Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Closer

It is hard to hold a picture of your child in your hands when you have never touched her, felt her skin, gazed in her eyes, run her fingers through your own. She is real and alive and thriving half way around the world.

I started knitting a dress for baby Nerys. It is light green and light pink. It is cotton and silk, sleeveless and delicate. It is soft to the touch and I can imagine her skin glowing underneath. As I create this piece, I knit one stitch after another, slowly creating V shapes across a row. When I get to the end, I turn the piece and continue on. Slowly it is taking shape. Once in a while, I bring the bottom of the dress to my cheek and rest it there. Sometimes I feel sad when I touch it to my face, imagining her loss and her future grief. Mostly I selfishly feel sad for myself, wishing she were here with us now. I knit my hopes and dreams for her, and for me, into the dress as I think about her and what she might be doing at the moment the cotton brushes my skin. I picture her face, her fingers clutching the duplo block in the only picture we have of her. Sometimes I close my eyes as I rest the softness to my skin and feel my growing love for her pour into the piece.

The closer I get to finishing the dress, the closer we are to meeting Nerys. So, I continue to slowly work on the dress knowing I can't put all of my love into this simple little dress, but right now it is what I have to hold.

Friday, May 25, 2007

This might be harder...

So waiting to travel might be harder than the wait to hear. It has been one week since the referral of our little girl. Last night, we crawled into bed, and Terry half whispered, "I wish our baby was here with us." "Me too," I said, "Me too."

Twelve weeks is going to be a long time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Whirlwind

Since Friday, life has been a whirlwind. Phone calls, requests, people over, descriptions given, and emails read. Terry and I just sometimes sit and look at each other and know what each other is thinking... it finally happened... oh my gosh, we're parents!

And then the processing started. Dr.'s notified and talked to, medical information sent in, the realization that we didn't need all of this little baby stuff! We re-did the baby registry (with pink!!!) and then had discussions about where our little one was "really" at developmentally. She's so tiny and we are still in awe. To give you some perspective, her current height and weight at last report, was approximately the size of an American 5 month old white female. *sigh* 1 year old and still a little munchkin. Nevertheless, we're in love and officially accepted her referral. We are very excited.

We are applying for our Ethiopian Visa's in the hope that we can travel very soon. While we know she is receiving good medical care, we know the care she can get here is even better. We are anxious to get her here, in our home. We know that she is inquisitive (looks for hidden toys), and is alert ("concious but irritable"). Her picture has the definite look of "what's up?" She is looking directly at the camera which makes it feel like she is looking right at us. We gaze at her often.

So, many decisions being made and more paperwork processes are being followed. Life suddenly feels like it is in fast forward, but is the most pleasant fast-forwarding ever.

Now, if we can agree on a middle name (or two)...

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's A....

Girl! Yes, we received the call and are happy to say we are the parents of a beautiful baby girl, 11.5 months old. She is a bitty peanut at 12.5 lbs and 25 inches, but is quickly gaining weight at the care center. We are just smitten with our little one!!!!

I would love to post a picture for all of you, but am not allowed by Ethiopian Law. As soon as we receive her birth certificate we will be able to post a picture of her. Until then, know that she's a beautiful, Ethiopian munchkin with serious little eyes and cute little puckered lips :)

Thank you all for your love and support as we have waited, waited, waited for our little baby Coleman!!!

Love,
Terry and Sarah

Is it already the end of the week?

It is. So, until 5:00 pm we can keep our hopes up for a little ring from the cell phone. Someone did get a referral yesterday (yeah!), but we didn't move up on the list. Those of us on the forum who are "on the brink" of court closure are about to lose our minds.

However, Terry and I have found ways to keep busy: knitting baby hats, plumbing, grouting, grouting and more grouting in the bathroom and knitting baby hats. I need to take pictures of them and post so that all of you know that we have been productive expectant parents.

Honestly, this wait, here at the end, is harder than I expected. Everything is so nebulous and ephemeral. There is no information about why the process has slowed so much and for me, not being in the loop really sucks. I am far too anal for this process. Then there are baby things here, and although we have some "guarantee" of a baby, we don't know when that actually is. Sometimes I wonder if we are just playing house or something. All we need is a doll to dress up and we're set!

Nevertheless, I will be on task today and get things done. Besides, Shrek the Third opened today and what a better way to celebrate the end of the day--that no doubt will end without a referral???

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"There is something good about this waiting..."

"You always answer your cell phone!" -- Terry, 5.16.07

I love the silver linings in waiting.

Two days of the week left (thanks HeatherBean for the optimisim!) for a referral. Where did the week go? How does time move so fast?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Midweek

Wednesday has arrived. Terry just declared that today is the day. Then promptly followed it up with the fact that he can say it every day and one day he will be right. That is optimism people!

So, obviously no referral. So, feel free to do those happy dances, hoping, finger and toes crossing and praying rituals at will. We are also practicing them over here.

p.s. I did cave and do real shopping yesterday. A VERY cute cloth elephant photo frame that will match the bedding and decor in the bedroom. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

...and Tuesday...

Here we are. It's Tuesday. No referral (which means I win!!!!!). I think the waiting might be killing me. On the upside, there is fake shopping, bathroom remodeling, gardening, and coffee. I might have to add chocolate cake instead of the mass quantities of salad I have been consuming. My concentration skills are severely declining. I might as well move into CHSFS and wait there.

ugh.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday, again

So here we are at the dawn of a new week. Thus, the phone is on and prepared to receive phone calls from CHSFS. Terry said all day yesterday, "Oh they'll call us tomorrow!" Ever the optimistic, that man I married. I said, "no, probably not for another 2 weeks..." Of course, he thinks I am ever the pessimistic, but I assure him I am just more grounded in reality ;)

So, here we begin our first full week in The Window. Our window date was May 11th, which means we are now in month FOUR of waiting. I waited patiently for about 3.5 months. This appears to be my limit. So, that being said: If you pray, please do that! If you hope hard, do that! If you cross your fingers, click your heals three times and do a little happy dance that'd be great too! We need a baby over here!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

I guess if you're expecting, you get to celebrate! We received a beautiful handmade card from MK and JK and their little baby J yesterday. Terry woke me up this morning with a beautiful, handmade card celebrating this stage of expecting. He also bought some supercute bibs decorated with little lions, zebra's and other african animals. oh, so cute.... and blue! :) Uh-oh, he picked boy colors. We're going to have to have that gender chat again!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out their expecting and who have already grown their family through adoption, birth, marriage, foster-care or primary caregiving.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Making Memories

Eighteen years ago, my dad was on his way to pick me up at my house. I was wildly finishing up my project for 7th grade Home Economics. For my birthday, dad was taking me to the Billy Joel concert. Flashback: Stormfront had just been released, I had long, wavy, bedraggled hair and was thin as a rail. Dad was an awesome dad; my best friend, he listened to KDWB (at least when we were in the car) and wasn't afraid to have fun. While I was rather introverted, my daddy-o was pretty extroverted. He was always doing special things for us kids on our birthday's but this was my first concert, in a big stadium, in the city. I had known Billy Joel concert tickets were my birthday gift for a little while, and I was so excited, I'm not sure I concentrated on much that day. We had a great time, Billy Joel was awesome and exciting. Spending time with my dad was priceless beyond imagination.

In December of 2006, I heard the rumor that Billy Joel was coming to town on May 9th of 2007. I quickly, spur of the moment, emailed dad and asked if he wanted to go... YES! I bought the tickets. And, when they came in the mail I said a little high pitched, "yeah!". In 5 months, I would be going to the Billy Joel concert with my dad. It seemed like that would take forever... kinda like when I was a kid! Forever is suddenly realizing that eighteen years have elapsed since that day. But, it wasn't just the fond memories of going to that concert with my dad. There was another significance to this.

This would be, most likely, the last thing I did with my dad, alone, before I became a mommy. It was my last father-daughter event before our titles and places in life were to forever change. He will be called Grandpa, I will be called Mommy. No longer will we be just daddy and his little girl. For every intent and purpose, a baby will come into our lives and change the dynamics. Perhaps I will look to my father with different eyes, and he will look at me differently, too. Perhaps I will understand him more, perhaps he will find more pride in a raising a good daughter and be filled with hopes that I will be a good parent. We'll probably see each other more when the baby comes, but talk less as we center our attention to Baby Coleman. Perhaps not.

Either way, on Wednesday, I took my dad to the Billy Joel concert. My dad drove and I sat in the passenger seat. We chatted as we made our way into downtown St. Paul. Probably much like we did on our way to the concert eighteen years ago. We ate dinner at Cosetta's. We chatted more about our adult lives over pasta. We completed this circle he started when I was in 7th grade. Did I mention my dad is amazing? I can only hope that I can be as good a parent, and make as good of memories with my little one as he made with his.

Thanks, dad.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

So, how many children do you have?

I was at my dr.'s appointment today. The doctor asked the typical questions, "are you married?" Yes. "Do you have children?" ummm.... no. And since I have no referral and no baby at my house, I suppose this is the accurate answer. I could say, yes, my two lovely kitties, but I can only imagine the interesting looks for that response. In all seriousness, however, part of me (about 33.33%) wants to say, yes, sort of...

I mean, I have been paper pregnant for about 4 months, and I have been getting ready for said bambino for about 14 months, and I think that is a VERY long pregnancy (as JK said today, "almost as long as an elephant!" Thanks, JK). If I was pregnant, they would ask how many OTHER children I have, assuming I count the one in my womb as one. So, doesn't that mean I can count, say, .75 children? If I answer the "how many children do you have" question with "I'm expecting." people instantly do the eye-flash-to-the-womb-area bit. This makes me wildly uncomfortable, making me have to explain that either I am just really fat (this is a tempting answer after someone has just eyeballed your womb) or that we are adopting and hoping for a referral soon.

They ask, "boy or girl?"
Me: "Dunno"
Them: "is it born yet?"
Me: "Dunno"
Them: "well, do you know who is having your baby?"
Me: "ah, no."
Them: "oh."

This "oh" generally means, "so you aren't really expecting then" or "we are totally confused" or "we have no idea what to ask next". Adoption just isn't the same. People, in general, do not know what to DO with an adoption. It isn't public, and therefore isn't perceived as real, and they don't count that child as "in the expecting stage". And, you can add me to that list of unsure how to categorize.

As a culture, we like labels, simplicity, and the concrete. We don't like abstract, difficult, or uncategorizable. Adoption isn't simple or concrete. It expects thinking outside the box, failure to categorize-- Is it yours? you're expecting?-- and is implicitly untenable. We can't put our finger on how to feel or what to think. We tend to forget that adoptive parents are indeed "pregnant" and waiting. In fact a frequent question is,

"what does it mean you are waiting?"
"We are waiting for them to tell us who our baby is."
"oh. So you don't know?"
"nope!"
-- then see above discussion.

So here we are. In the grey area of adoption, where time goes on even though we are waiting (not patiently anymore), and everything is diffucult to explain, and nobody knows what to expect.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Dry Spell

Today marks the third week of dry spell. No referrals. Not a whisper of action. As we sit, idly, in the 14th position, we grow more anxious, nervous and excited. Each day, we are also more disappointed that there is no movement. We worry that we will not make it through the courts, thus not receiving a referral before June 15th. Should this occur, we would be on hold until September 15th, making our ultimate wait over 9 months long. May 11th marks our arrival at The Window. At 4 official months of waiting our wait has become substantially less easy. Our hopes were up for a referral this week or maybe next. Now, we begin to wonder. Note to self: remember not to get the hopes up for quick referrals!

Nevertheless, I continue to carry the cell phone around with me. No doubt it will soon also be accompanying me to the bathroom and into the shower. Perhaps I should have it implanted. I informed the Monday Meeting work group that from this point forward my cellular phone would be on, and should I get a call from a 651 number, I would be answering it. Further, should it be The Call, I would be commandeering Dr. R's computer. He took this well. This morning my phone rang and I went running down the office suite, dashed into my office and answered only to find a person confirming my doctor's appointment. I got off the phone and issued a loud, "ugh!!" I said, "No one can call my phone unless they are CHSFS!"

Terry has now been checking the forum, too. He calls in the morning and afternoon to see if anything has happened on the forum, and then asks again when I get home. By that time, however, he has usually hopped online and checked it out himself.

We have both been busy making plans and starting the baby registry. We now have a Target registry and an Amazon.com registry for people to peruse. This is difficult when we don't know gender or sizes, but we are winging it and guessing a bit. As Roobutt kindly pointed out, you can always exchange for bigger or smaller sizes of clothing. We selected our baby bedroom theme, and you can look at our selection here: http://www.babysupermall.com/main/products/brd/brd544pafp.html

We selected this theme because of its nice neutral colors, and because it will hopefully compliment the many items we hope to bring home from Ethiopia.

Okay, sorry for the rambling blog. No news is not good news and also calls for long meandering, rambling blogs :)

Addis Ababa Time