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.