had to get our fingerprints done for the ninth time.  Since our eldest daughter turned 18 in the process, she also got to join in fingerprinting fun.  More financial statements.  More home visits.  More paperwork.  You may recall a blog about the need to prove that our dog had the rabies vaccine too.  (Do they really think the type of people who go trough this whole rigmarole to adopt a child would not get their dog protected against rabies?) Seriously.

We are so close to getting our final court date here in AZ, but come to find out, we didn’t have an English translation of the Sentencia, the final Colombian Adoption Decree.  Ironically, I could not get a straight answer out of anyone at the County Attorney’s Office as to whether this translation had to be certified and/or notarized.  Our social worker was eventually able to pull some strings and get some answers for us.  We sent the Spanish version off to our friend in Colombia for translation, and we received an email back that said there is a mistake on the original, official, final, Colombian Sentencia.  This is almost comical.  Thankfully, our friend could go to the court and get it changed, so we don’t have challenges later.  OF COURSE this includes more time, more money, more paperwork.  Really?

If you are adopting from Colombia, make sure you get a translated copy of the Sentencia BEFORE you leave Bogota!!!

One translating step forward and two adoption process steps backwards.  Some day we will be done.  Some day.

GOTCHA Day!

November 27, 2011

November 25th was Nora’s Gotcha Day.  We have had our little Colombian princess for one year now!  Hard to believe!  We celebrated in style…. purple style…. and ate Domino’s pizza… because that is where we ate in Cali the night we received Nora. 

We spent time going through her Colombian box that contains all the items and clothing she brought with her from her homeland.  We gave her a beautiful handmade dress from Cali, as well as a few American gifts… that were purple!

For two years I have been working on my third book…. Nora’s Story… her lifebook.  I was impatiently waiting for all the info during the first year… and then trying to find time to put it in the book this last year.  It tells the story of her life from the day she was born.  I’m once again so thankful that we took a day to go up to LaCumbre, the sleepy little town where she was born.  We were able to get a copy of the hospital report from that precious day… and it had priceless details on it that we would have never been able to give to her! Also included in her lifebook are copies of her birth certificates, her citizenship certificate and pictures of her foster family. 

After reading the lifebook, we watched the videos that were taken in Colombia.  It made us miss our sweet friends that we met in Colombia.  We all cried again as we watched ourselves crying tears of joy when we got her.  Awesomeness, for sure!  It was interesting for her to watch, because she only spoke Spanish then.  She was quite shocked at her behavior, which is a good sign!!!  She said, “I wasn’t a very good example then!” and “I talked a LOT!” and “I wasn’t very nice, was I?”  What do you say to that?!?  No, Honey, you weren’t, but we loved you anyway! 

We ended the evening by lighting sparklers and running around the backyard screaming like little girls.  Great fun!  Nora made us a darling card that said, “Thank you for adopting me!” and lots of other terms of endearment.  She is such a thoughtful little girl!  I told my husband later that night that I didn’t expect to hear her say thank you for adopting her until she was 35.  :o)  It’s been a year of blessing!  Thank God for our little girl!

One Year Ago TODAY!

November 23, 2011

One year ago today we were sitting on several airplanes on our way from Phoenix to Texas, Panama and Cali, Colombia!  What an exciting time that was!  A day to remember FOREVER!  Remarkably, I looked semi-relaxed in the pictures.  It was the peace of God which passes ALL understanding, that’s what it was!  Had to be because I was lacking too much sleep to be peaceful on my own.  (Actually in this first picture, I was looking slightly shifty… anticipating the pat down at security!)

I remember sitting on the floor in the airport in Panama late in the evening, talking to the only other blonde girl in the entire airport besides Larisa.  She asked us where we were staying, as we were arriving close to midnight…. because it’s not like you can drive around and find a Travelodge that leaves the light on for you in Cali!  Funny thing was, we didn’t know where we were staying.  She was a bit taken aback by our news…. a family of five traveling to Colombia without firm plans in place.. arriving in the dark of the night.  If she only knew how much that went against every morsel of my little controlled and planned out life!!!  But we had some good connections who were taking care of us!

We had some baggage challenges in the Panama airport due to the language barrier in South America which had already embraced us with full force.  We weren’t sure if our luggage would be in Colombia that night but we prayed hard and it showed up right on schedule.

As we finally laid our tired heads on the lumpy pillows on the REALLY low bed in the hotel, I remember thinking… will I ever be able get to sleep?  In the morning our girl would be in our arms! Thankfully, I slept like a baby…. the baby who wakes up every hour or so and sucks her thumb to go back to sleep!

Adopting a little Colombian has changed our lives forever.  Adoption revealed the true hearts of my children who have lovingly welcomed Nora as if she has been in our family all along.  It also unearthed a few rough spots in my life as I was the one who had the hardest time adjusting.  The Lord and I have been working on those sore spots together. 

My husband received a thank you card from our neighborhood pastor last week thanking him for helping with our neighborhood leadership… AND for changing Nora’s life by stepping up and being her DAD!  Brought tears to my eyes.  She didn’t have a Daddy until one year ago!  She couldn’t have asked a better Daddy for herself!  She asked me once if I knew that Daddy cried.  I said I did, but how did she know???  She told me, “He loves me so much that sometimes he gets tears in his eyes when he tells me.”  Perfect!

It’s been a year of BLESSING!

ESL Fun and Games…..sorta

November 14, 2011

The sweet Colombian princess and I have been diligently learning the phonograms to sound out the English language for two months.  She almost mastered the frist 26 (single letters) but as she wrote them…. I came to the realization that she is already programmed for printing the letters incorrectly, holding the pencil totally rigid and straight up, as well as copying over the letters two and THREE times each before lifting her pencil.  Drove me nuts. 

Children Handwriting

After many prayers and whining sent heavenward, I remembered that one of my sons had difficulty printing so I started him with cursive first.  It worked brilliantly.  Thanking God for the wisdom from on high, I decided to switch Nora over because she had no bad habits to overcome in cursive… well, almost.  The rigid pencil grasp made all her letters tilt backwards and look like a lefty wrote them.  After saying 4,678 times, “Tilt your pencil back,” I resorted to taping her pencil down to her hand.  One of my insightful friends recommended this… and it worked.  She fought it all that day (technically for about 15 minutes), but from then on she was determined never to be taped again and carefully tilts the pencil back before writing now.

Another lightbulb went on one day when I realized all the phonogram cards are in printing, not cursive.  So I made a set of cursive phonograms and we STARTED ALL OVER AGAIN… with hardly any recognition.  Oh my.  That was two or three weeks ago and she is getting it…. slowly.  A cursive n does look like an m.  And a cursive k does resemble an r.  I get the confusion!

We have finished the spell-to-write-and-read list A from Spaulding.  Twenty little words.  And I mean little… do, go, is, am, my, run, etc.  We talked through them all.  She sounded them out.  We clapped the syllables.  She printed them quickly in left-angled letters and then carefully in right-leaning cursive in her Spelling Book.  She is doing so well.

Alas, today she had her first spelling test of the twenty little words.  The results were not pretty.  Only three were correct.  It was disheartening for me.  I realized today that she is still translating from Spanish to English with the letters and sounds.  I shouldn’t be surprised by this, as she has only been speaking English for seven months.  This is English as a Second Language afterall!  But still, I assumed she was understanding more than she is.  I texted the principal of our homeschool and told him how frustrated I was.  Being ever the compassionate parent, he asked how she took the news.  I replied, “I didn’t tell her.”  Then he added that at least I couldn’t blame him that it came from his side of the family!  hahaha!  After I secretly marked the test, Nora and I played some card and sound matching games and then put it all away for another day. 

That is precisely what we have…. another day.  One baby step at a time.

Another Book in the Making

October 30, 2011

Years ago I was wide awake one fine morning at 2:00 a.m.  There was a book idea running amuck in my mind.  It was causing me to lose precious sleeping hours, so I succumbed.  Climbing out of bed, finding my journal and making my way to the bathroom I was determined to write down every blinkin’ thought, so I could get some much-needed rest.  Quietly I closed the door and flicked on the light.  After eye-adjustment-to-the-brightness time elapsed, I indeed jotted down every blinkin’ thought…. and there were 60 of them, much to my blurry-eyed surprise.  Each one a story pertaining to my life of weight loss, gain, loss, gain, loss, gain… and God.  That night I named the book Squeezing Laughter into a Leotard: Devotions for Above Average Women, and then I crept back to bed in the dark of the night and slept like a baby.

Three years ago I wrote a blog mentioning this book-to-be:  http://mysistersjar.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/wrapped-up-in-elvis/  During those three years, I had a part-time job filling out adoption paperwork and getting fingerprinted.  So no progress has been made as of yet.  I think only one of the stories is actually written down in black and white.  And once again, I’m in the great battle of food/appetite control.  The PERFECT time to write about the frustrations that chubby people face day in and day out.  REAL stories that women can relate to….. like falling off the wagon with rice krispy treats and not wanting to step on the scale tomorrow morning.

Currently, I’m down 54 pounds since April.   That sounds all great, yet I have 46 to go…. and I got slapped around by Snap, Crackle and Pop tonight, so I’m not feeling real successful at the moment.  Through the past six months, I’ve been able to identify my trigger points that cause me to eat foods that are permissible for me, but not beneficial.  Here’s the short list:

  1. When I’m sick
  2. When I’m alone
  3. When I’m mad
  4. When I’m on the phone
  5. THAT time of the month
  6. When I smell peanut butter 
  7. Before an adoption home visit
  8. When I see clutter
  9. Seeing Green Corn Tamales on a menu
  10. When I’m on a long vacation
  11. After a friend has died
  12. After a homeschool graduation
  13. After cooking a meal
  14. When I should be in bed
  15. At birthday parties
  16. When visions of sugar plums dance in my head

Like I said, that is the SHORT list.  Thanks for humoring me and reading to the end.  Hahahaha. 

Tomorrow is another day to live victoriously with my choices and my new and improved health!

A Word Misspoken

October 15, 2011

In the kitchen amidst the pleasurable aroma of banana bread wafting from the hot oven, the Colombian princess and I were in the heat of a discussion regarding Colombian food.  Often, as the days go by, I ask questions about her foster home to find out more details about her life when we were praying earnestly for her, but had not met her yet.  She gleefully reported to me once again that her favorite foods were rice, beans and meat.  I needed details.  That couldn’t have been all that she ate…. or could it???  I asked about many other South American dishes that I am vaguely aware of…. nada.  Jokingly, I added that we need to take her back to Colombia so she could remember the foods of her homeland.  I thought it was sort of funny.  Flabbergastedly she yelled, “YOU’RE TAKING ME BACK????”   Oops.  No.  Never.

Another heated discussion followed about the words FOREVER… ALWAYS… OURS…. and I gingerly explained that we hope to go visit Colombia with her again, but we cannot and will not leave her there.  I reminded her of the picture of Papi signing the Sentencia papers that translated to: You will ALWAYS be a Crosby from now on.   With the horrible vision of the little Russian adoptee who was recently sent back to his birthland with a note pinned to his jacket, I vehemently stated, “We cannot give you back… and we don’t want to.”

Then I reminded her of the meeting we had at ICBF (Colombian Family Services.. kind of) with a man named Dennis.  After having Nora in our care for five days, he asked if we wanted to go forward with the adoption…. WE SAID YES!  I also reminded her that Dennis asked HER if she wanted to stay with us.  She said YES!  (Hopefully she hasn’t regretted that answer too many times in the last 10 1/2 months!)

Last night I was scrapbooking Nora’s “baby book” (Term used loosely… as it contains her earliest photos… but no baby is seen, sadly.) I tenderly glued in the pictures of that day at ICBF.  I realized that after being with us for five days, and LOVING trying on and wearing all the pretty clothes we brought for her, she carefully picked out her outfit for the ICBF meeting….. every single piece of clothing she put on, right down to her underwear was the clothing she came to us with.  She didn’t use a single article of clothing from her new collection.  Same sleeve-too-short sweater… same plastic white sandals… I wondered what was going through her mind as we drove to the meeting? Did someone tell her to do that in case we said no??? SOOOOOOOOO much for a little girl to ponder in her heart.

So glad she’s HOME!

I’m Finally Making a Colombia Scrapbook

September 15, 2011

Yes, we’ve been home with the Colombian princess for almost nine months…. next Thursday, it’ll be nine months.  I’m finally getting around to making a scrapbook of our trip.  I’ve spent much mental anguish on the Colombia scrapbook topic over the past six months. (The first three months home I just needed a nap.  That’s all.)  I know there are LOTS of photos.  I know there are LOTS of photos that I want to include.  I also know my scrapbooking speed is not what it used to be in the days of old when I got 65 pages completed on a weekend retreat.  I’ve weighed the digital vs. traditional issues too.

This morning my problems were solved when I opened my email and Snapfish had sent me a free digital hard-cover scrapbook.  Well, the first 20 pages are free.  I was all over it…. but the deadline is Sept. 21.  My husband and I are leaving on a jet plane in three days… and not coming home until the 22nd.  So today, instead of teaching my pupils (well I did have Nora do math… and the others are pretty self-motivated at the moment)…. (yes, those were guilt justifying comments)… I uploaded 296 photos and put them in a digital book.  BAM!  Done!  Well, almost.  I only did half of the journaling… and it’s too late in the day to write coherent sentences, much less remember the Spanish names of places and fruits.

Into my closet I went searching for my journal from our trip to South America.  One paragraph smacked me between the eyes and I want to share it with you.  For all those who have adopted, want to adopt, are trying to adopt and are thinking they might adopt…. here’s some cold, hard facts to think on:

“As I drove home the seven hours from the Colombian consulate in Beverly Hills, I had one of those God-moments where I realized that this whole adoption is not about me… or Rick and I… or even Nora.  It’s about God taking care of His children – about His children taking one step at a time, obeying the call on their lives – about God providing everything we need – far before we figured out what we needed.”

 

This was taken right after we landed in Bogotá!

That was so philosophical of me…. and rare… here’s the next page in the journal for your pure enjoyment.

(This was the night before we were leaving Cali to fly to Bogotá.) “As late as it was after packing, 12:30 a.m., I simply could not fall asleep.  The thought that Nora was leaving behind her life as she knows it – kept me awake.  One reassuring thought was that we LOVED Cali SO much – we will return someday.  I also wondered at 2:30, 3:15, 4:12 and from 4:35 on…. would Nora have motion sickness? Would the airplane terrify her?  Did we check under all the beds? And finally – I was awake at 5:00… “ready” for our adventure to Bogotá.”  No wonder I needed three months of naps!


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