Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The eve before New Years

The time is flying by faster as our 'to do' list gets longer.  Today we picked out paint for one of the girl's rooms and a laundry hamper on special.  We've collected a lot of clothes given to us by families whose children have out grown them.  We are so grateful to them, it has really helped budget wise.

I sent a package over to one of the girls with parents who were going to the same orphanage to adopt.  I asked her best friend who is here now, what would she like?  With no hesitation she said "Lotion".  Apparently it is very dry at this time of year.  So I sent  a bottle of extra rich Vaseline Intensive Care and a Burt Bees.  Also I included a Burt Bees lip balm, because in this weather my lips are so dry.  I also sent a pound of Lindt truffles, different flavors.  They were having a huge special just before Christmas and I wanted her to be able to share with the other kids.

I asked my daughter what could I bring as gifts to the kids in the two orphanages.  I asked "Pens?"  She said no, that pencils are more expensive there and they often don't have pencil sharpeners, they have to use a knife to sharpen the pencils.  And we take so much for granted...

Many old friends have come forward and donated, and even more wondrous is people I don't even know have given from their hearts whatever they could.  Fundraising can be a very lonely  place.  So please know all of you who have given to the fund, you have shed a lot of light on that lonely dark place I have been living in since I started this quest.  Thank you.

Well I must get to bed, not because I am partying tomorrow, but I will be going on ambulance duty from 3 p.m. - 11 p.m.  at a hospital, yes as a volunteer.  Last time I took this shift, at ten minutes before 11:00 a call  came in...we didn't get back to the hospital till 1:00am.  I'm kinda hoping that won't happen tomorrow.  I'll let you know on Friday.  Oh and did I mention, it's supposed to rain AND snow tomorrow? So picture us at a car accident helping patients while getting soaked.  I better bring some dry clothes with me, just in case...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Almost the New Year and the craziness of Christmas is over until next year.  It was little but it was a wonderful Christmas.  My older daughter experienced Christmas for the first time even though she has been here 3 years, she is 15.  There was a joy on her face that I have never seen before, and even her voice was a little different.  That was my best Christmas gift.

The twins were their usual crazy selves and had a wonderful time. Me - I was tired but happy.  Now I can focus on getting the rooms ready for the girls, buy a few pieces of clothing, as they come with nothing, not even a toothbrush or p.j.s.  I have to put my mind on as if I'm going camping, what do I need to bring?  That is how I will pack for the two new daughters.  Hair brush, shampoo, soap, teenage face wash lotion, paper, pens, toothpaste, body lotion, (it's very dry there), underwear, winter coat, pants, sweaters turtlenecks, etc.  And the funny thing is I don't know  their sizes, I'm doing a guesstimate from what is listed in their paperwork which was done who knows when.  Really, one is supposedly four and a half feet and 67 pounds, and the other one is five feet one inch and 115 pounds.  I won't know until I meet them for the first time.  I won't even think of dealing with shoes or boots until China.

Then the girls will need 'things', they come with no possessions.  SO we'll shop for c.d.s, hair things, books, whatever I can think of.   I will end up having many 'To do" lists before this week is through.  So I better get started.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas one & all...

The clock is ticking and funding is at a crisis point.  If anyone is able to reach out to others and have them donate, we would greatly appreciate it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Her future, if we weren't adopting her...

Just as a wake up call to others who are unaware.  This is a statement from UNICEF regarding the deaf in China which has the highest deaf population in the world.

"Because China’s social security system is inadequate, the deaf have not received the care or attention that they need, their sense of self worth is much lower than in the west. Many are out of work and instead turn to crime or other anti-social behaviours to make ends meet.

The media always reports these social problems, but they never look deeper at the root cause, or call attention to the poor living conditions of the Deaf. Consequently it has created discrimination and prejudice against the Deaf. Unless this prejudice is removed, the slogan: “the Deaf can do everything but hear” will remain simply empty words carried by the wind."

Yikes - A week gone by without an update...

I am sorry for not staying in touch.  Even now it is midnight Sunday and I am just trying to go to bed.  This week has been a mixture of trying to get Christmas ready, rehearsals for the concerts, moving furniture from the husband's office to make a bedroom for a new daughter.  And if you know anything about men and their computers and 'toys' and general mess, (sorry to generalize) but it has been like going through a rats nest!

 I'll just describe one day of last week.  Get up at 6:00 am get the girls ready for school, leave at 8:45 to substitute teach in the next town as a para for an autistic child, race out of there at 2:00 to my daughter's school to decorate her room for the holidays, race home, make dinner, throw my concert clothes on, slap on some make up and out the door, to the next town to perform in the concert.  Most days ran somewhat like this.

I sang in a concert Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and now I am finished for the season.  Tomorrow I need to drive 45 minutes to help move furniture for my sister than come back here, pick up the older daughter at school and take her to a doctor's appointment 45 minutes away.  Get home about 5:45, make dinner, kids finish homework, they get ready for bed and I'm out the door by 6:50 for training at the firehouse.  Come home after 9:00 and probably stay up til 1:00 am wrapping presents.  Ho Ho tis the season.

Got great news from my agency, we've been logged in at CCAA and are being translated.  Next I think it's a letter of Confirmation they send, I-800 gets sent, Visa Dept. does something, then the Consulate issues an article 5 or 15, whatever, then maybe a TA?  I get confused at this point.  Now I have to think about packing.

Oh that's another thing I was struggling with last week, trying to buy a few clothes for the girls when I have to guesstimate their sizes.  Oh and my teenager is deciding to have attitude issues with everything.
And, I forgot this, when the winter storm was due to come crashing in on us, I had to go and have my snow tires put on.  Not a big deal you say?  Well I had to get up at 7:30 am on Sat. to rush down to the place when I knew that everyone else in town had the same idea.  I had to wait an hour and a half.  Then I had to find someone to plow our driveway since we didn't have anyone booked.  Finished that, girls to Girls Scouts, older daughter to sewing, make lunch for everyone, they all come home at 12:45 and I'm out the door for my concert at 2:00.

Well you get the picture.  I need to go to bed now as tomorrow is another one of those days and it's now 12:30 am.  I need my beauty sleep..I wonder where that expression came from?  No matter how much I sleep, it never seems to make a difference.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

When ice isn't so pretty to look at.

Out of nowhere, a slight rain turned everything onto a sheet of ice.  I was called out as an EMT (and I hadn't had my coffee yet) and as I left my driveway I realized how serious it was.  In first gear, I couldn't go faster than 5 mph, down a curvy windy hill to the firehouse.  Going to the scene of a traffic accident, the ambulance also used 1st gear and didn't go over 10 mph the whole way.  It was a very serious accident.  We  had to squeeze 3 people into the ambulance.  But  before we got them there, we had to take the driver carefully out on a back board, the passenger had to be cut out of the car and taken out via the back seat on a back board and the 3rd patient was taken out in her car seat.  As we slowly drove to the hospital the Paramedic and I were doing multiple tasks, splinting, IVs, BP, pulses, cutting off clothes, doing exams, etc.  At one point we had 3-4 IV's going, hook ups to a monitor, as well as other things all over the floor.

We got to the hospital at the tip of the iceberg.  After our patients were taken over by hospital staff, everything broke loose.  The ice had caught everyone off guard.  Over 14 ambulances, at one time were outside the emergency room unloading, with more coming in.  I hear there was a 11 car accident on a bridge, another road had a 50 cars pile up, I even saw a policeman in a wheelchair that had been attending an accident and his leg was bumped into by a car.  The hospital took a sitting room and turned it into an X-ray room, non-trauma patients were stuck in hallways or where ever there was a space.  All hospital & Emergency personal were called in.  The hospital declared a "Disaster" and went into crisis mode.  This hasn't happened to them in years.  There were so many different towns represented in ambulances there, it was amazing.  Even an out of state one had to come in.  And they said on their way in they stopped at 3 other accidents.  It was an interesting experience to be a part of...  I left for the call at 12:00, and got home at 5:30, so that in itself explains the day..  All without my morning coffee, ugh!

Then I came home to the children who chose to 'forget' to do chores, feed the animals, make beds, etc.  Well, by golly, I was in no mood to pull punches on this one.  (Of course their Father was home, but he tends not to notice things.)  I came down pretty hard, and said how disappointed I was, etc.  They did get upset, but said that they understood.

I'm off to bed now...  It's been a long day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yah, it's Friday!

Besides going out on another serious EMT call, the week was fairly angst free.  Although we are becoming stressed and  very concerned about the money situation.  We do hope more will be coming our way soon.

So, I am Christmas caroled up to my ears, but I love it!  Several concerts, rehearsals and a sing along with barn animals at one of the girl's concerts.  All that is left is 7 more rehearsals and two concerts to perform the first half of Handel's Messiah with a full Baroque orchestra and traditional carols with orchestra and a bell choir.  The last concert I did last weekend, we sang 26 carols.  I was hoarse when we finished.

Well the China agency has started to see if my daughter's parents can be found.  I hope for her sake that some information will come up.  I requested from my agency to get more information about the girls schooling.  I have started the process to build a file so I can fight for my daughter's rights for a good education.  The school system will not want to pay the money to bus or the tuition for the deaf school.  There will be so much to counter as they bring up every excuse they can find.  And for the other daughter, I will be asking for an interpreter in the classroom for at least 4 months.  I get so outraged at their stupidity and putting budget before a child's welfare.  This fight is not going to be pretty.

Did I mention that the twins enjoy acting?  Here's a pix of them at 4 years old at the opening of a feature film that they did. Notice the paparazzi loving them, there were about 25 of them trying to call out to them and get their picture.  They were so cute.

Well, time to make dinner...Hollywood will just have to wait.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snowed In

What was supposed to have been a quarter inch of snow, then rain, turned into 5 inches of snow, ice and cancelled school.  So I am trying to accomplish things around all the girls  and all the Look at this, Can I do that, When are we...

Great news.  Remember I told you that I made a contact at Baby Come Home, a woman said that she could help?  And the Mom who found her son's parent's after 10 years, gave me the lawyer's email who volunteers for the organization?  Well I wrote him as well, and he wrote back, and guess what?  The woman is his wife!  Out of all China and the volunteers I made contact with the two top people that speak English and very much want to help.

I have sent them all the information and picture, and told them that I would be over in Jan/Feb.  Now we just wait and hope a lead turns up...  I am SO excited!

Just had to share that, now I'm at least two weeks behind in my decorating, so off I go.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Show & Tell

I realized word after word can be boring, so I thought that I would add a picture or two...  And if you count all the pictures up, you will be seeing all my 5 girls, and they all have dimples.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Round - up

Today, Monday, my agency received everything from everywhere.  Finally.  Now we start the real hurry up process from one place to another.  There are so many steps to the final TA that I'm holding my breath hoping we get there in time.

Yesterday,the sweetest thing happened.  One of my twins was standing near me and said "You look so young, younger than other Moms."  That surprised me so much.  I said "Really?  How old do you think I look?"  She said, "In your 20's."  I said "What made you think about that?"  She said,"I don't know."
Since I'm 57, I was deeply touched and appreciative, and I thought how neat it was that my little girl (9) thought of me like that.  I guess I'm doing something right...

Now I can focus on being creative for Christmas since there is very little money to spare.  My husband & I agreed no presents for us, we'll just focus on the girls.  But that will be minimal also. I have to race & start decorating because I'm so far behind because of the adoption paperwork and sheer exhaustion.  Tomorrow, I'll hit the ground running!  Or at least that's my plan.  Tune in tomorrow to see how far I was able to go.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I won't bore you with the details of how it got resolved, suffice it to say that I found a phone number to the Consulate that someone actually answered and was very helpful.  Today it will be sent out in overnight mail. By then my head was splitting with a tension headache.

Perspective: Sometimes one needs a bit of it.  These last two days that I have gotten so worked up about were clearly put into perspective last night.  I went out on an EMT call for a forty something woman heart attack. No prior illnesses, good physical shape, no medical histories.  CPR had been started immediately, a Paramedic was attending her, everything possible was done expertly.  CPR continued all the way to the hospital and the hospital staff were really dedicated.  But for some reason she had a heart attack in her sleep leaving behind children and a very devastated husband.  You really DO have to appreciate and acknowledge what you do have on a daily basis, because you never know if you blink if it will still be there.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Just when I didn't think my frustration could get any worse!  My agency just told me that they're waiting for my Homestudy to come back from  the Chinese Consulate.  I said, "WHY is it at the Chinese Consulate?"  She said, "To be authenticated."  "WHAT??!"  "How many times have I told you that I have easy access to go there and that you know that I personally went there to get my other documents authenticated?  Why didn't you have ME do it?"  "I don't know."  "Oh great.  When did you send it?"  "Wed. last week."
"Don't you realize it takes 4 to 5 days for your mail to reach here, so that it probably arrived Mon or Tues., and if it's regular service since you didn't express expedited, that's 4 days, then another 4-5 days back to have just added almost 3 weeks of delaying sending my dossier to China!  What were you thinking?  I want you to call the Consulate NOW expedite the authentication and overnight it TODAY."
I am so angry I could spit.  But since I don't like cleaning up unnecessarily, I will refrain.

That's it for now, I'll let you know what happens.

A day NOT to remember

I had it all planned, very organized. Yesterday I drove to the State capital, got their seal.  Today I took the 8:00 am train in, with the twins, because I didn't know if I would be home to get them off the bus, to the Chinese Consulate, (an hour and a half each way).  We got up early enough, breakfast, dressed, plenty of time, then...a very important email came in that I HAD to answer before catching the train.  I have been trying every which way to get registered with Baby Come Home.  It is a Chinese organization that tries to locate kidnapped & lost children.  Thousands are being kidnapped on a regular basis.  I kept trying to register my older daughter because her finding information was slightly pointing to being lost in a very busy shopping center but the site wouldn't accept my information, there was a technical glitch somewhere.  I googled and found a TV story about an adoptive Mom who adopted a 7 year old boy and 10 years later, through Baby Came Home, not only found the parents, but found out they've been looking for him for 10 YEARS!  He got separated from them and was assumed abandoned and sent to the orphanage.  Well they showed the Chinese family reunion, I went through a box of kleenex.  So I emailed the Mother hoping to find a way to register like she did, but I haven't received an answer yet.

On Baby Come Home site I learned some important information.  Children that are stolen are often used by 'beggars' on the street to look sympathetic to get more money.  Often the child, as young as 1 or 2, doesn't get enough to eat or isn't properly clothed.  So I clicked on their email and wrote in English that I was going to Beijing would they like me to try land take pictures of any of the children begging so they can put it on their web site for possible identification by a parent.  Frankly I didn't expect to get an answer, because it was in English, the address could be old, just a number of things.  One day, three days, 5 days went by.  Then this morning I get an email saying:
"I’m one volunteer of “baobeihuijia”, my name is Sara.
My colleague send me your email. I read the letter.
Yes, you can email your children ‘s  information  to us ,we will publish them on our website."

WAHOOO!  Yes!  I now have a connection with them.  So I wrote back asking specifics of what to look for with the street children.  Then I explained that I was trying to register my daughter, the reason why and a cut & paste from the Police report and sent it all.  

So all that took up time and I drove like a mad woman to the station catching the train by 30 seconds to spare.  The best laid plans...  Went to the Consulate, as my daughters waited in the line of 35 people or so I went to their copy machine, and there was a little old lady slooowly copying each page in her passport, and my girls were getting closer and closer to the front of the line.  Two people were ahead of me and they were getting upset.  I decided to reason with her to let me just pop in quickly and said in broken Chinese, " two copy, twins there, two copy."  She shook her head no. Then the two in front of me started yelling at her in Chinese, and she totally ignored them, still my girls moved forward on the line.  OK, now I'm getting anxious, she turns around and asks for a quarter because she only had dimes & nickels, all of us shook our heads, she walked away.  The two people jumped in did one copy, I did my two just as the girls reached the front of the line.  Angst.  Then we go to visit my husband who got a job for 3 weeks.   Then we left walked to the bus stop, couldn't find the bus passes, walked all the way back to the office, then back again to the bus stop.  Got to the Consulate,  closed.  They had said come back after 2:00, I tried to be close to two but the bus pass thing delayed me. Apparently  they close every day at 2:30 until the next day.  I was livid, infuriated, helpless, annihilated, I thought my head would explode.  I had everything ready, I filled out the Fed Ex form, got the envelope and paid huge fees for same day service.  Now my dossier will be delayed - again.  It won't go out now until Monday, possibly Friday.  If I was in a print cartoon you would have seen a black cloud over my head.

I silently walk back to the bus stop with the girls trailing behind knowing not to say a word to me.  We get on the bus, and there isn't enough money on the pass..  (Can you guess how that just ratcheted up my mood?) I said, "Well what am I supposed to do?"  (Because I didn't think they took cash), he said, "Just give me a buck seventy-five."  Fine, I take out a dollar bill and 75 cents.  "I can't take paper money."  "FINE, but if I don't have enough what are you going to DO?"  (I was a real scary person at that point.)
I start counting it out, I won't have enough, I am starting to boil at this point, a man walks up to me and holds out his hand and says "This is all the change I have, will it help?"  I said thank and took 50 cents and asked the bus driver again, how much?  He said "Just a buck fifty will be fine."  I thanked the man again, sat down and seethed about the whole situation.  Then my daughter said, "Don't worry Mommy, things happen in threes,  we forgot the bus pass, the Consulate was closed and you didn't have enough money for the bus.  So that's three, nothing else will happen now."  Out of the mouth of babes.

Still it was a "day".  OK now it's 12:25 am, and I am so tired that I fell asleep on the train coming home, woke up as the train stopped and realized it was our stop and I barely got me and the girls and their stuff off before the train took left.  I am emotionally pooped, and tomorrow night I have a 2 hour rehearsal for the Messiah, Friday I go caroling with the group as part of the towns weekend we are being paid, and one of the twins is playing in a band for Christmas carols at a large event. Shoot, I just realized, how am I going carol and be with my daughter performing?  AHHHHHHHHH.  Now what?  Forget it, I'm going bed and I'll figure it out tomorrow.
Good night.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monday, already?

Well, not really.  It's getting to be just past midnight.

The weekend was uneventful as it was a blur, so there is nothing to report.  But FINALLY today, I received my I-797 Notice of Action, which was to arrive on Friday!  So now I am behind.  Also got a revised birth certificate for my husband, so he's no longer a 'female' .

So dash out tomorrow get the I-797 notarized, drive 1.5 hours to the capital to get their seal, drive back, run to the P.O. to over night his birth certificate to his state for their seal, and then drop the older daughter to piano at 4:30, do a quick shop (we're out of kleenex & t.p., which is not a good thing to be out of) pick up the twins at 5:30 from a school project, race home throw (or place) dinner on the table, run out and drive 18 minutes to one Christmas concert rehearsal that merges into a second one that goes till 10:00 p.m..

Wednesday I will be hopping on a train for an hour and a half train ride to the Chinese Consulate before 12:00 to get their authentication, & if I'm really lucky they can expedite it to pick up that afternoon.  When I get it, I fly to Fed Ex and overnight it to my agency, which in turn will overnight the Dossier to China.  Whew!

And that's only the beginning, we have so much backing & forthing with paperwork to get down in a month,
which is not very likely due to the holidays coming up.  We are already falling behind! Especially in the fundraising area...

Did I mention that I'm on night duty tonight?  It's 12:15 am, think I'll try and get to sleep before either the pager wakes me up to go out on a call or my alarm clock at 6:00.

And lastly, we received several donations today that I am VERY grateful for.  The kindness that always goes along with whatever the amount is always so inspiring.

Friday, November 27, 2009

As I was saying..

Well Sunday night, I did get called out and never got to bed until 3:00 am.  Got up at 6:00 to get the girls off to school and then continued my day.  I went and substitute taught for half a day and came home to no electricity. The whole area was out for no particular reason.  Even though it was in the afternoon it was getting dark because rain clouds were moving in. So I got the one of the girls off the bus and  started doing homework, and the lights came on. I left to pick up the other twin from orchestra practice and the older one from school to a doctor's appointment 40 minutes away.  Finally got home at 6:00 and made dinner then ran out the door at 6:50 p.m. for an EMT/Fire drill.  So for the next two and a half hours I spent outside in the cold mist taking care of 'downed' firefighters.  It was a great learning experience, but by then I was dragging.  I come home at 9:30 and discovered a rabbit had escaped, leaving his mark, oh, just about everywhere.  Just what I wanted to do, clean up bunny poop & piddle.  Then set all my gear out, because I was again on night duty....

Tuesday, I was out to 10:20 p.m. for a Christmas concert.  Ok this gets boring after a while.

Let's talk adoption.  My approved I-800A was sent out Tuesday.  Today is Friday and I hope to get it Saturday.  Monday I'll drive it up to get a state seal and IF there is enough turn around time, which I doubt, I'll go to the Chinese Consulate to get their seal and then FedEx the whole thing to my agency to FINALLY get the dossier to China!  Oh, a leetle glitch popped up...  The agency pointed out that my husband's birth certificate had him marked as a 'female'.  Whoops.  They said it probably won't be noticed, yeah right.  I want to be in China and have them 'not notice' it and try to get another one notarized, state seal and authenticated  all the way form China.  Naw, I think I'll get a new one!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yes, I know, it's the 22nd, not quite the very other day posting that I planned.  Tomorrow I will catch up...promise.  Right now I need to get to bed as I'm on night duty tonight and you never know if you'll get called out.  If you do, it's usually for about 2.5 hours.  So, good night...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Round-up of the past few days

Yes, I know, I missed more than a few days.  Part of it was because I was so busy, the other part was, I don't think anyone is following the blog, so I figured I wouldn't be missed.

Saturday was..a day. The twins went to sewing in the morning, and straight from there an hours drive away, they went to this wonderful function put on by Chinese students at this University for Chinese adoptees.  They had everything so well planned out.  Chinese games, art, food, crafts, song, and so much more.  And when they are there they are assigned a 'big brother' or a 'big sister' that stays with them the whole time.  The girls went last year and loved it.  They came home with all sorts of little goodies.

While they were there I took the older daughter to her sewing lesson and picked her up an hour and a half later. (Did I mention I was feeling a bit under the weather?)  Then at 4:30 I had to drive to the next town for the concert I was singing in that night.  It was called "Invasion of the British".  We sang a lot of the songs from the 60's that were by English groups or soloists.  We brought the house down!  Sold out at 600 seats, and a standing ovation after several numbers.  They went wild.  We had such a good time.  There's about 70 in the group from ages 28-84.  Of my girls were there to cheer me on!

Sunday was rest & recover & clean...  Not the girls favorite day.  Monday I started circling my wagons to start the battle with the school system for my new daughters.  They do not want to pay to send my deaf daughter to Deaf School or bus her.  Yet, there aren't any other deaf students in the school system and no foreign language speakers.  I will also have to strong arm them to put the other daughter into the grade I think is appropriate having had 3 years experience with my other older daughter.  I know what works and what doesn't.  I had my first meeting with the Assit. Superintendant and the Principal of the Middle School.   They are great to work with, it's the Head of Special Needs that there will be World War 3.  I fought him tooth and nail for my older daughter's rights three years ago.  He had no clue what to do with an older, but immature, non-English speaker.  I finally went to the Superintendent of Schools and complained and got everything sorted out.  This  will be interesting.  I have already contacted, at State level, the person in charge of hard of hearing and deaf students in our State educational system.  I got a few tips from her and I know that she's on my side.  Next meeting, in a month or so.  And Monday night I had my usual training down at the firehouse.

Tuesday, girls go to a school exchange club after school, the older daughter has a piano lesson, and I go to chorale practice.  Somehow I got myself signed up for THREE 'concerts'.  So from a full Baroque orchestra singing Handel and traditional carols, to strolling down streets singing carols to a formal Christmas concert learning difficult harmonies, I have a lot to learn.  Did I mention that I don't read music...?

Yes, I know, I missed more than a few days.  Part of it was because I was so busy, the other part was, I don't think anyone is following the blog, so I figured I wouldn't be missed.

Saturday was..a day. The twins went to sewing in the morning, and straight from there an hours drive away, they went to this wonderful function put on by Chinese students at this University for Chinese adoptees.  They had everything so well planned out.  Chinese games, art, food, crafts, song, and so much more.  And when they are there they are assigned a 'big brother' or a 'big sister' that stays with them the whole time.  The girls went last year and loved it.  They came home with all sorts of little goodies.

While they were there I took the older daughter to her sewing lesson and picked her up an hour and a half later. (Did I mention I was feeling a bit under the weather?)  Then at 4:30 I had to drive to the next town for the concert I was singing in that night.  It was called "Invasion of the British".  We sang a lot of the songs from the 60's that were by English groups or soloists.  We brought the house down!  Sold out at 600 seats, and a standing ovation after several numbers.  They went wild.  We had such a good time.  There's about 70 in the group from ages 28-84.  Of my girls were there to cheer me on!

Sunday was rest & recover & clean...  Not the girls favorite day.  Monday I started circling my wagons to start the battle with the school system for my new daughters.  They do not want to pay to send my deaf daughter to Deaf School or bus her.  Yet, there aren't any other deaf students in the school system amd no foreign language speakers.  I will also have to strong arm them to put the other daughter into the grade I think is appropriate having had 3 years experience with my other older daughter.  I know what works and what doesn't. I had my first meeting with the Assit. Superintendant and the Principal of the Middle School.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My favorite day!

Friday the 13th, my lucky day.  In fourth grade my class was making a big deal about it. "Oh, it's full of bad luck, something terrible will happen, etc."  The teacher quieted us down and explained that the day was only unlucky if you thought of it that way.  Well, we all disagreed, and started citing examples, the din in the classroom reached a fever pitch.  The teacher held her hand up,  and her words of wisdom spilled out into the classroom entering our still forming minds.  She said...."Friday is the luckiest day in the year for me.  At the Country Fair every year only one woman ever won the jam contest.  I was 15 years old and decided to try anyhow.  The judging was on Friday the 13th, and I won the Blue Ribbon, 1st prize."

To this day I have never forgotten that story.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How to make an interesting Blog.

Well, several days later, a few EMT calls, Girl Scout meetings, and a few runs to the store I finally come back to touch in. Blogs are a whole lot more interesting to everyone if they're about a little boy or girl who is about to be or is already adopted and all the adventures that go with it. Right now it's just li'i ol' me trying to figure out how to bring two daughters home to their new family without ending up not being able to pay bills or feed the family we presently have. No one wants to read about that sort of struggle, Fun stories, antidotes are usually more entertaining and something to keep checking in on.                                          
 I have started to build a case with a lot of research to use as my 'weapon' to make my town pay for busing and paying to go to a Deaf school. This town does not like to part with their money no matter what! But I have fought with them and won before for our daughter that we addicted at 12.5. I rattled a lot of cages, hired a legal advocate, and wouldn't back down. I finally refuse to deal with the head of Special Ed. I would only deal with the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of schools. Which is what I am doing now. I want all the meetings, paperwork, documents over with before I bring her home. So what I usually do is start at the top and work my way down. Today I called our State's Capital and the Bureau of Special Ed. and spoke with the Supervisor of Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Approved Private Special Ed. and complaints. She gave me great advise and referred me to a new paper they just published specifically using the correct language to get services for my daughter. Yahooo, she was great, friendly and accessible. I know that we will talk more. I am building up my ammunition for my first IEP meeting.            

 I'll keep you all informed as we go along. OK, I'm on night duty tonight (also last night) so I must try and get some sleep in case I'm called out in the middle of the night. Til next time...

Friday, November 6, 2009

I shall return

Sorry I have been remiss in the updates. Sometimes sleep just has to come before everything else... and rarely does that happen, so I thought I would take advantage in the lull. Having said that, I am off to bed to try for an early night. Early is anything before 11:15. I have to get up at 7:00 to be at the fire house to work on the Special Hydrant Inspection and Testing Team. A Mother's work is never done...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Well, this is the start of my second try.  My first, just got wiped out for some unknown reason and I had practically finished.  I'm tired and now I'm cranky so I will make it short regarding the 'aha' moment that I referred to yesterday.

Mixed with gratitude for the funds being donated I have found something in addition. The smaller donations held something besides dollar amounts.  The individuals who gave probably couldn't afford it, and had their own children and issues they were balancing, yet they took time and thought to reach out to give to helping our daughters be adopted.  The unconditional caring of these people is pretty special, and I don't think I have experienced this before.  So we were really given two gifts.
These are my thoughts for tonight.  I shall now say good night to catch what beauty sleep I can.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I was going to share an interesting 'aha' moment, but I got home late and needed to clean up, feed the bunnies, and get ready for the morning that my mind has slowed down to a point that I cannot write anything profound.  So I shall continue this thought tomorrow ...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Before I wearily go off to bed I will share our Halloween with you.

So 'the girls' say, let's go somewhere different this year for Trick or Treating.  Hmmm, I haven't a clue, so I start calling other Mother's for their suggestions.  Ok, I think I found the street that would be perfect, I hear a lot of kids go.  Make up on, hair designed, into costumes - a bat and a vampire, and off we go.  We arrive, take out the umbrellas, of course it's raining, and start the process.  Halfway around the circle, puddles have been stepped in, sleeves have been dragged on the street, and I am quite soggy.  The girls started commenting that the candy 'take' wasn't quite as good as the street we usually go to...

I did remind them that it was their idea to try something new.  A few more houses and the decision is made, hop back into the car and go back to the usual street.  It's now 8:10 and I'm sure there isn't much candy left at this point, but I say nothing.  On the way, we first stop at the Police Station to Trick or Treat, then onto the street.  Even in the soggy darkness it was nice to come back to something familiar, especially because they do such great decorations.

Eight houses later one of the girls (9 years old) says, "I think I have reached my standard for tonight.  We can go home now."  All righty then, into the car and home again home again jiggity jig.  Then one of them says, (it's 9:20 at this point) "I need a warm bath when I get home".   Imagine my surprise at this request for a bath?  Usually I get the sound of "Ahhhhah", where the sound stays on the same note and finishes with an upswing.

They insisted on separating out their candy before the bath, because they are giving most of it to the troops overseas.  So, bath, bed, sleepy eyes saying goodnite and it was the best Halloween ever!

So goodnite from me and Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009


A night out, how wonderful, how unusual...  I went out with my neighbor who is owner of a 3 generation farm at the bottom of our road.  We went to the local place and darned if I didn't run into someone I grew up with.  We had a wonderful time chatting and catching up.  His girlfriend had connections with my friend, and then another person came over to see my old friend and I recognized him from buying something in his store.  Are you still following me ??

These are the times I cherish, just having human contact.  Which is different from children jumping on you having human contact.

I will leave with this image of me enjoying myself, because at the beginning of the day I was on the war path, with many others, at the principal and Superintendent of schools.  But that's another story...

I shall sleep now, and wake up on Halloween.  Good night.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A compliment...

Today was a day to get things completed and on a list, which I hope I won't mis-place. And through suggestions of a few I have reorganized the donation area of the blog.  I have made the chip-in goal $6,550, with a list of what it is for. These are immediate needs.  As they are met a new goal will be set for the next dollar chunk  and so on.

I went and did a grocery shopping and received a slight compliment.  Any compliment is always appreciated. As I was standing in the fruit and vegetable section I looked up and a man, quite good looking, looked at me, and then did a double take. I interpreted that as a compliment.  Of course he could have thought I was someone he knew because I have longish blonde hair and have often been mistaken for Meryl Streep, no really it's true.  Since the 80's in LA it has always happened.  Any way let me share the name of the gentleman who looked, Robert Vaughn, the actor.  Now if you don't know who he is, google and you'll recognize his face.  It made my day...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mom to the rescue

Thank you to those people that told me they were listening, it is quite comforting.

One daughter was home sick today, (2nd day), so I worked at the computer on my fundraising.
Everything was quiet until...

I was required to wear two hats simultaneously.  When my older daughter was 15 minutes late in arriving home, I sent my husband out in the car to the end of the road to see if she was on her way.  He called and said she was no where in sight.  Hmmm, I thought.  I called the school and said "Where is Bus #1?"  They replied, it had an accident, it was sideswiped, no one is hurt, and they told me what road it was on.  Luckily it was just 2 minutes from us.  I called James to go there to bring her home.  They wouldn't let him through or take her home.  So I told him to come back to the house and I would go.  I figured if I put my EMT gear on I'd look official and any way I probably knew the police that were there. Just as I was pulling on my pants, my pager went off saying woman with chest pains just down the same road as the bus.

OK, Now I'm really on my way...  I arrive and park.  I start walking towards the scene, 3 police cars, ambulance, etc, totally active.  I was wondering how the ambulance was going to get through to the heart patient when the road was totally blocked.  Turned out it was the bus driver.  The car involved had a Mom and 2 little children.  I first got on the bus to see if my daughter was alright.  As I get on, all the kids start saying Hi Mrs, Nicoloro, Hi, will you call my Mom?... I see they are all fine.  I then ask the other EMTs if they need help.  So off with the Mom hat on with the EMT hat. I help out a bit, call some Moms to reassure them, then finally pop my Mom hat back on grab my daughter and go home.

Oh my daughter thought it was so cool that I 'rescued' her.  Guess I racked up some points with my teenager, which is always a very good thing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Anyone out there?

Alright, I've come to the conclusion that I really can't write every day.  I will earnestly try to write every other day at least.

Now what happened Sunday... Oh yes , now I remember.  I took my older daughter, who plays the piano to a piano recital of a 24 year old Chinese pianist.  She has won most international awards and amazing in her piano dexterity.  We were both impressed. The rest of the day is a blur of catch up.

Monday I substituted all day, then took my daughter to a doctor's appointment, (30 minutes away) then came home, did a quick check of emails, then back out the door to EMS training down at the firehouse on how to fill out EMS charts .  I admit it, i snoozed off at least 11 times.  Not because the content was not stimulating, but I was running on only 4 hours sleep.

And in between all this I was taking care of my daughter who had a 103.1 fever.

The training went late, I didn't get home until just before 10:00.  I'll feed the bunnies, try to make the sick daughter go to sleep, who has been unable to fall asleep, and crawl into bed hopefully before midnight. Sure would like to take a shower one of these days.

Sometimes it seems like I'm writing in a void, I wonder if anyone is listening...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday already?

Friday was a long day.  I spent most of the day filling out applications for grants or researching over 30 of them to see if we qualified.  Four thirty in the afternoon hit and I remembered I had to tag everything (about 60 items!) I was selling at the tag sale and drop it off by 9:00 pm.  Well, I grabbed a daughter, she grabbed a pen and we furiously went at it up to the last minute.  We jumped into the car, 30 minute drive, unload bag after bag of stuff. Quickly find the right table to distribute everything and then finish as it hits 9:00, whew, heavy sigh. Today, Saturday, I had to work my shift at the tag sale.  It was the usual insanity.  I don't think that I sold very much, because I took a lot home.

I'm trusting that people will reach out and help.  Of course it would help if I started giving people the link to here..  OK, tomorrow I will spend the day notifying one and all about bringing the girls home.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Still coping..

Sorry to anyone who has been reading my entries that I skipped a couple of days.  It really has been quite busy.  The upshot is, everything is now in for the I-800A, and all my dossier is complete and at the agency.  Now all they have to do is expedite it.

We travel the 2nd week in Jan, and we'll be there for 3 weeks.  It is all happening so fast.

I have spent hours researching Chinese Sign, and finding sites for ASL that my new daughter will be able to go to.

Hey! I got my first school report to day about her!  She has all 'A's AND is considered the top student in all of her classes.  They also say she is a quick learner.  That's great, because she will have to learn a new Sign language and culture.

Soon we will be able to hook up with the other daughter through the computer.  How nice to finally get real information about what her sizes are and what things she is interested in.

Now we need to get more people on the band wagon to contribute.  Onwards and upwards...

Monday, October 19, 2009

One step closer.

Today I went to the Chinese Consulate to have my documents authenticated.  As I reached the Consulate, I noticed this looong line outside, I thought to myself, this surely isn't just to get inside?  Well it was.  So we all shivered until inside and then I joined another huge line.  Now this one had an obstacle course.  First you had to find the end of the line, then you snaked yourself carefully inch by inch through at least 5 long switch backs to finally arrive at 8 rows of chairs with 15 chairs in each row.  Now this was challenging because you had to keep moving over to the next empty seat as the first one was vacated.  It was like musical chairs with 50+ people, but everyone always got a chair.

I got to the counter, and she found 'problems' with some of the paperwork, I about had apoplexy.  I can't go through all this again.  Finally after back & forthing she agreed that I only needed to copy one document.  I went to the machine - another line, and the person using the copier was making massive amounts of copies!  I told the person in front of me, tell him in Chinese that we only need one copy, PLEASE let us go first??  No deal.  Well, he finally finished, then the 4 people in front finished, I heave a sigh of relief, put my quarter in and..the copier JAMMED!  Why me!  Didn't do that for anyone else, nooo, only me.  OK, that's it, I whip open any door press on any lever and expose the whole machine, NOTHING I can't find the jam.  Please say this isn't happening..somebody opens the paper tray and voila, I see the jam.  I rip out a chunk of paper and proceed to threaten the machine with bodily harm if it messes up again.

Back to the counter, papers accepted, then train home, ahhhh.  Almost done.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sign Language lesson

Well, I gave my family their second Sign Language lesson tonight.  Man can they get the sillies!  I never knew Learning Sign could become such a giggle fest, and my husband was the worst with the wise cracks , and he was trying to do those in Sign Language.  I had to settle them down a few times, but they are enjoying it so much.  Now they won't stop trying to speak to me with Sign...
I researched Chinese Sign but there isn't much out there, but I did find a few things.  In particular.., my older daughter's favorite singer from her Province has a YouTube with her song being Signed in Chinese Sign Language.  So, my daughter will translate the Chinese words and we see which word goes with what sign and Voila, we will be learning a whole bunch of Chinese Signs!

Then I had a really cool idea.  Since my daughter knows the song and can sing it  she will sing and sign, I will sign with her and hopefully my other two won't be too shy to participate for our new deaf daughter.  This will let her know that we care, we will try, and we respect her language.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A semi-successful day

Last night I finally received approval for the financial letter, AND found an accountant to write it.  Today I drove an hour and a half and had the State seal put on 8 documents ($120).  By the time I got back, it was too late to go to New York, phooey!  So Monday I will trudge in and pay a $20 a document to have all the papers authenticated.    I just figured the total cost for 12 documents,,,$240.00! Whew, well that winded me a bit...

So, when I asked my girls about adopting the first daughter, the twins were excited and I showed my 15 year old a video of her.  She watched, and I asked her, "Well what do you think?"  She looked at me and said, "She's has a lot more patience then I ever had."  Such insight.

My poor husband will be totally out numbered by females, 5 daughters, 3 female bunnies and one male bunny. But he's tough, he can take it, or least he knows he can hide in his office.  No wait, we will be using his office for a new bedroom now and he'll move into the family room, which is a major hang out room for one and all.  Guess he could always hide under the bed?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What are Five Blossoms from China?

Several people have asked this and it's meaning.  I currently have three children from China, and when we bring the next two home it will become five Chinese girls... five blossoms.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I started today rather chipper.  I did a EMS/fire safety demonstration for 3rd and 4th graders.  Then things slowly went south.  Unlike previous adoptions, documents that never needed a state seal or Chinese authentication now do.  I thought the dossier was finished, but oooh nooo.

My agency informed me that EVERYTHING needed everything.  How could I have not known that, me a former producer, detailed-orientated type A?  I just assumed it was as before.  So in one hour and 15 minutes I went to one town to get a doc notarized, then to another town for another doc, then two towns away to Fed Ex to mail the I-800A, then (no time to make it) pick up dinner come home to another faux pas. The financial letter my husband wrote won't be accepted.  Because he was laid off, he is not allowed to state what ever money is coming in or assets.  Apparently they need a CPA to write it, to make it reliable.  Now it was 6:30 at night, and I don't know any CPAs.  This dossier has to get out now.  So, to relieve some of my stress I went out on an EMS call for a little girl.  Just to put things into perspective.

I still need to drive an hour and a half to the state offices tomorrow to get that state seal on docs I didn't know about, then go into the City to the Chinese Consulate to be Authenticated.  But if I don't have that accountant letter to get the state seal on and Chinese authentication...

Anyone know a CPA or an accountant with a letterhead???

I know, tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My synapse are not connecting

Well, it's taken me almost two days to understand (?) and figure out how to do this blog thingy.  TIm has the patience of a saint to guide me thru it by email, and he doesn't even know me!  I just don't think inside that box which makes techie things easy for some.  I'm more spontaneous, outside the box, not staying on one thing too long.  No it's not ADD, it's the show biz gene in me that creates all this energy that scatters, yet multi-tasks at the same time.

I gave up tonight working on the blog in favor of filling out applications  for grants.  Of course that was interrupted with my 9 year olds bursting in from school, doing homework, telling new jokes, feeding rabbits and making dinner.  Then one of the daughters had to show me how she figured out to get the bunnies into the cage.  She crawls around like a cat very slowly as if she's stalking them, their predator instincts kick in and they run like hell into the cage.  Now why didn't I think of that?

I'm feeling overwhelmed with things that need to be accomplished immediately, and my brain seems to have short circuited to the point of disconnecting some synapse and has made me come to s screeching halt.  Oh well, I think I have a few million more left...somewhere.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Never a dull moment...

Having started everything late in life, I am continually on a learning curve trying to catch up. I don't use an ATM, I can't text, I'm not quite sure what an ipod is and the wii thing is beyond me. Now having said all that, I am a well travelled, sophisticated, educated woman, or least I would like to think of myself as such.(?)

By making two recent decisions I have been thrust, kicking and screaming into the techie world. We chose to adopt one more daughter near the age of our oldest, now 15. I saw this picture of this girl with such a beautiful smile and dimples I just knew she was to be for our family. She is 13. We decided we could figure out/raise the funds. We were almost finished with the dossier and completed our homestudy when I saw an urgent email stating a deaf girl would age out in February. By 'coincidence' she was with the agency we were using. I inquired and let them know if no one came forward to contact me. Four families came forward and I was glad, and slightly relieved. Fast forward 2 weeks...I was the only one paper ready to be able to adopt her before she aged out. Gulp. But if we didn't step up, I didn't want to think what a petite deaf girl's fate would be for the future...

OK, husband moves out of his office to make another bedroom, and I need to get past the shock of having 3 teenage girls all of a sudden.

Money, how could we possibly do this when almost everything doubles? I frantically start applying for grants. I know so many in the adoptive world step forward in time of need, I knew I would have to reach out. This is where the techie part comes in. A blog? Chip-in? All Greek to me. Thankfully someone took pity on me and guided me through this. So this is my first attempt to raise funds to increase our daughter count from three to five.

We HAVE to travel by the end of January to adopt before her 14th birthday.