Waiting is hard. I’m still waiting for everything–for Tyler to get hired on, to be able to move, to ever get pregnant again, and now for K to get here, to see what happens with hosting and adoption.
All of the waiting really gets me down. I feel like I am in control of absolutely nothing. Because, well, I’m not in control of any of these things. I can’t make any of it happen faster, or happen the way I want. I just have to wait. It makes me frustrated and depressed.
Today we went to visit Tyler’s Granny and her husband Paul. We haven’t had time to visit them much lately and she’s 84 years old, so I told Tyler we’d better hurry up and visit more now before it’s too late.
I want to be sure the girls have lots of pictures with their great grandparents, for memories. Unfortunately it’s very dark in their living room.
The girls love to visit her. She still wears perfect make-up at 84 years old. She lives in a gorgeous house, and it’s always perfectly clean in every nook and cranny. Granny is a twin, and she was born very tiny. Apparently she fit in the palm of her father’s hand. Her twin sister was a normal size. They didn’t think she would live and they weren’t even going to name her, but when she was alive the next morning one of her brothers and sisters wanted to call her Nancy, so they did.
Crazy to think that if she’d died Tyler wouldn’t have been born, neither would my kids.
None of these people would be here:
Kind of a hilarious outtake. She had a bag of mini Oreos for Rosie and Ada to share.
She lives in a town home community.
This is her backyard.
My kids love to lay in the grass.
I can never get just one normal picture of them–they aren’t both looking,
It’s not for lack of trying.
I was mostly satisfied with this one.
My kids sat on her very white pristine bed with their dirty feet.
While I was posting these pictures she called me to tell me how much she enjoyed our visit!
She is a very impressive quilter. She made this family memories quilt for her twin, and she made a copy for herself as well. It’s so cool!
She made the quilts for their 70th birthdays. (Insane that was 14 years ago.)
The quilt has family pictures transferred to fabric, a family tree with their family’s pictures on it, and a map of where they grew up–their barnyard, house, and school.
This is an up close of the middle.
She sewed the entire thing by hand with one little quilting needle.
I absolutely love all of the tiny details.
She has shown Tyler the details multiple times, but he’s always happy to listen again.
Tyler said next time we go over we should pretend like we’ve never seen the quilt before and make a video of her explaining the entire thing.
I made a couple short videos of her talking about it today, which I will have to add here later because they are saying 100 minutes remaining on the upload. Probably since I made them with my 5D Mark II instead of the iphone.
I’m having a lot of anxiety.
That’s really nothing new considering I’ve struggled with anxiety for a long time, but still…anxiety is lame and I dislike it.
I’m nervous about K coming.
We’ve already got such a good thing going, what if she ruins it? What if her visit is just horrible?
What if she has reactive attachment disorder? What if it’s just too hard to deal with?
What if she hates us? What if our house is too messy? I can’t keep my house clean all the time with two kids, how will I keep it clean enough with three kids?
What if our house just isn’t good enough? What if we aren’t old enough parents, rich enough, experienced enough?
Even worse than the above fears, what if she’s perfect for us? What if we fall absolutely head over heels in love with her?
How will we put her back on the plane to Ukraine if we love her and want to keep her forever?
How will we afford to adopt her? How will we go to Ukraine to get her and stay there for the several weeks to months it will take to complete the adoption when we have no money?
What if it’s impossible?
Even more frightening, what if it is possible?
What does older child adoption look like? How do you heal the lonely heart of a little girl who has never had a family to love her, who missed out on all the nurture and love she deserved during her babyhood?
It’s so safe to just say no. To sit here and not let our hearts go. It’s safe to not love unconditionally, without knowing where your love will take you.
It’s risky to love an orphan. Very risky, very scary, and very…a lot of emotions.
But how can we not? Once we know, how can we not do it? There’s just no turning back.
The other day I was driving down the road and inwardly lamenting the fact that our house is small and we don’t exactly have room for K’s clothing to fit anywhere.
We only have these really old, broken kid sized dressers. Spending money on furniture is not in the budget. So our clothes don’t have space to be put away in drawers.
How could we have a little girl here with no where to put her things?
We got home and as we were getting out of the car my neighbors across the street were carrying out a dresser.
He asked if we wanted it. His wife bought a new bedroom set and they needed to move the old one out to make space.
Huh, what? Random coincidence again??
Not only did they want to give us a dresser, it is a nice solid wooden dresser with a mirror on the top.
(Rosie was just asking me if she could ever have a dresser with a mirror in her room!)
AND it has a matching tall dresser that they also gave us. Two nice dressers! Not ten minutes after I was just stressing about not owning dresser space.
What the heck?
I saw this picture tonight of a little girl and my heart started beating considerably faster.
I look at adoption listings all the time, on several sites and linked from some adoption blogs I read. A picture has never made me have a physical reaction before, not like this one.
It sounds stupid really, but…I don’t know. This little girl just looks like she belongs in our family. Something in me recognized her.
She’s four years old and in a Russian orphanage. She has spina bifida and can’t walk. She also has bad vision, and no bowl or bladder control. Honestly, those feel like special needs I could face without being overwhelmed.
When she turns five she’ll be sent to an institution, where the majority of handicapped children die in the first year due to horrific conditions and malnutrition. I watched a BBC documentary about this once and now I can’t undo what my eyes saw. There’s no erasing those horrors from my brain. :(
Since she isn’t severely handicapped they may keep her a bit past her fifth birthday, but time is ticking away for her. She will turn five in March.
Rosie saw her picture over my shoulder and said, “Mom who is that girl? I love her!”
I’m not sure Tyler would be on board with this plan. Simply because he’s overwhelmed as it is trying to provide for our family. But…he does want to have another baby so…you never know.
International adoption is incredibly expensive, with Russia being one of the most expensive. It costs $30-40,000.
How scary, right? Must resist the urge to run away.
I think we could make it happen with some serious planning and prayer.
We’re planning on using Christmas money and our tax return to pay down our lingering credit card debt. Then I will feel a lot better.
We meet the income requirements to adopt–125% of the poverty level for your family size including the child you want to adopt. The only catch is we do not meet the requirements if I were to become pregnant. It’s $32,712 for a family of five and $37,000 something for a family of six. We don’t make $37,000 a year. (Yet.)
If we decide to do this I will have to use birth control or something…! Not a fan of birth control over here.
We would need to find about $2,000 to pay for a home study. Once our home study is approved we can really get things rolling and apply for multiple grants. Just an hour of googling found quite a few places to apply for grants that come in amounts of anything from $300-$15,000! You are apparently more inclined to receive grants based on your financial need (huge) and if your child has special needs (yep).
I also discovered several places that do interest free adoption loans. We can get an interest free loan for the amount of our adoption tax credit ($13,000) to put towards our adoption! Then once we get the tax credit we can instantly turn around and pay it off.
And then there’s good old fashioned (and somewhat intimidating) fund raising for the rest. Not to mention praying for miracles…
It takes 9-18 months to adopt in Russia from what I’ve gathered. There’s lots and lots of paperwork with fees for each thing. And two trips to Russia, which are rolled into the total cost of the adoption…
I’ve also considered what we would do about her special needs once we adopted her. In the short term, until Tyler gets more raises at work, we don’t make any extra money. However there is a Shriner’s Hospital in our town and they treat children with spina bifida regardless of the family’s ability to pay. Little nagging voice asks me why I would adopt a child I can’t fully afford, but the louder voice points out she would have her head shaved and be rocking back and forth on a cot in a horrible institution within just one short year without a family.
I would temporarily give up my dreams of moving to farm land, and the new camera I was hoping to save for. I would give up having another baby right now. I would go into debt a million times over.
I don’t have any fantasies about this being easy and wonderful, I know it will be hard and challenging in multiple ways. That’s ok with me. I also know for sure that Rosie would be up for the challenge, and even benefit from it in the long run.
Maybe this is all for naught. It could just be that she’s cute and that attracted my attention. She clearly reminds me of Rosie.
I don’t know what will happen. Either Tyler will say absolutely no way, or we will try it and it won’t work out, or…?
Lots of prayers going up from me.
If she’s not ours, then I will pray a thousand times a day that she finds her family before it’s too late.
I’m absolutely not breathing a single word of this to our families. (Unless, um, they read my blog…!)
They know we aren’t rich, they know how hard it is to take care of two little ones, and they will poo on the idea of not only a third child (biological or adopted), but especially a third child that we go out of our way to get knowing that it won’t be easy.
Too bad for them–they don’t realize that the biggest struggles in life usually end in the best rewards. Easy isn’t always better people!
If anyone wonders why I might want to have a gazillion children, this my friends is why…pictures from this afternoon and evening:
(The black and whites are Instagrams, the rest aren’t.)
Dress up this evening…
Princess Rosie in her carriage.
(By the way, if anyone wonders why she’s in a diaper the antibiotics I’ve been taking are upsetting her belly, poor thing. She can’t always make it to the potty on time.)
That was one of my favorite stuffed animals as a kid, he’s still hanging around getting the love.
This one cracks me up!
I heart my fat little tourist. (And my prissy princess too!)
For science in our kindergarten homeschool we are studying the ocean.
We finished the study of ocean mammals, learning what it means to be a mammal and what sorts of mammals live in and around the sea. Next up we are learning about fish and the food chain.
Today we took a field trip to the aquarium to see some of the things we’ve been reading about. Rosie and Ada both had a blast.
On the way there: Florence Y’all!
We saw lots of cool things at the aquarium!
Ada was a little scared of the huge fish, but also thrilled to the very core of her being.
Huge fish face: 0_0
My parents, my sister, and her boyfriend met up with us there. (Tyler didn’t go because of work.)
My lovely sister in the shark tunnel, who will be 18 in two months…holy crap!
Ada really wanted to climb into the tank and touch things.
They wore me out.
Apparently this giant turtle was rescued from somewhere in Louisiana, where he was destined to become soup…?!?
What a creature! I could not stop staring at his face. Ada loved him.
Ada and my mom…
Rosie was so excited, she was about to bust a gut…she was bouncing all over the place!
These fish were so cool. I want a giant aquarium of them in my living room…assuming I could afford them, manage to keep them alive, and my tiny living room could fit a giant aquarium…
Ada and my dad.
It’s good to view them upside down too, just in case you missed something while looking at them right side up.
And finally, the penguins…Rosie was most excited to see them and they are the very last thing before the exit.
Unfortunately Ada was too worn out and grumpy to stay for the penguin show, oh well.
They were still cute.
Whew, almost time to walk through the gift shop and out to the parking lot.
Rosie and Ada each picked something from the gift shop.
Ada picked a stuffed baby penguin. She walked up to it on the shelf, bent down to its face, and said in a falsetto voice, “Oh hello!”
Then she patted it gently. She is currently asleep in bed with it.
Rosie picked a bright pink stuffed penguin with a pink heart shaped jewel on its chest. She has dubbed it Pengi.
Ada fell asleep as soon as we got in the car.
Unfortunately we stopped at an outlet store, and then Ada screamed the entire three hours it took to get back to our house.
Ok, so aside from the horrible three hours of car screaming it was a great day.
Today was our homeschool field trip to the local orchard and pumpkin patch.
I’m loving homeschool field trips–we get to pay the school group rate to all kinds of places! Today at the pumpkin patch it was $7 for each person over age two and we all got to pick a pumpkin, take a private tour of the apple cider making facility, take a private hay ride to the pumpkin patch, and everyone got to pick their own pumpkin. We also got access to the huge playground and petting zoo, and each person got two apples.
Next week we’re taking a homeschool field trip to the aquarium, where tickets are only $11 instead of the regular $22. We also need to go to the Cincinnati zoo soon, where tickets are only $5 for the school rate. And we can go to local plays during the day with the school group rate also, which is $6 instead of $20.
Today at the apple orchard it was hot and sunny. Go figure. It has been very fall-like lately, until today it was around 80 degrees. I was burning up in the blazing sun lugging around Ada and my camera and giant purse.
Rosie was so excited.
Five is such a fun age. Five year olds are so enthusiastic, and they are able to understand quite a bit of facts which makes things more interesting.
Ada was none too impressed. She is so grumpy these past few days! Two year molars bothering her, maybe? She’s very unlike her usual self.
The first part of the tour was watching a movie about how things work at the orchard.
Then we got to walk through the area where they make apple cider.
This is the part where they wash the apples.
After this we went on a hay ride, except there was no hay involved. It was just a big wagon being pulled by a tractor.
None the less, this was the highlight of the afternoon according to Rosie’s summary of her favorite things she gave me during the car ride home.
I was really curious how many acres we drove through, but the tractor driver only spoke Spanish and I wasn’t about to attempt asking him. He probably didn’t know anyway.
Despite the heat it was a gorgeous October day.
Here we are riding along on the wagon, hairs blowing in the breeze.
See this picture sums up so much. I am exhausted. Rosie is thrilled. Ada is pissed off at the world and standing up to headbutt the camera.
(Side note: Do you see his beautiful green/orange/brown eyes? Kind of difficult to see their full beauty in this snapshot. I want one of my babies to have those eyes so bad! Somehow we keep ending up with blue eyed babies. I was certain Ada would have Tyler’s eyes…)
We got to pick pumpkins off of the vine.
Clearly it was very exciting.
Ada definitely takes after me in some respects. She cheered right up when she found a rotten pumpkin.
She was fascinated with the bug-filled goo inside. We had to drag her away from it.
Tyler dry heaved when she tried to stick her hand in. Rosie had long since run away screaming because…OMG, not bugs and goo!! HORRIBLE!
(Plus Rosie totally knows there is a high likelihood Ada could fling some at her.)
Shut up Tyler. The process of decay is exciting and amazing.
All is well and good in Rosie’s world as long as she is a safe distance from gross rotten pumpkin goo flinging little sisters.
And then, hark! The wagon summons us to another ride, back to the main barn, where the huge playground and petting zoo awaits!
(And lunch too…)
Riding back was just as fun as the initial ride there. Who knew being pulled by a tractor through fields was so exciting?
Attempt at sibling group photo: fail-ish.
Sparkle shoes are essential fall event wear, apparently.
I’m still not used to seeing her in glasses.
They love holding hands.
Ada loved these giant pumpkins. I wish I had a random $30-$40 to waste on one.
You can tell how hot it was, look at Ada’s red face!
The playground had a giant slide, which Ada was too short to ride and Rosie was terrified of. So Tyler rode it by himself over and over.
The playground had such cool wooden things!
Lunch. Fried apple pies, hot dogs, apple cider, and chips…perfectly healthy, right?
That much junk food turns my kids into wild monkeys.
The petting zoo had the most adorable baby pygmy goats.
Our town is working on changing the ordinance to allow mini-farm animals in city limits.
Holy crap you guys.
NIGERIAN DWARF GOATS HERE I COME!
Even Tyler may be persuaded by the sheer sweetness of these things.
This camel, oh my gosh. I wish I could have one of these for a pet.
He was super loving and expressive. He loved being scratched like a dog!
I commanded he say “cheese” and…he did. Instantly. Coincidence?
What an amazing creature. His nostrils seal shut to keep out sand from sand storms. He has beautiful eyelashes, fluffy fur…
Oh and there were tortoises. Ada loves turtles.
Want to know why Tyler is making that face?
I had to make a video. You need the volume turned up to appreciate all 8 seconds I filmed of this.
(Not really kid-safe unless you want to do some explaining.)
I am traumatized by the vocalizations.
I will probably never be the same ever again.
When we got home the girls got wet wash rags and bathed their pumpkins.
I don’t really know why. They really wanted the pumpkins to be clean.
Well actually this picture probably explains why.
You’ve met Rosie right? Particular, careful, little old lady Rosie? Of course she would scrub a pumpkin.
My sweet, sweet baby Ada would rather smack people with a wet towel.
Ah, well…the joys of raising polar opposite sisters…
Bedtime for me, please! This momma is worn out.
Random…let me throw this one in before I go.
Ok. Now I go to bed. (Imagine I said that in a funny foreign accent.)
Father/daughter dance from the wedding I did this weekend:
Laughing bride’s maids…
The wedding itself was difficult. The minister was an older man who didn’t like wedding photographers, clearly. He said we weren’t allowed to be in his line of sight at all during the service, not allowed to get anywhere near the stage, and not allowed to use flash.
Why the minister gets to tell the photographers what to do is beyond me–if I was the bride I would be angry! She’s the one paying for the photography.
Their wedding cake was one of the most delicious I have ever had. I love eating at people’s weddings. (It’s written in my contract!)
I was just an assistant to another photographer at this wedding. That was interesting. I’ve never been an assistant before. I get paid considerably less than if I were in charge, but I don’t have to edit all of the pictures and I still get to eat wedding cake.
These are pictures of Rosie and Ada yesterday evening playing outside.
The weather is getting cooler with warm days still mixed in. The evenings already have a distinct autumn chill, cooler light, and a few Fall leaves are hitting the ground.
Rosie is officially no longer a baby. Like, at all.
We made a seasonal shelf in our home school room to display items for each time of year. Rosie loves it. She’s having so much fun picking things to display for Fall/Halloween.
And Ada is so…Ada.
These are kind of outtakes lighting-wise, but I love her expressions.
Ada loves animals a lot, where Rosie can be sort of indifferent towards them.