Monday, February 18, 2008

New Poll

To the right of the page I have created a new poll...what are your biggest fears about adopting internationally? You can select more than one answer. It will be interesting to see what people really fear whne they can respond anonimously.


I don't know why I have been pondering this the past few days, and it doesn't really have anything to do with me and is more of an outward thought. What is the emotion evoked in others when they encounter us? What signals do we send out? Do we perceive ourselves as others perceive us? Do we think we are making a certain kind of impression when those who meet us see something totally unintended?

Certainly if someone meets us at a particular time in our life they meet the person we are then...and that person may be a very different person 10 years down the road as life experiences mold us and hopefully mature us.

We have all met people for whom our first impressions were less than flattering, and then as we got to know them better and they allowed us to see a bit more of their inner selves we grew to like them very much.

I know that at various times in my life people have probably seen me as The Wallflower, The Smack (the term we used in the 80's in school to indicate a good student but implied one had "sucked up" to the teacher in one way or another), The Mother Hen, The Emotional Wreck, The Needy One, The Leader (one I have never agreed with but have been called many times), The Mature One, and The Judgmental One.

Titles I am certain I have never held in anyone's mind are The Beautiful One, The Rhodes Scholar, The Rude Wench, The Comedian, or The Spiritual Leader.

It is an interesting pursuit to sit back and watch the various people each of our children are, what "titles" they currently hold that flip flop. Matthew is at various times The Engineer, The Non-Social One, and The Mature Beyond His Years Child. Kenny is the polar opposite and is The Entreprenuer In The Making, The Glee-Filled One, The Galant Prince. Joshie is already The Family Baby, The Get-By-On-My Cuteness, The Tenderhearted.

I often wonder how those roles will change as life tumbles them about in the dryer, taking the "wet behind the ears" kid and turning them into the men they will one day become. Who will be those most influential people in their lives...and will those influences be positive ones? Who will cause their heartaches? What events and circumstances will forever alter their life's path? What thoughtlessly thrown out words will cause them to see themselves differently for the remainder of their life? What girl will grab their heart and will she tenderly cradle it or will she mandhandle it without regard?

There are titles I hope I walk around with in the eyes of some...The Loving Friend, The Dedicated Wife, The Nurturing Mom, The Child of God. Surely before this life is over I will carry far more than I can ever imagine, and there are many I know I am unaware of. I will feel fulfilled however if the majority of people who encounter me in this life can walk away feeling the warmth of my love, the sincerity of my concern, and the firmness of my convictions.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Unexpected Regression

We have an interesting regression going on at our house this week, believe it or not, baby bottles are the total rage over here! The other day Josh decided he needed a new baby blanket. His is a wreck, unlike Kenny and Matthew who took to the special blankets made for them by a dear friend, Joshie has always loved carrying around a small thermal material receiving blanket. We lost version number one about a year and a half ago, and now are on version number two which was the exact same color and material. Well, version number two is looking worse for the wear, very worn, stained, faded and torn and so he approached me asking if we could get a new one just like it. So off to Walmart we went, down the baby aisle to find our new blankie. Luckily we found a two pack so we are stocked for awhile. I then was surprised when he asked if we could get a baby bottle for him, and while a bit surprised I could come up with noe good reason not to and realized that if he was asking for something like that seriously, then there must be a deeper reason so I went ahead and bought a three pack of bottles and we went home.

As soon as we walked in the door, he asked for something to drink in his bottle, and then after I filled it for him, he asked me if I could go in the toy room and rock him in the recliiner like I did when he was a baby. I was getting it, so we soon found ourselves snuggled in the chair, Josh resting in my arms with his gagly 5 year old body fitting quite nicely, thank you very much, and I proceeded to rock him and sing to him as I tried to do when he was little but wasn't often allowed due to the RAD he struggled so mightily with. After about 30 minutes, he was done and thanked me, then went on to other Big Boy tasks.

I quickly understood that Josh has a need to relive some of what he never got, or never got enough of, because of our emotional struggles when he was young. Oh, how I wished at the time that I could rock him gently, relax and have him fall asleep in my arms the way Matthew did, but I never was able to have those moment with him and by the time we had worked through the worst of the RAD, he was already pre-school aged and my oppportunity had passed, or so I thought. Now, maybe even if only for a brief period of time, maybe he and I can have that time together that should have been so special but was missed through no fault of our own. I see this often with Josh, and it is hard to explain. He is not at all more ima ture than other kids his age, but there is this unique quality about him that is still so young, so very much in need of nurturing at times. He has the essence of a younger child that surrounds him, and yet the maturity of an older one too. It is a paradox.

I know there are many parents out there that would flip out if their 5 year old son asked for a baby bottle and wanted to be rocked as if he were an infant. After all, aren't they supposed to be way past that stage? Isn't there something wrong with that? Isn't that kind of strange? And yet it is just one more way in which adoptive parents have to be creative and see outside the box. I see nothing wrong at all with Josh craving what he never had the chance to get, and for letting him have it to some degree if it is at all possible. In fact, even more than that, I think it is imperative that if he needs to revisit certain stages that we do so, that it might inhibit his emotional growth if we don't. This doesn't hurt anything at all, and in fact provides us with some nice one on one time...time we spent fighting when he was young enough to need his bottle...but now that he has learned how to accept my affection I can offer it to him and he can feel the strength of the love that exists between us.

Of course, once Kenny saw the baby bottle, he too wanted one. Now he doesn't really want to be rocked, but he will crawl and sit next to me. So yes, even my 9 year old son has decided he wants to be a cuddled baby just a bit longer. And darned if I am not hard pressed to say no when I understand that a part of him really needs this, even if it is only for a short while.

So, I am sure the novelty will wear off soon, but I am once again washing nipples and cleaning bottles...something I thought was long gone from my repertoire.

On other news, we are still having some "Kenny Moments" with lying, and even though it is all small, seemingly insignificant stuff we need to stay on top of it. It is kind of funny because Matthew even told him "Kenny, you are never going to get away with it, Mom will always catch you!". I am going to have get creative about this and see if I can come up with an idea that is helpful in turning this around.

Tonight we had a family over who is adopting from Kyrgyzstan, and the boys were more excited about it than I would have ever expected. I explained to them that we were going to try and help them learn all the things we knew from our trips, and they suggested we play a trivia game to help the family learn the boys and I created a list of questions and Kenny and Matthew each helped answer them. All 3 boys wanted to wear their traditional clothing, which we hadn't had out in a long time, so they got a kick out of that. The ceremonial robe we bought Matthew when he was an infant now almost fit him, and I was reminded of the passing of time and how quickly his childhood is moving past us.

And now it is off to bed, with a busy week ahead of us. We are halfway through ski season and on the downhill side now. I am looking forward to being a full-time mom again in a couple of months, I miss the extra time with the boys. Still several weeks to go though, so gotta knuckle down and get through it!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Giving Up? Or Giving Up Doubt?

So the gauntlet was thrown down this weekend, and Matthew issued a challenge...we were learning about Lent in church and he said he would give up Legos for Lent if I gave up Diet Coke. For those of you who know me, this is truly an addiction. I am not someone who likes Diet Coke and has a couple a day, I drink it as if it were water. Working during ski season makes it even more readily accessible and FRESH and BUBBLY right at my fingertips out of the tap. I have gone to Caffeine Free Diet Coke before and lasted 3 years on it, until I fell off the wagon about 5 years ago. The headaches I got from being without my daily dose were awful!! I remember thinking all of that was a big joke when people would talk about quitting coffee, but once I tried and failed a few times I knew it was no joke.

Although we are getting a late start, we are going to try and go "cold turkey" starting today and see if we can make it. Tonight the Legos will be packed up for the season and I am certain I will suffer far more than Matthew will :-)

Another thing I am personally going to give up for Lent is doubt. As I was listening to our sermon yesterday my mind wandered a bit, and I thought about what else I could give up for Lent, something more meaningful than a carbonated beverage. I came to a decision that I am going to stop protecting my heart from the possibility that my desires will not come true. I am going to trust that He has already spoken, and there is no reason for Him to have to do so again. I am going to let go of this never-ending need to KNOW how it will all be able to work out and just trust that it will. I can not see how our daughters will come home right now, I just can not picture the way the path will be smoothed.

I realized in a flash of clarity that what I had recently been thinking...that this was more about something I desired and not what He had in mind at all...was simply not true. He made it abundantly clear in several ways early on, and I'll bet God gets really tired of having to reassure us all over and over that He keeps His promises. In a moment of crystal clear understanding, I got it. I don't have to know how, or when, or even why. I just have to know it WILL happen. And I do, in my heart of hearts I know it will. It won't be because I "pushed" too hard, it will be in the right timing and with the right people working on it.

So God, hey, I'm sorry for my doubt. I'm sorry I was so quick to forget the strength of Your power and ability to move mountains. I am sorry that I am weak and it is easier for me to quickly "jump ship" when the going gets a little rough and worry more about moving to a place of protectiveness for myself than of walking through the tough stuff to get to the reward You have already promised is waiting on the other side. You won't have to tell me again, I promise. I will firmly stand on the promise you already made me, I will proudly proclaim what I know to be true even if I can't yet see how You are going to work this out, that they will somehow come home someday. You made it clear that You made me to be their mom, and them to be our daughters and sisters. No question in my mind about that, and I realized that the past couple of days when I was questioned about it and I vehemently stated I KNEW they were ours and any doubt I might have had nothing to do with them at all. You have already spoken to my heart about that. You are Awesome, God, You really are and I am so glad You and I can always talk, that I hear You even if sometimes I stupidly choose to ignore You. You spoke to me years ago about all of this, and reaffirmed it over and over using others to seal the deal. I get it...I really, really do...and I won't ask you again in my weakness. You've got it all under control, and I have to simply do the legwork. You were right 3 times already and you made it happen even when we couldn't figure out where Kenny lived...was he in Kazakhstan? Haiti? Ethiopia? China? And then, miraculously an unexpected phone call and we learned about Kyrgyzstan...and there he was. I was doubting You then, doubting that You had declared to me that we were to adopt a 3rd time, and that doubt was over something as minor as not being able to return to Kazakhstan and not knowing where to turn from there. Dumb, I know, and here I am doing it again. Duh...some people have to be hit over the head with a brick to "get it". Guess I now have a firm dent in my noggin, but I'll get over it. Thanks so much for all the blessings You have bestowed on our family sometimes seems so greedy to ask for anything more, but I know this isn't asking for anything for us, this is You using us to provide for others. Ok, gotta run...Love You! Amen.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Welcome to My World!

I have shared with you all what my winter drive is like as I travel back and forth between Gunnison, Colorado so I thought it would be nice if I posted some photos so you could see the splendor that is mine throughout my 1 1/2 hour one-way commute. Sadly, I am not a good enough photographer to fully capture the images I see before me each day, nor do I have time to stop and shoot regularly.

This is what much of my drive looks like every day, minus the snowpack on the roads that I often have to traverse.

I travel around miles and miles of frozen lake, crossing two bridges. It is the most beautiful sight early in winter as the reservoir begins to freeze over, and the lake effect fog shrouds the nearby terrain in mysterious white clouds hovering just above the water. Suddenly I find myself surprised when I glance over one day to find that the water is no more, it is replaced by a solid sheet of glass. In early spring I witness the entire metamorphosis as the ice thaws, the ice fisherman's huts are removed, and boats once again inhabit their secret coves and favorite haunts.

As far as my eye can see for much of the drive I take in the wonderous sight of snow peaked mountain ranges, solitary roads weaving towards solid, sturdy little farm houses, rocky inclines reaching skyward.

The wildlife is abundant with herds of elk and deer crossing my path often coming perilously close to meeting their own demise, bald eagles soaring along the banks of Blue Mesa Reservoir lighting on leafless branches, Aspen groves awaiting spring so their small musical leaves can once again join in concert with the rushing water in streams below.

I would argue with any New York Executive with the corner office window view of Central Park...the view out my work window is beyond breathtaking, it is soothing and draws you in. We may have 20 people in line who are anxiously awaiting their flight, asking us to "hurry, hurry...HURRY" with their food, and one glance up from the cash register and I smile, realizing that they don't know what they are missing, scurrying around as if the world will stop without them. The airlines are why we are there, and it helps pay the bills, but my "benefits package" is better than any Forbes 500 company can ever offer.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

An End to the Funk

Tonight we had the most wonderful evening, and I sit here filled with the warmth of the companionship we experienced. I have been in a bit of a funk, as you all have likely discerned from my writing, brought on by the bleak winter we have nestled around us this year, and no doubt by the suspension of forward movement of our adoption plans. It is far more likely I can attribute my current state of mind to the latter rather than the former.

When the darkness lifts from your soul, even if the depression was vague or mild, it is as if you can suddenly feel open hearted again, that you are capable of inviting love inward and projecting it outward. These past few weeks, really since just before Christmas, I have felt dulled a bit in that sense, and have been merely putting one foot in front of the other to make it to the next day. Our illness and subsequent events really knocked us for a loop, and it seemed I was unable to get back on track, emotionally speaking.

We were invited to a small dinner party tonight (That phrase sounds pretentious to me, as I don't percieve us as "dinner party" people, but for lack of a better term...) and there were 10 of us in attendance, all of whom are members of our church, with Dominick and I being the youngest of the group, and the majority old enough to be our mothers and fathers. Let's just say that due to the age differences, an outsider might tend to think that was not an evening to be looking forward to if one was looking for a "sit down" with one's contemporaries.

Yet here, among so many whose life journeys have carried them far from any path I have walked, I felt so comfortable, so accepted, and loved. Now mind you, these are not necessarily our closest friends, you know...the ones with whom you share much in common and the ones to whom you pour out your greatest fears and hearts desires. It brings to mind the image of the rings of a tree sawn in two, that when examined can help you determine the age of that stately oak or knotty pine. The tight cluster of rings at the center represent those very dearest of friends who are closest to our hearts, and as your eye carries further towards the outside bark you find the acquaintances who are only "skin deep", not necessarily "heart deep". The friends we gathered with tonight were those that were just outside that closely tied core of rings, they are the ones that we see weekly at church and know bits and pieces of their personal lives and yet much of their history remains a mystery to us, and it is doled out in dribs and drabs through conversations held over coffee hour after church or via a casual mention during a Committee Meeting. These are the friends you wished you had the time to get to know better, the ones who intrigue you on some level and yet the lack of shared opportunity because of different life stages halts further exploration of the friendship.

The conversation flowed easily, the laughter was shared throughout the evening, and as I looked around the table at this wonderful eclectic group we were a part of I quite literally felt the somber part of me begin to gently thaw, and by the end of the evening as we walked to our car I discovered that spring just may have returned to my soul. I hope so, I have missed it.

Within this tiny circle this evening, I felt appreciated and respected for who I am, regardless of my lack of education amongst a very bright, very well educated group. I was offered compliments and encouragement about my writing, and was given the warmest of hugs from everyone as we left early to collect the boys. I left with a feeling of belonging, and isn't that one of the best feelings of all? Sitting at the table looking into the faces of each of these extraordinary people, I saw friendships that are growing closer, and a wealth of intellectual capital locked in the minds of each individual present. I have never been one to limit my friendships only to those who are within a certain age group, or are in the same life stage as I am. Thankfully, that has opened doors to some of the most fulfilling relationships I could ever ask for, be it with a young friend in their early teens, or a "seasoned" citizen in their 70's. They are all my peers, and they all have something to offer, something to learn from. This evening was one of the best examples of that, and that love can often come from unexpected places as well.

I hope that tomorrow brings as much sunshine as today did, that spring has come to stay in my heart.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Misplaced Guilt and Arriving at the Beautiful

I am sitting here in bed, upright with my laptop cradled here in the warmth of my blankets, and I am realizing I am going through a very challenging and odd time of my life, emotionally speaking. Much is up in the air for our family, struggles abound and yet I am more at peace with it all than I ever would have been a few years ago. I am still able to see the sunshine through the clouds, the hope in the face of what at the moment feels very futile. Little long distance "hugs" provide me with a sense of well being, and a conversation I had today with an adopting mother who is struggling with her own sense of guilt at turning down a referral for reasons I will not share here have reminded me of how lonely this all can be at moments. As I explained on the phone today, only those who have walked this path can truly understand what it feels like...the misplaced guilt when a child will not be coming home with you, the sense of urgency at moments, the desperate futility of someone in our current situation. It reminded me again not to place unfair expectations on my closer friends, as it is simply an impossible task to put themselves in our shoes. I doubt if I were in their place I would be able to really understand how deep the emotions run at times like this.

It's not that people don't care, because they do. It is that they can not imagine what it feels like, this ability we all have to care so much about the future of a child who is not biologically connected to us and not even in our arms yet. I am finding that this last adoption trip to Kyrgyzstan has only dug a deeper well of compassion and concern in my heart, one that now feels almost bottomless and unable to ever be filled. It is holding that many more children who might not ever have a family to love them, it is seeing that many more children who are underfed, undereducated, underloved.

It is hearing Kenny softly tell me the other night after our family said our bedtime prayers "I prayed all the time in Kyrgyzstan, I pray for family to love me, I get in trouble for talking in bed but I still pray like the American ladies showed.". And it is knowing there might be others out there praying that same prayer this very night, wondering if it will ever be answered.

It is emotions like these that can not be escaped, they haunt you. In sharp contrast, there is Matthew who came home at 11 months old asking me this week "Mom, was I the cutest baby you had ever seen?" with a wide grin on his face, and of course I replied that a cuter little guy had never lived before he came along. And I realized that was a question Kenny and so many other can never ask, they can't ask if their forever mommies thought they were the cutest baby they had ever seen because their forever mommies never had the chance to see them as babies, to cuddle them and coo with them. At least for some of them their story ultimately has a happy ending.

During my conversation today I reminded my new adoptive mommy friend that every child over there deserves a mom and dad, there are none more deserving or less deserving. Declining one child in favor of another equally deserving child doesn't make you a cold and calculating person, and yet that is exactly how it hits some of us. We lose sight of the fact that we didn't create their circumstances in the first place and then we feel misplaced guilt at our inability to accept a particular child based on so many variables. We feel we would have no choice if we gave birth so perhaps we should have no choice if we adopt. We try to equate child birth and adoption, which is ridiculous regardless of the political correctness of that folly. The two are not at all the same sxperience, and what would happen when giving birth should have no bearing at all on how you approach decision making with adoption. And yet there are still the faces in the photographs quickly emailed, the videos taken by others, the face to face encounters that leave you wondering how in the world anyone walks away from this process unchanged and emotionally intact. I can still recall quite clearly the face of every single child we have considered adopting, at least 12 of them remain in the recesses of my mind, brought to the forefront once in awhile when I wonder what may have happened to them.

We do what we can, we build our families, we nurture our children and raise them. We try not to revisit in our minds they hardest moments of it all, and then our children grow to the ages our sons now are and the questions arise, and we answer them to the best of our ability knowing full well it will never really be enough.

Our friends will weakly try to comfort us, not really knowing what to say about all of this happening that is invisible to the naked eye and yet hurts as deeply as any obvious injury. We often don't have the words ourselves to narrow down the exact cause of our distress, we just know that it feels awful.

Sometimes you have to move past the awful to arrive at the beautiful. I am praying daily that we arrive at the beautiful ourselves one day soon.

Monday, February 04, 2008

They Call it Yellow Dellow

The infrequency of my blogging has been affected lately by my lack of a laptop. Ours (ok...I'll admit it...MINE!!! Greedy, aren't I?) finally bit the dust when the screen went out in December and it cost more to repair than to replace it, so we decided to break down and get a new one. We went to Office Depot and bought a really cool Gateway, and immediately had problems with the wireless features. After hours of frustrating conversations with techs, we exchanged it for another...only to find that the touch pad was malfunctioning. Needless to say, we returned that one and ultimately did what we should have done initially, and that was buy another Dell.

As we were looking at them online and trying to configure the perfect cheapest laptop that allowed us to take advantage of the online coupons, Dominick jokingly asked me if I wanted a yellow laptop. Yellow and orange are my favorite colors (luckily for him Dell doesn't offer it in orange!!) and so I jumped at the chance to have a yellow one. Seeing the look on his face, I realized he had not been serious and he suggested blue. I agreed to the blue one, but kept thinking about how neat it would be to have a yellow one, and before he hit the "send" key to make the final purchase I ended up with my sunshine yellow laptop! He admitted that at least if someone walked off with it we could easily identify it. I know it is a little thing, but it really made me happy and now that I am sitting down at it actually typing, I love it even more.

We have had snow here...more snow than you can imagine. My drive back and forth to work has taken me 2-3 hours the past couple of work days, but it is truly so beautiful that even with the stress of driving on snow packed roads I can hardly complain. We've been pretty busy with flight delays and cancellations, and I have been really blessed this year with some outstanding people to work with. Here we are with this silly little job making sandwiches and pitching brownies, the pay is minimal for all of us, and yet we manage to have a blast. With Joshie and I being so ill the very first part of the season, if I hadn't been as fortunate to have such really great friends working there we would have been sunk and it could have been a nightmare. Instead, everyone pitched in and handled it for us, and I am very grateful. Having to drive such a distance each day and to do something that ultimately isn't really life altering or anything, it is so nice not to dread going to work but to look forward to a happy day spent laughing and working with folks you really genuinely like.

When I arrived home this afternoon, I not only had the surprise of the Yellow Dellow having arrived, but I had a small package from a friend which contained a book she thought I might enjoy. I am an avid reader, in large part to both of my parents, and spent my childhood immersed in everything from Popular Mechanics and Zane Grey novels of my Dad's to my Mom's Good Housekeeping and Harlequin romances, with a little Smithsonian and National Geographic thrown in for good measure. Dominick has often laughed at my literary selections after a trip to the library, which range so far afield from one another that if the FBI ever had to track my choices for a crime they would laugh their heads off trying to "profile" me based upon my reading material. So now I am looking forward to reading this new thoughtfully gifted book, meant to help lift my spirits a bit...and it served to remind me that some of my best friendships have come via the internet, a place where we can all be "real", let our hair down, and get to know one another without the pretences so common in face to face encounters.

As the winter sits heavy all around me, my thoughts are drifting lately to spring time and summer camping. I am hoping to do a lot more camping this year in our popup than we were able to do last year. Not sure where we will go, what we will explore, but we want to get away several times and I am beginning to research places online. Living in Colorado there are virtually hundreds of places even close by to go camping, places that others pay thousands of dollars to come visit and here we have it right in our backyard. I thought I would eventually tire of the beauty that surrounds us here, that the new would wear off and I would find myself missing Big City life, but here we are 10 years post-move and daily I am still so profoundly grateful that we got out of Southern California and moved here.

With the longer evenings comes more time to hang out together, and Kenny and Joshie are enjoying playing "school" with mommy. We have been reinforcing the alphabet and letter sounds with Kenny, working on sight words, and believe it or not, reading. Kenny's obvious enthusiasm for learning is spreading to Josh who has not always shown much interest in things scholarly. At the suggestion of an ESL teacher friend of ours, I got them each small wipe boards and a selection of markers for them to use, and they are having great fun writing letters and words. When I think how far Kenny has come in a mere 5 months of school, my jaw literally drops. The last couple of nights he has been really reading super basic books to us, sounding out at least a few words on each page with no help and spelling simple 3 and sometimes 4 letter words (and no, not THOSE 4 letter words!). Joshie actually spelled his first couple of words all by himself too this week, and his pride puffed his chest out at least a whole foot.

Matthew was awarded his "God and Me" medallion in church this Sunday for Scouts, and it was a proud moment for him. He has worked very hard at Scouts, and has talked since he was 4 about becoming an Eagle Scout someday. I have no doubts he will do it just as I have no doubt that even though he has only been in TaeKwonDo for only 1 session, he will stick with it to become a black belt as he has recently expressed a desire to do. I have a kid just like me when I was little, I remember my mom telling me not to worry about 20 years in the future, to enjoy the here and now, but like Matthew I was always looking ahead and it seems it is only now in my mid-life that I can take things one day at a time.

This weekend I had a special moment myself, receiving an email from a little girl who was adopted by another family along with her sister when we traveled to adopt Matthew. We all had such a good time on that trip getting to know one another, and have stayed in touch via email and ocassional photos. But this was the first time that I had heard directly from her, and it made me realize just how quickly they have all grown up, that it seems not all that long ago that we were walking into the Embasssy in Moscow with kids in tow, and now here they all are flourishing, reading, writing, growing into these amazing young people, each and every one of them.

And thus my week begins, a new Yellow Dellow, thoughtful friends, and moments of reflection. Pretty cool way to begin a week!

Friday, February 01, 2008

23,000...Who Would Have Ever Guessed It??

I have been unable to blog much lately as we had a laptop explosion. Well, not literally but our screen is shot on our laptop. We carefully shopped for a replacement we could afford, bought it and had to exchange it because the wireless card in it was not working, then the exchanged unit had a defective touch we gave up and did what we should have done in the first place, and ordered another Dell laptop. While we do have an ancient desktop (it must be 24 in dog years...I mean computer years), Dominick and Matthew have developed a keen interest in playing a game on the Lego web site, and I don't have the heart to kick them off just so I can blab to the world, thus my internet time has been severely limited.

And I guess honesty is called for here, and I am struggling to keep my spirits up a bit. The issues that have arisen with our possible adoption have got me in a bit of a funk which I am trying hard not to let affect me but that can sometimes be easier said than done. Don't get me wrong, I am not in a "Oh my goodness life is horrible" funk, but there are moments when I forget who is in control of all of this and I want to try and force it, knowing all the while that would be hopeless anyway.

We received word last week that one of the objects of our affection asked if they could speak to the judge and commented "...I just say I want only Cindy.". That made a deep impact on me, the trust implied there is enormous...and the connection felt was obviously mutual. It also saddened me, I feel very helpless at the moment and want only to hold a certain couple of someone's close to me, and know that might never happen.

But, on a much happier and surprising note, I happened to check my counter and lo and behold, found that we just surpassed 23,000 hits on the blog since the blog's inception in October 2006. Because of this blog I have reconnected with old adoption friends in Germany, have a regular reader in France who has emailed me privately and who I am enjoying getting to know, and I have hopefully been able to offer you a little insight into what life is like as an international adoptive family, a transracial adoptive family, a multi-cultural family. There are moments when I have seriously contemplated whether this blog was a good idea or not, or at least if publishing it openly was wise...and then I get an email from someone who has the courage to ask me a question they are afraid to ask anyone else, and I can ease their minds about an issue and I know it is worth it.

But the sheer numbers just floors me, as I can't for the life of me figure out what is so fascinating about us that would bring that many people to visit. I know a lot of it has been people searching for information on adopting from a Kyrgyzstan which is so new to international adoptions, but so many of you have lingered and returned over and over again as your comments and emails attest to. Whatever the reason, I hope you have found something here that you can take away with you, and I am grateful for your warm comments.

So hopefully I will be breaking in a new laptop by blogging next week. After all, gotta get that keyboard loosened up, right?