Hot button

As excited as I have been to share that we are in our adoption process, the number one question I can't stand hearing is, "Are you getting a baby . . . why aren't you getting a baby?"

I explain, the Philippine government is of the practice that it doesn't adopt out kids from the orphanages who are less than two years old. Moreover, A. & I are of the age bracket that the Philippine Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) will not approve giving us a child who is less than two years old. Truth is, we fall into the older end of the adoptive parents spectrum.

And then we are faced with the, "Oh . . . so sorry . . .[that you can't get a baby . . . or a child as young as possible 'cause that would be best . . . ]" look or tone in their voice.

And my hot button has been pushed. Doesn't every child, no matter how old s/he is, deserve a loving home with caring parents? All children need attentive and warm-hearted adults in their lives. That's when I have to remind myself that such comments are ignorant, sometimes of a more primitive generation or way of thinking, and the people, who seemingly lack sensitivity, don't really mean to be hurtful. It's not personal.

I take a deep breath and am reminded why A. deliberately doesn't share too much information. It's why he's probably more private than I am. Not that he's not just as excited, just more cautious about with whom he shares his enthusiasm and about being a father.

Regardless of any hot button pushing, I know that I really need not mind what others think or say about the fact that we are on our way to being an adoptive family . . . because I know what a wonderful gift s/he will be, and her/his presence in our lives will create a whole new set of (parenting) buttons to be pushed! I look forward to that.


Gratitude mantra

Golden Warmth

Thank You, Golden Warmth --
that we have access to Technology
which monitors our Health.

Thank you, Golden Warmth --
that Medicine Men and Women
are called to serve
& share their knowledge

Thank you, Golden Wamrth --
that Love and Compassion
continue to bless me.

Shanti, shanti, shanti.

It was a quite a week . . . what with A. pushing out multiple kidney stone fragments and his having to schedule a future lithotripsy blast. It will be his third. And me? I await the results of a core biopsy unexpectedly performed on my right breast. New lump. I was scheduled for a fine needle aspiration (FNA). I've had two other FNAs done for two other lumps in the past, both benign. Unfortunately, inconclusive results this time around. So it was immediately onto a core biopsy. Incision, gun contraption, and all. Been wearing a big boob bandaid for the past few days. Nurse says to keep it on until it falls off on its own -- the bandaid, that is. Still waiting.


Knee, heart, kidney . . . so it goes

Knee, heart, kidney . . . so it goes, so it goes . . . to the tune of 'head, shoulders, knees & toes, knees & toes . . .' A. was in labor for a total of two days, the worst pain Sunday into Monday, midnight until 6am, before he finally passed his 3.5mm kidney stone . . . fragment. A. kept apologizing for putting me through such hardship, though it's A. who's been through the health wringer. Knee surgery for a torn ACL (2004) . . . open heart quadruple bypass surgery (2006) . . . second lithotripsy to blast kidney stones (2010, his first 12 years ago) . . . my poor A. No need to apologize. I signed up for this when we married.

For better or worse.

And so this is my love for my husband. We've been through a handful of medical traumas, and yes I still love A. We're not living in extreme poverty in the midst of a natural disaster. We haven't lost all of our family members. We're not buried under tons of rubble, starving, unable to breathe. Perspective.

It certainly helps as I watched A. writhe in pain and pressure for six hours, unable to urinate productively or comfortably. Trying to decide if we should go to the emergency room or not . . . with no call from the urologist whom we paged some hours ago. A. & I have joked, but seriously . . . having gone through what we've been through together -- mainly his open heart surgery and Dad's cancer journey & death -- our abilities to cope with crises are excellent. Sure, we're prepared to be up all night with a sick child. We've been through some hardcore training.

Just as much marriage is for better or worse, so is the choice to parent a child. For better or worse.

[As for our adoption journey update, a little bump in the road. Gathering some extra paperwork we didn't expect to have to provide . . . for better or worse. Life unexpected . . . happens.]


On becoming an adoptive familiy

Because we are in the process of becoming an adoptive family, I find more and more that A. & I are super-conscious of our own journey to parenting. Each of us has always been observant of how our family and friends parent their children, and we've naturally grown in our ongoing discussions of how we'll handle particular situations as parents, what choices we would make, and how to deal with the range of challenges that will present themselves to us as parents. Some might even say, we're super-sensitive to how we'll parent because of our adoption process. No doubt part of our hyper-sensitivity is due to how old we were when we married and how old we'll be when we bring our child home. But I think most of it is due to the fact that we will be an adoptive family, and we're surrounded with so many different examples of parents. Definitely a variety.

They say nothing can prepare you to be a parent. I have to say, since we've been in the adoption process -- from researching various agencies for the past few years to finally choosing an agency to finally starting the process to now being in the process -- those who are looking at our family profile sure do a thorough job of at least giving the image that we are prepared to be parents. The agency has screened A. & me through various lenses -- our families, education, finances, personalities, psychological evaluations, childcare plans, how we answer personal questions, how we deal with crises, how we've overcome difficult situations . . . Making sure that we fully understand how much our lives will change once we add a child into the mix. All to say in more than one report, "I must say after reviewing [your home study] and reading about you and your husband that I feel you are an amazing couple. You both will be remarkable parents and the child who comes into your home will be blessed to have you for parents! (D.Borkowski, PSB - Interim Coordinator, Philippines Program)" After all that, Of course we'll be amazing parents. A.'s reaction, not mine.

And when our child is working through his/her tantrum for whatever reason, A. says, Remember, we chose this, we asked for this.

I think we've been ready.


Psychology today

Another milestone. Psychological evaluations. All-day event. Done. Report to be sent by 1.23 to PSB. Celebrated with dinner at La Fontana overlooking the Tappan Zee Bridge. A. & I have learned to appreciate the completion of each task which brings us closer to being in waiting mode to bring our child home.

Interesting how life comes full circle. Having met his parents once when he was three and then permanently when he was six years old, A. & his own adoptee experience into his biological family with a hint of intergenerational tensions . . . having overcome my own grief and anxiety around my parents' desperate & heart-wrenching decision to 'send away' my disabled brother and my growing up with his ghost presence (absence) . . . of course, these situations are much more laden with immigrant, cultural, parental, grand-parental, financial and very complicated struggles. Our parents cannot be faulted, and they cannot be judged. And here we are, parents-to-be . . . adopting our child from the Philippines, a location that is of such personal significance to A. & me.

Oh, the orbits we will go!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the tragedy that is in Haiti today. I pray for the Haitian people, the government and world aid. I know family friends, who visited Haiti in October 2009, to meet their son. His adoption is supposed to be completed this upcoming March 2010. N. is in Haiti, and I hope he makes it home soon to his family in Virginia.

My prayer for Haiti & all those connected to Haiti
Om mani padme hum. Come, Compassion. From the hells of desperation, may beauty and light emerge, so that the Haitian people experience quiet and loving presence. Om mani padme hum.


Orphan Dream (on the bus)

his face appears
and she is overcome
a quiet weep
a mama's longing for her child

his face appears
and her dad
comfortingly reassures her --
the journey's just beginning
a father's outpouring of love
to his daughter



"Ho, ho, ho . . . It's magic you know . . . Never believe, it's not so . . . It's magic, you know . . . Never believe, it's not so . . . " ~ Pilot

The magic of modern medicine? Maybe not so much magic, more of a science? Or not . . . A.'s been stoned once again. Second bout of kidney stones, second blast in 10 years. My CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) partner can't seem to catch a break . . . though stones are nothing compared to open heart surgery. We think our future child may be an angel. A.'s been asymptomatic. Never would've caught his stones were it not for the required numerous medical tests for our adoption process. This is yet again another blessing. Just like A.'s heart journey . . . we were able to take preventive measures all because we needed medical clearance to join the gym. Our angel's probably thinking, Better make sure Mama & Papa are healthy before I come home. Or, at least that's what Mama & Papa are saying.


Magic seems to be especially evident during the winter season. Some might say it's the holiday spirit, and others, the peace of the fallen snow. Maybe it's just the ordinary experience of something moving or the feeling of being moved. Like how A. made me a special dinner tonight because he said, I'd worked so hard to take care of him yesterday during his procedure.

A blast of magic happened upon me tonight. Gotta appreciate those bippity-boppity-boo moments.



Happy new year. From the big snow of December 2009 to Mom's 67th Jersey Boys celebration to our second home visit the day after New Year's. We just returned from our holiday in Kennesaw, GA last night and scheduled our visit with the social worker for this afternoon. Done. Still aiming to be in waiting mode by the end of this month.

Our time in Kennesaw with K. & T.'s family plus their kids, E. & M., turned out to be quite the trip. Auntie, Uncle & Mom drove down from CT to GA in one day . . . & we feasted! Our 2nd Annual Great American Smokeout -- smoked trout, smoked ribs, raspberry chicken & grilled steak (it's been a while since I've eaten that much meat!). . . & vegetables too, of course! Couldn't help but wonder, what is this going to be like when we throw an extra kid into the mix? And couldn't help think, another Christmas without Dad.

As my three-and-a-half year old niece and six-year-old nephew reminded me, it's all about being in the now. In her toddler-GA accent, E. constantly coaxed me, "Play with me, Auntie S. You be dah fairy godmoddahr."