Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rearranging the house

It's summertime and I've been crazy busy driving the boys to their various lessons. Austin started his cross-country practices (2.5 hours a day), and JP and Connor attend 12-15 taekwondo classes a week, plus they are also on their school's cross-country team, which practices 2 hours each evening. Ben attends 6-7 taekwondo classes a week, and drum lessons too. We haven't been able to have our family dinner much lately with this new schedule, and that makes everyone a little "off." In addition to all that, we've been volunteering at a horse rescue (shoveling poop, mostly) one morning a week, and the 3 older boys have their guitar lessons. Ben received a new drum set (a good one!) for his 8th birthday last week, and the house has been alive with music these days. Connor is performing in a talent show with his (first) girlfriend, and they have been practicing their duet. Last night we sat around a bonfire and listened to them practice together. It was just fabulous. The big boys played basketball, ultimate frisbee and just enjoyed the last days of summer. School begins Sept. 7th for the three who attend Lima Christian School, and Austin begins September 12. In spite of being almost frantic with activity, I still managed to get on a re-arranging the house kick. Call it summer madness, but I decided that my downstairs office should be converted into another bedroom. Yes, we have the extra bedroom in the basement if we need it, but I don't want any of the kids to make that room their bedroom. It's too far from our bedroom, and the room is full of exercise equipment and instruments too. So, with help from Austin, I dragged all my bedroom furniture (except the king-sized bed) down into the office. The desk had to be dragged upstairs, which was a huge pain in the you know what. The computer network will also have to be reconfigured to work in our bedroom. Then, everyday last week, before picking up Austin from cross-country practice, I stopped at a furniture store for a quick look at their bunk-beds. I always know exactly what I want, which makes it difficult for me to shop. I breeze in, take a quick look, and quickly reject everything on display. Salespeople just don't know what to do with me! I tell them, if you have what I'm looking for, I'll know in a minute. Finally, I found a bunk-bed set that matched my criteria. Single on top, double on the bottom, wood stained light cherry, can be separated into two beds, and four under-bed drawers. It's being delivered on Tues. Then, since I moved our dressers downstairs, we needed new dressers. I figured if I was going to buy new dressers, they should be for us, not the children, since we don't break things as often. And it needs to match the desk I just brought upstairs. Another dozen trips to various furniture stores, and viola, a match. I liked it so much I bought the nightstand too! Now all I have to do is hire someone to build a wall and a doorway. The office opens into the living room, and that won't work of course. Then we have to decide exactly who will get the new room! JP is already making moves on it, since it's bigger than his room now, but if JP moves downstairs, then Connor will have to move into JP's old room and let the 3 little guys have the bigger upstairs room. It'd be easier to move Ben downstairs, and then have Logan and Isaac join him there. Anyway, it's been a big project. The re-arranging of furniture brought me to the decision to give away the big desk and file cabinets that were in the rec. room downstairs. We moved them there temporarily when David consolidated his two offices into one, and it was time to finally find them a home. I posted them for sale on facebook, but ultimately ended up donating them to the martial arts academy. Now there is a ton more space in the rec. room. Hmmm. Maybe a foosball or air hockey table? We have a pool-table and ping-pong table down there already. For someone who hates to shop, I've been on a roll lately!!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Well, today was a big surprise! We received a log in date of JULY 20! Wow! Almost a month ago our dossier was logged in, and we just now found out! This is the email I received:
"Ok, so… I know I told you that the CCCWA told us that they wouldn’t give you a log-in date until they got the Application Letter from us (notarized, verified and authenticated) and we still haven’t gotten that back from the Consulate yet (any day now), but … the CCCWA just sent us your log-in date – July 20th! Only 8 days after your dossier was sent. I don’t have an explanation."

Now of course we are back to hoping for a December travel date. Too funny! God has a sense of humor, I think, because the more I plan the less control I have over things!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Hooray!!! Someone on our Jinan SWI yahoo group traveled to China last month and took new photos of our son Logan!! How wonderful it is to see him and know that he's growing and playing! Another family in Virginia is adopting the boy playing with Logan, and we're already hoping we can reunite the boys for a play-date in the future!! Hooray for the internet! After the boys are legally ours, I'll post the photos!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Another delay

I've been asking the agency why we don't yet have a log in date, and this is the response I received last night:
" I checked in with our staff again about your log-in date. Apparently, the CCCWA is saying that they aren't going to log it in until they get your application letter notarized verified and authenticated. This is exactly opposite of what they told us when the issue first came to light a few weeks ago - they said that they were going to process things anyway without it and would accept a faxed copy of the letter pre-authenticated. So, unfortunately, now we aren't going to get a date until the letter gets there. It came back from State today. We're going to rush it through authentication. It should get back late this week or early next and will go right back out to the CCCWA. I'm also going to push the envelope a little bit with them and see if they won't log-in your dossier with a faxed copy of the authenticated letter. I'm sorry, I know this is really frustrating!"
We also found out that it is entirely possible that the CCCWA (used to be CCAA, now I don't know what new acronym even means!) will insist we complete a new dossier for Tong (Issac). Sigh. That will definitely take a few months more, which means we are totally abandoning the target date of mid-December travel. Easter break is now our new (we hope realistic) target date. Heck, at this rate it could be summer break before we travel!
What this really means is that we definitely won't be traveling in December.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Acronyms abound!

The "World of Adoption" includes a million different acronyms, and much like the teaching, nursing and law professions, only those in the loop actually know or understand the lingo. Currently, we are waiting for our LID (log in date) for KangChao, and permission to send our LOI (letter of intent) for Tong. What this means is that our documents were sent to China, but no one has yet logged them in for processing. They are just sitting around someplace, and we have been waiting for the log in date since July 12th. Then, we sent WACAP our letter of intent to adopt Tong also, but we were told that the agency has to get permission from China for us to even submit the paperwork for a second child. It shouldn't be a problem, however sometimes permission to adopt two children when reusing a dossier has been denied. Why some couples were denied, no one knows really. In the meantime, we are holding our collective breathe hoping no one else sends in their letter of intent to adopt Tong before we are granted permission to submit ours. The target date of December 15, one year after we submitted our application, is looking less than realistic now. We would really like to travel during a school break so that we can take J.P. with us, and if it's not Christmas break, then it will probably be Easter break in early April. Of course, when we get permission to travel, we will just have to rearrange everything and deal with the schedule at that time. It's not like we really have a say in the process. Frustrating? Yes. But it's less frustrating if you learn to just go with the flow and not try to make sense of the whole thing.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pizza for breakfast

I think I've grown over the years as a parent. One of the things that just doesn't bother me anymore is when the kids eat leftover pizza for breakfast. In fact, leftover dinner (whatever it happened to be) has been J.P.'s preferred breakfast since he arrived here from China 15 months ago. It's quick, almost always nutritious (even pizza in our house is often home-made, veggie filled, and whole wheat), and it's NOT sugar-laden cold cereal. Since John's arrival, I've actually come to the realization that cold cereal isn't that great of a breakfast after all. Parenting children from China has that affect; we begin to question why we've been doing things a certain way for many years. Why do we feel that meat has to be the MAIN dish at dinner? Not that we are going to be vegetarians or anything, but a few more vegetables in our diet is definitely beneficial. Do we really need to drive to the movie theater? We can easily bike the 4 miles.
On another note, today David took Ben to the movie theater (alone) to watch Winnie the Pooh. Ben never gets to see movies for little kids because the three teens always convince him to see their movie choice. In the fifteen months since his adoption, Ben has seen hundreds of action/thriller/fantasy movies, and zero movies geared towards first graders. In fact, Ben has seen dozens of movies that I would NEVER have allowed Austin (our almost 16 year old) to watch at age 7. Yes, I've given up on that battle too. David does a quick preview of the movie selected, and he overrules my objections 99% of the time. David believes the fact that good triumphs over evil makes the movie ok. Hmmm. Anyway, my point is that I am counting the days until Ben has little brothers too. We may have two distinct sets of boys, big boys and little boys, but at least Ben won't feel pushed to be a big boy way too soon. I can enjoy my little boys' hugs and kisses for just awhile longer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Simply do not accept the premise of the question

David and I were watching West Wing (on DVD) the other day, and the public relations person on the show made an interesting statement. If you don't like where the conversation is going, do not accept the premise of the question. This of course, means simply refuse to engage. Lately, I've been trying harder NOT to accept the premise of the question. For example, Austin (who's been away at various camps for 3 weeks) asked, repeatedly, insistently, and loudly, why HE is always the one who has to do the dishes. Since we have a rotating monthly schedule that is clearly posted on the whiteboard, and Austin has been gone for 3 weeks, we all know that Austin doesn't always do the dishes. I had to almost physically restrain myself from marching Austin over to the calendar and angrily pointing out the last time he actually did the dishes. No. No. No. Deep breaths Mom, and just refuse to accept the premise of the question. I kept changing the subject and couldn't be drawn into the dishes debate. It was just exhausting, but it did work, at least temporarily. As I've mentioned several times in this blog, Austin (our bio son, almost 16) is currently our most difficult child. Teenagers. Ugh.Wish they could always stay little and adore Mom!