Archive for December, 2008
Its nice to wake up on your birthday and feel like you are right where you belong. In a little cabin in the woods. Feeling your dog’s curled presence next to you. Knowing that your love is just over there-on the other side of the pups. And looking out the window to see a birthday gift like this from Mother Nature:
Its nice to have a porch like this to sit on:
And dogs like this to love on:
And a hubby like this to share it all with:
Yep. Thats all nice. Its enough to make one who is turning 35 feel like a kid:
And its nice to be able to say, “Hey, you know this kid?”:
“Well, guess what? She’s gonna be okay. She’s had one heck-of-a rough year, and has gained a few more wrinkles to prove it, but she’s learned a heck-of-a-lot along the way and she is doing alright.”
“Hey, look at her here, she looks like one content adult now doesn’t she?”:
Happy Birthday AmySue!
Dave and I are back from our stay in the woods. We had a delightful time. It was so nice to strip Christmas down to the basics, get away from the commercialism of the season for a few days, and just enjoy each other’s company and that of the dogs. Duncan and Tillman were in heaven playing in the yard and woods and they were so well behaved. Good boys.
I have some pictures to share but first, let me give this holiday season some context. The past couple of Christmas’s have been tough. In many ways, for me, Christmas is all about kids. About the hope and promise each child brings to the world. About creating a magical time for them. And so, as each holiday season has come and gone, it has served as a reminder that we are not where we want to be as a family. Christmas was becoming something to just get through.
Then, there was last Christmas. It was horrible. We did everything wrong. We spent very little meaningful time together in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I decorated the tree by myself in a hurry one night. We didn’t buy each other one gift, not one (and for the record, it was I who was Ebenezer Scrooge, not Dave). We had no special food in the house on Christmas day. Really, I do not know what we were thinking, except maybe we were just trying to ignore Christmas. But it didn’t work. We were miserable on Christmas day and we fought. Yuck.
The idea of losing Christmas was made more distressing by the fact that so many of my/our important life events (being born, realizing that I had fallen in love with Dave and he with me, our wedding…) are connected with the season. We realized last year that to ignore Christmas is to ignore us, to forget to celebrate us. And that won’t do. And we realized that when we do have a child in the home, we wouldn’t have much of anything in terms of tradition to offer him if we let this slide continue. And that won’t do either. So, this year, we knew we needed to do things differently.
And we did.
And it was marvelous.
And here are some pictures.
The cabin as you approach it from the trail:
The living room:
We arrived early afternoon Christmas eve, earlier than we had expected. This gave us time to settle in and start warming up the cabin. Dave set to building a fire and learning the mechanics of the cook stove and I lit candles (I loved that Saint Judas Thaddeus, patron saint of Difficult Cases was there with us)
and gathered wood and water from the spring with the dogs. We had a nice dinner, sipped a wee bit of scotch, talked, and went to bed early. The wind was howling that night and Tillman surprised us by sleeping between us all night. Tillman is not one to stay still for very long so it was a real gift to be able to snuggle with him all night (even though I know it was because the poor guy was scared by the wind).
And this is what I saw when I opened my eyes on Christmas day:
A little later on:
Taking it all in:
I believe that Santa knew Tillman was coming, because he left a football for him to play with:
Christmas day was sunny and clear. We pretty much just hung out on the southeast facing porch and relaxed, except for when we had chores to do. We played ball with the dogs and they just had a blast running around. They loved thumping around on the wraparound porch and launching themselves on and off it. And Duncan had fun messing with his mommy when she tried to gather wood (he is such a rascal!). Here he is exploring:
Cooking Christmas dinner on the wood cook stove went well. We made the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Everything was yummy:
The boys thought so too:
The stars on Christmas night were AMAZING and we went to sleep relaxed and content. It was a great Christmas. And one to remember (for all the right reasons).
Well, we did not finish our application this week as I had originally hoped. The hold up is the medical documentation. We are waiting on some results from tests that both Dave and I needed to have for the certification. They did not come in by Friday and our doctor is taking off next week for the holiday. So, hopefully the last week of December we will get what we need and be able to send in our updated application materials. It would have been nice to have this out of the way before Christmas but it really doesn’t create any real delay since our home study visit isn’t until January 9 anyway.
In the meantime, we’ve been given the instructions for the dossier so are working on pulling that together.
Yesterday, I spent some time learning a bit about traditional Nepali music. (Mind you, I am no student of music and I believe myself to be completely devoid of musical talent so the information I share is quite rudimentary at best. ) From what I gather, there are three main instruments used in traditional Nepali music: the bansuri, the sarangi, and the madal. The bansuri is a wind instrument much like a wooden flute. It has such a beautiful sound. Flutes have always had the power to transport me.
The sarangi is a string instrument. It is about the same size as a fiddle but it is played upright. There is a certain complexity to its sound and interestingly, there are times when it sounds like bagpipes.
And the madal is a drum. It is slightly tapered so one end produces low tones and the other higher tones. The strings running the length of the drum are used to tune it and also can be used to create raspy sounds.
Here are a couple of links to pieces of music on YouTube. The first piece is so beautiful. It features the bansuri and the madal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KICCVBET6js). The second shorter piece features the sarangi and the madal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEswFTlL77k). We like this music a lot and are excited to explore it more.
So, the application arrived on Monday. I spent a couple hours that evening sorting through everything. For our agency application we have to submit new:
Home Study Questionaires
Several agreements/statements that we need to sign off on
a new Financial Statement, copy of latest 1040, and Child Conditions Page
And we have to update our autobiographies a bit.
We do not have to complete a new fingerprint check or CPS check at this point. This is good as this was one of the pieces that was very time consuming for us given the quality of our prints (my lines are so fine and Dave’s RA and ecxema causes problems.)(We will need to redo our state clearances in fall of ’09 and our immigration fingerprints will need to be redone in May ’09).
Its very doable. Dave’s doctor’s appointment is on Monday so we should be able to send in our complete application next week. When this is in and reviewed and we have our home study visit, the agency will be able to update our home study. We have our home study visit scheduled for January 9.
We learned today that Nepal will allow us to submit the immigration approval we have even though it is for another country. This means we will not have to wait for immigration to process our change request before submitting our dossier. And that means we should be able to submit our dossier shortly after we have an updated homestudy. Instructions on the dossier should be coming this week and I’ll have a better idea of what that process will look like then. I already know there are several documents that were not required for Vietnam but I believe that there are not as many layers of certifications and authentications required.
So right now I am thinking we may be able to have our dossier ready to by late January, which is the same time period the government of Nepal has stated they expect to be ready to accept dossiers and begin making referrals.
Mind you, there are many families working with other agencies who are further along in the process or already have dossiers in country and there is still much to be worked out in terms of process in Nepal. I do not have, nor do I wish to create, any expectations on how long this may take.
I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our wonderful friends who were more than willing to redo our references. Your support means so much. Amy, for motivating the troops to get me a contact at the MD Dept of Vital Records to find our missing certifications, bless you. I was picturing this huge maze of phone calls I was going to have to navigate through and you and your friend David made dealing with this issue so much easier. Jen, for completing the reference in record time and mailing it off just hours after you received it, thank you. Your enthusiasm and faith that this WILL happen for us filled my sails today.
The application materials did not arrive. Blast!
Well, at least the pups got to have their barking fun for the morning.
So, we’ve made the decision to pursue an adoption from Nepal. And I’ve made the decision to start a blog to have a record of the journey.
Having been down this road with Vietnam (with disappointing results), we are cautious at this juncture. We know that this will not be easy. But we are also filled with fresh hope and glad to be making forward progress, once again.
I am hoping that our application materials will arrive in the mail today and I keep looking out the window to see if the mail truck is coming through. And oh, look…there is the truck as I type. Well, must be off to see if the paperwork has arrived…