Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Sharing Time #2

For today's sharing time, I'm passing you along to AnyMommyOutThere. I don't remember exactly how I found her blog but it's become one of my favorites for many reasons. In a nutshell she and her husband were one time big world travelers who now find themselves w/ a mortgage, a mini-van, and 3 kids under 4 yrs old (with another on the way). She's one of those writers who can be funny in one sentence and heartbreaking in the next; who can go from poo to adoption disruption with a few smooth keystrokes.

I highly recommend her whole blog. Just go to her archives and randomly pick an entry, you won't be disappointed. But for now, just to give you a taste of the delicious AnyMommy here are three of my favorite posts...

Two Paths Diverged This first one is slightly random but I like it because she deals with the question I ask myself every day: how do you give your children both roots and wings? Sadly, she doesn't provide an answer, but asks the question in a way that I really get.

Invisible Bonds In this post she confesses just how hard that first year with her adopted daughter was but how in the end it was all worth it. There is a definite "ahhh" moment at the end.

And then just so you don't thing AnyMommy is all soul searching and's one to make you laugh.... It Just Keeps Getting Better

May your weekends be as sunny and glorious as ours here in LA promises to be...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Celebrity Stalking in the Rite-Aid

I saw this person yesterday in my neighborhood Rite-Aid.

I live in Los Angeles. I have worked in theatre or 'the industry' for most of my adult life. I am used to seeing celebrities and I pride myself on treating them like normal people. Which means, unless I actually KNOW them personally, I don't act like I know them, know what I mean? A roommate of mine once saw Courteney Cox at a restaurant and their eyes met across the room. My roommate told me that Courteney's look said "yes, I am a Friend, but I am not YOUR friend." Which is true and to me, sad that she has to have that armour up even while eating dinner. Anyway, my point here is--I don't approach celebrities. I don't stare (at least not obviously). I don't ask for autographs. I respect their privacy.

But yesterday in the Rite-Aid, I wanted to talk to Nia Vardalos so badly. All because of this essay she wrote in the Huffington Post last month.

For a variety of reasons, The Esquire and I never really considered domestic adoption. So I have to admit I don't know a lot about it...only what I hear from other people. Which means I've heard both horror stories and fairy tale endings. I am not an advocate for International Adoption over Domestic ... I am an advocate of choosing the route that is best for your family.

Like I said, I don't know much about domestic adoption or FostAdopt. And I don't know if Nia Vardalos's experience is typical. I just really admire that she wrote about it, and that she's trying to shed some light on what seems to be a very complicated system. I know how much reading blogs by other people adopting from Ethiopia means to me, so I can only assume this essay is just as helpful to families in the FostAdopt program. And after all, isn't that what it's all about...sharing our experiences with the hope that it helps someone else?

So when I saw her in the drug store, with her daughter, I wanted so badly to say something... "nice article"... "good job"... "we're adopting too"... but in the end I figured the nicest thing I could do for her was to just let her continue having a normal day at the Rite-Aid with her daughter.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Sharing Time

One unexpected bonus for me in this whole adoption process has been to discover Blogs. Before I started doing internet research about the many aspects of adoption, I really had no idea what a blog was, why someone would write one or even why someone would read them. Luckily for me the Adoption Community has a HUGE blog neighborhood; which I have been visiting on a daily basis now for over a year. My google reader alerts me to new postings on 29 adoption blogs. (thank goodness you don't all post at the same time or I would never get dressed!). In addition to those, I also now follow 7 travel blogs, 3 news blogs and 2 cute baby blogs.

Over this past year I have discovered some amazing writers in the Blogdom. And by amazing I mean: they
can really write well and/or they wrote something that captured my feelings exactly. I've been keeping a little list of blog entries that really moved me and I've decided to share some of those with you.

So, I hereby announce Friday Sharing Time. For the next couple Fridays, I will share with you some blog entries that I loved and I hope you will love too.
Some are just plain funny. Some are really thought provoking--often in uncomfortable ways. Some seem to explain my thoughts so much better than I ever could that I will share them with you simply so I don't have to write it out myself. For whatever reason, these are blog posts that have spoken to me recently.

The first one I'm going to share is kinda funny, with a touch of seriousness. It spoke to me because 1) we are asking for two children, 2) I also have had a home stay with a family in rural Zimbabwe but my family insisted I make peanut butter... which doesn't work as well in her story, 3) I sometimes also wonder how I got here and 4) I also struggle with the urge to make lists rather than living in the moment. So go on over to Harvard to Homemaker and find out why she thinks Having 2 Kids is like Killing a Chicken.

And in the spirit of Sharing...I'd love it if you would share some of your favorite blog posts with me. And it doesn't have to be about adoption, just has to be something that you felt strongly enough (for whatever reason) to bookmark so you could read it again later.

Happy Friday...

ps: if you like the blog post I send you to, don't forget to comment on that blog so the author knows they are appreciated! Hopefully this will encourage them to continue writing good stuff!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


In my WHOLE life of eating fortune cookies I have NEVER received a fortune that caused me to shake... until last night.

First, The Esquire opened his fortune cookie:

oh, that's a good one.

And then I opened mine.

If YOU had been on the wait list for 5.5 months wouldn't this fortune make you shake also????

I'm just saying....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine's day bedtime story.

Dear chickens-to-be,

In honor of Valentine's Day I thought I would tell you the story of how your daddy and I met/fell in love/got to this point. Even though we are still just waitin' on the wait list, I'm going to pretend you guys are already here and practice my mama-multi-tasking, so this story can only take as long as one load of laundry. Ready... go!

Long long ago, way back in the 90's I went to the Sundance Film Festival and as per the custom, I fell in love with an Actor. He (AKA: LA Boyfriend) lived in LA, I lived in Berkeley... so for 3 years we did the long distance commute thing (which got even longer when I went to SE Asia for 6 months). Finally we decided, if this was going to "happen" we needed to try living in the same town so in 2001 I moved to Los Angeles.

Most of my friends were amazed that I would give up my beloved, crunchy, arty Bay Area for the hip, slick, cool Capitol of Entertainment but this is what love does... it opens you up to new love. Which is exactly what happened... the love I felt for Actor only lasted another year but it didn't matter because in those 12 months I had moved on and fallen in love with Los Angeles. So I found a new apartment and a roommate... Allora, who was a friend of a friend of a friend through work. She was a totally new person in my life and had a totally new group of friends who ultimately became my friends too. One of those friends was your father, The Esquire.

The first time I met him was at Scrabble night (Aug 2002). Now, I should admit that I don't really enjoy's not the most fun game for a non-speller. And let's face it, I can't spell. At all. I spell "cat" with a K... One of the pros of adopting you versus producing you biologically is the hope that you won't get my must-have-spellcheck gene. But your dad, a Spelling Bee Champ, LOVES Scrabble, and takes it very seriously. So the first real memory I have of meeting The Esq. is listening to him argue over the rules of Scrabble. (something about whether or not you can lay a word beside another word so that the side by side tiles create a third - or fourth or fifth - word.. Whatever.) He seemed nice, a bit argumentative but nice enough. I didn't really pay much attention to him.

Fast forward 2 months and The Twins (two of my new friends courtesy of my new housing situation) suddenly decided that I needed to start dating again... and why not start w/ The Esq?! Apparently, he had told The Twins he liked me and sent them as his emissaries. So for the next 3 months all I heard was "why don't you date The Esq??" Now, let me be clear here: I only heard this from The Twins. The Esquire himself, NEVER made any visible move on me AT ALL (usually at this point in the story The Esq says something dry and witty like, "I had a plan. And it worked. We're married aren't we?"). At this point in my life, I was not interested in dating anyone. So to dissuade The Twins, I simply said, "Esquire smokes...I will never date another smoker." Two days later, at lunch, The Esquire said, "So guess what? I've decided to quit smoking!" hmmmmm....

Oscar night 2003: all our friends were out of town so The Esquire and I decided to watch the awards show together. Late in the evening The Esq was laying on the couch and I was sitting on the floor leaning against the couch; we were passing sections of the Sunday NYT back and forth. Suddenly, as I passed him the Book Review, I was overcome with the most intense feeling of COMFORT I had ever felt in my life. I saw the rest of my life flash before my eyes and it involved sharing the Sunday Times with this man. Naturally, I totally freaked out, jumped up, hastily said goodbye and fled. Later your father said that I ran out of there so fast all the newspapers blew around in my wake.

When the phone rang the next morning I knew it was going to be The Esquire before I even answered it. He was calling to invite me to lunch downtown and then for a tour of the LA Public Library. Ok... here's what you need to know in order to get why this was such a smoooooooth mooooove: I LOVE downtown LA. I LOVE LOVE LOVE libraries (especially the one downtown in all it's Art Deco Gloriousness). And I was unemployed so the quickest way to my heart was a free meal. Seriously, he scored all around. Lunch was good. We did the moth dance. Flirted. Laughed. Jumped when we touched accidentally.

Two days later we met for dinner and continued the moth dance. Only this time when our hands accidentally touched under the table, he didn't let go. Which was good because without that tether I might have floated away. Later that night we kissed for the first time. Much later that night I sent an email to my two best friends that basically read, "oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god. I kissed The Esquire." I was totally blown away. I had honestly, never thought of him romantically until the Newspaper Moment. Even with The Twins badgering, I just wasn't in that mindset, so as much as I enjoyed The Esquire as a friend, I didn't think of him romantically at all. And then suddenly, it was all I could think about.

Our first date was one week later when we took a 72 hour trip to Washington DC to visit friends. On the flight home we had one of those Long Serious Deep Conversations that only new daters can have and I said teasingly, "sure, it's all fun and games now until three years have passed and you break up with me." Your father said in total seriousness, "In three years we will either be married or long broken up. Who dates for three years at our age?" That might have been the first grown up statement ever made by any man I'd ever dated and it took my breath away. And he was right. We were married less than 3 years later. (I'll save all the getting-engaged craziness for another story but let me warn you son-to-be, don't let your girlfriend see an email saying "I'm going to propose in June" and then wait until September! Trust me. It ain't pretty.)

This spring will be our 4th anniversary and let me tell you little future children... you could not pick a more in love couple of parents than us. Seriously, it might have taken me awhile to get there but I think The Esquire is just about the most perfect man around. Definitely the most perfect man for me. If you don't believe me ask our friends. No one thought I would ever find a man who cooks (a requirement) and loves to travel/read/shop/hang out as much as I do (while also loving to hunt/build/farm as much as my daddy does!). A more perfect match could not have been made.

Oh...the final rinse just started... I need to wrap this up.

The little footnote to this story is that the subject of children (and oddly, tithing) were deal breakers early on in our dating. I had never really wanted kids. I had more than enough children in my life to love...didn't feel a need for my own. But your father wanted a family more than anything. I wasn't interested at all, and so it became An Issue. But just like The Newspaper Moment, all my feelings changed one day when I saw your father playing with his godson. Suddenly it occurred to me that it wasn't ME having children it was US having children. For whatever reason, in the past I had never really thought/believed/considered the fact that there could be someone as amazing as the Esquire to share a family with. And just like that, I was game. And the Children Issue was taken off the table and we've been talking/wishing/praying/working towards our family ever since.

So my little love bugs... no matter what, always know that your father and I are deeply, deeply in love with each other and with you. We may fight sometimes (Why can't he finish a building project! Why can't I close cabinet doors!) but those are just fleeting moments... our love is strong and we will always, always read the New York Times together.

xoxox-your multi-tasking mama

ps- you are never allowed to go to Sundance. Not even to meet the man who will help you meet The Man.

This was taken after our wedding ceremony, as we sailed towards our New Lives... or, more plainly put, as we motored from one side of the pond to the other for the reception....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin! (you too Abe!)

Today, Feb 12, 2009, marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. (Since Abe Lincoln celebrated his big birthday -his centennial- two years ago so we're going to focus on Charlie today.)

Wow, that's really interesting, Kat, but what does this have to do with Adoption?? Well.... back in 2002 I got to take (and by "got to take" I mean-was laid off and thought this trip was the best way to spend my limited savings) one of my Life Long Dream Trips to Ecuador which included a 12 day live-aboard boat trip around the Galapagos Islands.

And it was perfect and wonderful and I now dream of taking my husband and children there one day. I mean Seriously Dream About It. I have already bought the children's book We're Sailing to Galapagos! and I often browse airfares to Guayaquil, Ecuador (the jumping off spot for the islands).

Below are a few of my own pictures from Galapagos but if you want to see more photos of the wonderfully weird animals that helped inspire Darwin's theories go here (fun photos for kids). And if you want to know more about the Charles Darwin Foundation, which was set up to help preserve the unique environment of the Galapagos Archipelago then go here -- the CDF is a truly cool organization. I bought my own copy of Voyage of the Beagle at the CDF headquarters.

And if you want to see it all in person than simply GO! But go responsibly... Galapagos is beginning to fall apart due to its own popularity. So if you decide to visit make sure you pick an eco-friendly and responsible group. The islands are worth seeing and saving. (and here ends my personal PSA :-)

I toured Galapagos on the Samba, the lovely 12 person boat pictured above. My, she was yar. We had a wonderful crew and bilingual naturalist who taught us everything we could want to know about Galapagos. Every day we went ashore a different island and every night the Samba rocked us asleep. FYI: I am at my happiest when I can go to sleep on a boat.

I had dreamed my whole life of seeing these animals... and they did not disappoint!
The Galapagos Frigate

Marine Iguanas --weird looking and yet wonderfully lovable at the same time. Until they spit on you. Just like children... Also like children, they have no personal space issues at all. I love how they just pile on top of each other.

Ah, the most famous Galapagos resident: The Blue Footed Boobie.

I loved the Blue Footed Boobie so much I brought this tee shirt back for my quasi-godson. His mom (rightly so I imagine) wouldn't let him wear it to school but nevertheless the shirt inspired him to love the BF Boobie as much as I do.

So happy birthday Mr Darwin...and you too President Lincoln!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nesting--Month 5

We have now been on the wait list for 5 months. On a conference call last week, our agency said the current average time on the wait list is 6.5 months. So we might be close... but I kinda doubt it. According to the very unofficial but highly addictive "List" kept by some amazing adoptive moms there are still 17 families ahead of us, with 5 of those families asking for children in our age range. So I think we most likely have another 2-3 months before The Call.

Which is actually pretty soon, so we are slowly trying to start getting things ready. The problem is--it's kind of hard to 'nest' when we don't really know who or how many the nest needs to hold. See, we are approved for up to two children under the age of two which means we could get a referral for twins or a sibling set or a single child. And any of those options could be any age from 3 months to two years old. So we can't really buy a crib yet...don't know how many we'll need. Can't really buy a car seat... don't know how many or what size we'll need. Same issue with strollers and high chairs. So we've been focusing our time (and consumer cravings) on the things we know we'll need no matter what age or how many child/ren we end up with: books and toys and hand-me-downs!

This is the very first toy The Esquire bought for our future child/ren...we weren't even on the wait list yet but it was marked down 75% so he HAD to have it. The little trailer opens up, just waiting to haul important things like this perhaps....

This is a little Melissa & Doug wooden tool set that I gave to my quasi-godson when he was about 3 yrs old. His mom has been saving it for me all these years. I say 'quasi' because technically he isn't MY godson but since I am his sister's godmother and I basically think he hung the moon, I feel like I can take some liberties.

This next toy was my favorite Christmas gift this year. Our friend Sue brought it back from the Philippines specially for us. The cute little plush handled sack pictured below...

Opens up into this fabulous play mat...complete w/ plush jungle animals and plants. Can you see the Elephant? SO cute!

The Esq. and I are both major book lovers and so one of the main things we collected on our trip around the world were children's books - we have One Humpy Grumpy Camel from Oman, The Runaway Peppercorn from India, Irish Fairy Tales from, well, Ireland just to name a few.
And just so we're clear--the book about the architect, Julia Morgan, the one about the Galapagos Islands and When Pigasso met Mootisse are my purchases. The Asterix comics in French and The First Book of Codes & Ciphers can be blamed on The Esquire. I suppose our children will either be well rounded or art snobs who speak in foreign code.

We're really lucky that so many friends and relatives have shared their hand-me-downs with us. This summer, just one month into gathering our paperwork, my sister-in-law and eldest nephew brought us two suitcases full of wooden puzzles, board books and cool educational toys. My cousin gave us tons of her sons' out-grown, super-cute smocked play suites (I heart smocking!) and the cutest little onesie decorated in Monster Trucks jumping over lines of jalopies (she lives in Charlotte and thought it would help us remember her :-)

Over Christmas my (both real and quasi) god children's mom gave us a suitcase full their old clothes. Here are just a few of my favorites:

I have distinct memories of my god daughter -around a year old- wearing this little knit dress as she meets her first pot-bellied pig at a hound show. And somewhere I have pictures of her wearing this little ruffled bikini (the top kept riding up) with her yellow Bono sunglasses... She's 6 yrs old now...where does the time go.

When he was 5 years old, my quasi-godson wore this green vest in our wedding with a pair of seersucker pants. Did I mention he's got curly red hair and bright blue eyes ... and he carried a dogwood branch in full bloom? Hello...can someone get Ralph Lauren on the line for us? This little brown braided belt may be my favorite of all... it's less than 24 inches long...he wore it with these tiny little jeans before he could even walk, much less need to worry about holding his pants up. I made fun of his mom for buying it and yet now, it is one of my favorite things of his. It reminds me of how tiny this funny 8 year old used to be.

So slowly, steadily, we are gathering the things we will need for our soon-to-be child/ren. Just today, at Target I purchased these three little booklets in their $1 section... I think all three will make me a better mom.

Should The Call come tomorrow I think we are prepared. Ok, so maybe we don't have a crib yet... but they can sleep with us! And who needs a stroller or a high chair when we fully intend to never let go of them once they are legally ours. We've got clothes, accessories, reading materials, tools and most importantly lots and lots of love. I think we're all set.