So I've been livid the past few days as we recently received a notice from our adoption agency that ICAB is requesting an additional employer referral for me.  An existing gap between my two most recent positions, I have to request a referral from NYU since they knew me beyond the past five-years.  Needless to say, A. & I were frustrated with PSB as they'd approved our dossier end of February and sent it to ICAB then.  The required employer referral that must account for beyond five years was an oversight.  PSB's mistake.  And ICAB should have asked for the extra referral in March when they also asked for additional information regarding A.'s health.  When I spoke with PSB, I tried to contain my anger, my blood boiling.  I knew expressing my madness was not the lasting impression I wanted to leave as an adoptive parent.  I just gotta do what I gotta do . . . get another employer referral.  So I contacted my old NYU colleague/friend, LCS, who agreed to write the letter.  An adoptive mom herself of two lovely girls, she sadly said this happens all the time with agencies.

Snafu.  (God bless everyone.)  Chaotically muddled situation.  We have been patiently waiting for formal approval of our dossier as PSB's timelines have indicated that approval occurs sometime between 3-5 months once it has been sent to ICAB.  We'd been hoping for an update by the end of June and were disappointed when we hadn't heard anything.  PSB has informed us that ICAB has been extremely slow with dossier approvals (no explanation provided by ICAB), and we are not the only family overdue for dossier approval.  

And so we wait.  Sna-FU!   

Mothers' wisdom & support
Thank you to A., an adoptive mom too, who encouraged me by writing --  "This is one of your labor pains if someone ever says you didn't have to experience any pain getting your child. 

And to my cousin, K., who introduced me to St. Clotilde, the patron saint of adopted children and parenthood.  

Love to the nurturing & compassionate women in my life.


How to stay close & stay sane

Mother and daughter relationships can be fun and close as well as insane and exasperating depending on what stage in life Mom or daughter may be in.  Since Dad has passed, I find that I'm playing more of the parent role with Mom, and it can be exhausting.  A most challenging role, my soon-to-be 38-year-old-wisdom is no disciplinarian to my Mom's 67-year-old independent adulthood.  I'm uneasy if I don't speak with my Mom at least every other day, and as A. has pointed out, I badger her with questions about her health . . . Is she eating right?  Has she gone to the doctor for her gout flare up?  Is she cutting down on her salt and sugar intake? . . . instead of relaxing and appreciating my time with her. Concerns about my Mom are my constant worry.

It's rare that Mom I share memories of Dad.  Every once in a while, if the spirit moves us, we do.  But usually it's one-sided.  She'll mention how she & Dad had their early dates at Canton, Jersey City's then "it" Chinese restaurant lounge, sharing their Brandy Alexander cocktails as I dutifully listen, unable to return a share-a-memory moment because sometimes I just can't deal.  Then the following week at our usual Wednesday night dinners, I might mention how Dad loved to eat  snails from Kellog, our go-to Chinese restaurant on Route 440. Though come to think of it, my actually sharing memories of Dad with my Mom is pretty rare.

Almost two years since Dad's death, I grapple and wonder who my Mom is outside of being my Dad's wife and my mother or the nurse that she was for over 40 years.  After all, she is her own independent adult woman.  And she's perhaps had to struggle a bit to redefine herself in her new world.  From what I can see, Mom's journey to her Self has been an enigmatic one.  I know I can't possibly know everything as she experiences her own personal trials, some of which I just may not be privy to.  I am her daughter, and I worry.  

Help us, Great Spirit, to support my Mom and stay close to her.  Help us to stay sane in the process.  Give us the courage to be present to talk & listen. And thank you, Great Spirit, for Mom's generous love that teaches us to go on no matter what. 


Empty fishbowl

RIP "Shad" 10.19.10 - 07.12.10
Our very special feeder goldfish

Affectionately known as "Shad," I gifted him along with another feeder fish to A. for his 36th birthday at a valuable cost of 70 cents each, if that.  Within two weeks, Shad nipped at his buddy, who soon went to goldfish heaven.   Shad's desire to be the one and only fish to reign his humble bowl was fulfilled.  Despite the fact that most would agree fish are low maintenance pets and perhaps don't have much personality, Shad proved those folks wrong.  A very active fella, we would hear him swimming around, and he would once in a while make the tiniest of splashes during feeding time -- his orange-red spots indicative of his fish energy.  Always happy to be fed, Shad pleasantly stalked visitors as they passed by.  

Going out of town would sometimes present a predicament as we would worry about who would want to fish-sit for a spell, and having to transport Shad in his home to the generous fish-sitter could be cumbersome what with the saranwrap and rubberband needs without water sloshing around all over the inside of the car.

Absurdly I would wonder, Will Shad be okay? Of course he'll be okay . . . he's a darn feeder fish!

As soon as I'd notice that Shad didn't look too good (A. even tried antibiotic), I said to A., If you see Shad floating all lopsided, just let him go.  I don't want to be the one to find him belly up.  I'd spent most of the day at work researching sick fish and gas bubble disease on sites like Emergency Pet MD since it looked like Shad had developed a bad case of fish excema on the front of his face.  Sadly I came home from work, and the fishbowl was empty.  In a fleeting freakout, I screamed in my head, I can't even keep a fish alive, how am I going to keep a child alive?!  A. and B. both reassured me, Hopefully I wouldn't have to be responsible for maintaining the right oxygen levels or the amount of chemicals used to treat a child's water consumption.   

The past couple of days, I've been sneaking glances at our empty fishbowl still filled with water and thinking about how much a 70-cent feeder goldfish brought peace to our lives.  While any death -- pet or human -- is a natural part of the life cycle, a sweet sadness overcomes me knowing that what was familiar for so long and brought simple delight, is now gone. 

On the flip side, our charmed summer has been more than a fishbowl full of precious ordinary, yet extraordinary moments, especially our belated birthday treat dates with our nieces, A. & N, and nephew, M.  And during our outings, each of them survived . . . swimmingly! 


Bless and Release

caught up in Fretful's Fuss
and colorless rhythms
Bless --
may your heart flutter
upon the lilac blue wings of 
Summer's butterflies
and Release --
as i fill my mind
with the melodic operas of 
the Shore's oystercatchers


Simply happy

A couple of nights ago, I had a terrible nightmare -- my Dad was stuck in hell.  How could that be?  Especially since I've had so many delightful dreams of Dad dressed in white encouraging everyone to ride the rollercoaster or standing peacefully next to a unicorn.  It felt like a decade before I struggled to wake myself up at 3am and convince myself that Dad wasn't in hell. When I shared my scare with A., he said I must be stressed out about the adoption process and not having heard any recent updates about our ICAB approval.   Perhaps the image of Dad's misery in Hades was also just my recollection of that summer . . . before he died.   

Dad was so much a part of our family . . . we're in waiting to expand ours . . . sure, it can be stressful.  Sometimes I lose focus on the now, which certainly doesn't need to be maddening.  Now can be happy.

Running at the gym this morning, I watched an interview with Dr. Ian Smith, author of happy, who mentioned three important elements of being happy:
1.  Meaningfulness . . . Not a fan of materialism, I have a job which may not include the wealthiest of salaries, but I have played a role in bringing in $255K into a nonprofit that serves families and children in need.
2.  Pleasure . . . Simple pleasures like my homemade iced coffee with non-alcoholic Bailey's creamer (while working from home) . . . and as little negative energy as possible.
3.  Engagement . . . 100% presence is important whether it's my Wednesday dinners with my Mom, a meeting to set tasks for an upcoming RFP deadline or simply being with my Dad at the Keyport Pier.

Most folks spend an entire lifetime searching for happiness.  Hopefully they don't have to experience a traumatic situation like an illness/death, divorce or job loss to learn that happy is simply making the most out of life . . . right now.

Brought to you by the letter "W"
where’s hotter?
where we are?
where you are?
we wonder,
where’s your photograph?
you wander the grounds of your orphanage,
what do you wish?