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I’m dusting off the old blog, yet again. It’s nice to have this here, when Facebook and all those other social media sites begin to make me feel stifled creatively and smug about humanity.

Here, I can stretch my fingers and my flex my brain. I don’t have to worry about filing up people’s news feeds or which list can see what picture. (Yes, not everyone gets to see pictures of my kids.)

So here I am, back in WordPress, trying to reacquaint myself with changes and decide how I want to fill this space. Let’s hope it takes shape organically, because my brain hurts trying to plan anything right now. Besides, who blogs anymore? I mean, is it still a thing for non-revenue seekers to do? I keep up with a lot of editorial, theological blogs, but most of my friends (especially in the adoption community) have moved on to 140 characters or less.

Either way, I need this right now. Yay for free blogging.

To keep it easy on this post, let me recap the past 9 months since my last post. LIST TIME!! (in no particular order)

1/ I closed my jewelry business this year, officially. Like through the state and city. I didn’t renew my membership to the Durham Craft Market. It’s been tough to mentally let go, but my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I want to focus more on writing and other creative outlets.

2/ Sproutlet started Kindy this year. I have many feelings* about this.

3/ Big E started 2nd grade. I have many feelings* about this.

4/ We adopted a dog from Kansas City. She’s like Abbey, only more wily and perhaps an undercover agent for British intelligence. (That’s just how I imagine her “voice”). She’s about three and still has a lot of puppy in her. She’s been a great fit with ol’dog Ferg, they balance each other.

5/ I abandoned my novel. I finished the first draft, then butchered it in editing/re-writes. I literally have no idea what I have done to it. So 4 years down the drain. Lesson learned? DON’T TAKE A YEAR AND A HALF OFF. Don’t shelve a project unless it’s not working. Writers write. Everyday.

6/ I started a new novel. I’m 18,000 words in! I’m very anxious about finishing it and not repeating the same mistakes!

7/ Watching my brother-in-law battle ALS has been the hardest thing I have endured. Watching my sister-in-law and nieces care for him and soak up every minute with him, has been equally heartbreaking. As an “outsider” it’s hard to navigate how much help to offer, when to back-off, when to press…a lot of emotions these days…

8/ I was part of a search committee for our church. Truly a spirit-led endeavor, it was a great education for me on many levels. We not only found an excellent new rector, but I learned a lot about our church history and make-up. We are diverse in thought, word and deed, but we all want the same thing. A spiritual leader that will help challenge and ignite the gospel under our feet. Easy enough, right?

9/ I can actually keep plants alive. I’m thankful for automatic watering systems and a kind friend who helped me plan around my black thumb.

and finally…
10/ Letting Go is FREEDOM.

My Best,
Venicia

*feelings that are not atypical of a mother who is trying to absorb every minute of her children’s lives and feels it will never be possible with time moving so fast.

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I have spent the past few nights sifting through pictures, blog posts, e-mails, and old chat room/forum discussions in preparation for this blog post. It’s been a year, friends. A whole year since we met our daughter, the little Sproutlet. It was nice to reminisce over the “Steps to TA” (travel approval) on CHAT and re-read all the little emails from adoptive mamas cheering each other on and providing support when something backfired or got held up in process. I read some of YOUR lovely emails and Facebook notes of love and support, and smiled over each one of them. You are part of our story, in the preparation and the arrival, so before I go further-give yourself a big squeeze from me. If you are around someone you love, go hug them, too. Even if you never uttered word to me, consider yourself part of our story, as well. Know that I am grateful for every prayer, positive and healing thought, and deed. We would not have gotten through any of this without the Holy Spirit moving some feet and hands. 

This year has been full of challenges and successes with our Sproutlet. She’s a spry, vibrant little force to be reckoned with. She is smart and eager to learn and so proud of herself when she accomplishes something. It takes a little (or a lot) of prodding, but to hear her say, “I DID IT!” in that sweet little voice, fills me up. She’s an amazing little girl and every night when I tuck her into bed, I always tell her how thankful I am that she is in our lives (and how much I love her, of course!) God was certainly good to us when our red threads were knit together. It’s a kind gift, the gift of adoption, one that should be given the utmost care and attention. The road is often long and hard, with happy, scenic pit stops along the way. We are blessed with this gift of a child who has not had the greatest of beginnings and we try keep her safe and loved through her life’s journey. We keep our faith and wits about us; and keep moving on. It’s a challenge that requires God and community among us. That’s why it’s especially important for me to say thank you, tonight. 

As I mentioned there have been big challenges to overcome. First were those of her sweet little ears and her hearing. To make a long story short, we spent the first six months fighting an ear infection that would not go away in her right ear. After treatment at Duke gave us the right antibiotic and ear irrigation, she was in the clear. Until the next ear infection surfaced. Thankfully, the latter infections have all been treatable with standard antibiotics, so no more Duke trips. We have to pay extra care with water now. No lake swimming, ocean swimming, or river swimming until the perforations are closed. Ear plugs, no matter how fancy have simply not worked. So far, the left ear perforation is closing up nicely. The right one has been a little slow going. This has all affected her hearing, thus the use of the hearing aids. She’s finally adjusted to wearing them, and I’m pretty sure we’re over the “let’s take these things apart” phase. Her hearing has improved a smidge, but until everything is healed up, we won’t be able to fully grasp her loss.  For now, her loss has been explained as though she’s hearing us underwater. She can hear but it’s muffled and certain consonants, letter blends and frequencies are troublesome.

The girl has compensated for it, though. It really doesn’t slow her down too much. When children ask me about what is in her ears, or I notice their curiosity-the best thing I have found to model for Sproutlet is honesty and explain that her aids are like glasses-they are tools to help her. Glasses help you see better, hearing aids help you hear better! It seems to be enough for her and Big E’s peers. While the overall process has been challenging, the comfort and ease of her transition I count as a success. 

Another big success overall this year was her gross motor development. She can jump like a frog, alternate feet going up and down stairs, run (oh my gosh, that’s the cutest thing, ever!) and jump. What’s the big deal? She’s 3 ½. Most kids are well on their way to doing this or mastered these skills. It has also helped that her big brother is part Mexican Jumping Bean. Or perhaps Vietnamese Jumping Bean. 😉

Other milestones:

-Sproutlet was Baptised this year in the Episcopal church that I grew up in and by the Priest who assisted in my Baptism when I was a child.  We were surrounded by family and friends and her God Families.

-She likes Little Einsteins, Doc McStuffins, Minnie Mouse (and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)- she calls out “Oh Tooooodles” when Mickey asks.

-She like purple and dressing up in anything and everything. I have a picture of her in a Bumblebee Transformers mask, pink tutu/leotard, holding a toy power drill. She is obsessed with purses already, namely one her GodMama gave us while we were waiting for Big E to come home.

-She enjoys her Burt’s Bee’s “chappick”

-And she’s particularly bossy to her big brother, which we’ve had to regulate a little. (But I’ll -be honest, sometimes it’s nice to save my breath because I know “lil mama” has it handled) 😉

-She likes playing with messy stuff, but she DOES NOT like getting food on her fingers at dinnertime and will cry out for a “nakkin, pleeease!” And while she loves our dogs, she does not like them kissing on her or getting near her in the morning. She’s a morning girl, with limits!

-She has the brightest smile. And I adore her face when something surprises her or captures her attention.

I think I could go on and on but rather I’ll post the pictures you’ve been waiting to see. One from March 2011 (from our referral packet), March 5th 2012 (our “metcha” day), and then today (well, it was from the 3rd, but close enough!)

 

 

Sproutlet 2011Metcha Day 2012Big E, Fergus, and Sproutlet 2013

I have the best family, ever.

May you and yours be blessed and strengthened everyday.

With love,

Vea  

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I wanted to blog on the 8th day and use the title “8 Days a Week” from the Beatles but this seems to be a better song title to use because of the wacky week I have had. And since we are ending the week on our 9th day of waiting, it also seemed eerily fitting that this song be my soundtrack.

We started the week off badly with several news reports, and government postings with regards to Vietnam and the US not renewing the MOU in September. So the scramble for families to begin or to decide to continue the adoption journey is on. Folks with referral (such as ourselves) seem to be in the clear, but those who are without and those just beginning are now faced with a gloomy uncertainty. And there appears to be silence from the people we need to hear from most.

Oh, and for me to say “in the clear” really means nothing in my mind. CIS still has to declare Little Guy a true orphan before we travel.

The Listservs have been less than helpful, mostly rumors and innuendos. Then people become defensive and short tempered. I became quite angry at one point and then really sad as I read the onslaught of posts. Once again, we all turn on each other when the going gets tough. I spoke my piece on one list a day or so ago, and then today just “decompressed” on another list reserved for my fellow agency pals. It’s been a long week emotionally.

And we are only on day 9.

love,
MP

Little Guy turned 8 months old this week…by the way…happy birthday sweetie pie. I can’t wait to meet you.

Well…no news. We have been waiting 2 months, 3 weeks and 4 days. But whose counting? Thank you Lord for stupid online tickers. Nah, I actually think those are the devil’s doing. I’m not thanking him/her/it for aiding and abetting to my anxiousness of having a child. dammit.

I have bookmarked more Vietnam blogs than I have ever before. Families in every stage of the wait and the journey. I have subscribed to 3, THREE yahoo groups all dealing with adoptive parents of Vietnamese born children, local parents of Vietnamese born children and finally my adoption agency’s yahoo group.

I have succumbed to my own demon. Obsession.

Good job.

I posed the question here whether it was weird to register for baby stuff before we even had a referral. I’m beginning to think it’s not, as I truly believe if I don’t move on to something new soon, I will know more about “Looking for LuLu”‘s life than my own.

*banging head against wall*

Maybe it’s just a case anxiety; that I may miss some Embassy or DOS statement that my agency will miss too (which seriously, they won’t. They are so good about getting info to us!).

The big kicker is, that if we hear anything about a referral, it would be APRIL, at the EARLIEST.

I’m screwed.

I can’t wait until we head to the mountains next weekend.

and thank GOD I’m an Episcopal. 🙂

I was asked what my two favorite holidays were today. Instead of saying the typical Christmas and Halloween as I have in the past or a quip about my birthday being my favorite holiday, I answered Advent and Epiphany.

Why?

I am not sure. I mean, I guess they are more church seasons than one day holidays. I love Easter and Christmas, (and of course Halloween-dressing up??? c’mon that’s still pretty awesome). But as an adult, I have come to respect and adore the times leading up to and following these major events of Christ’s life. I’m not in divinity school or steeped in knowledge, but I can tell you what I do know, personally. Developing a relationship with someone, anyone, takes knowing their story and the parts of their story that are behind the scenes. Like a “Behind the Music, JC”, if you will. And then looking for the deeper story. Why they are who they are, what are they teaching????

In Advent we prepare, we wait, we are quiet. Laterally speaking, I’m doing this for the coming of my own child, until that day…this is some practice. Patience, preparation, persevering through it all. Something big is going to happen. We recognize the before and in Ephiphany, the after. All that encompasses the coming of our Lord.

(I’m sure if you knew Mary now, you would have checked on her day and night, anticipating the arrival, and then afterwards, getting on the meal rotation to make sure her and her family were cared for with casseroles out the ying yang…right?)

In Advent, it is the darkness before the light, only this light is a perfect light. Shining regardless. No matter the degree of darkness. The darkness of love, death, depression, anxiety, infertility, etc etc…

Now, understand. I didn’t arrive at this over night. It’s taken, oh, 29 years to get to this point. And this is one perspective!

As we anticipate the arrival of our child from Viet Nam, I wonder how I will teach him/her about these things I hold so dear. At one point in my life, they were not so prevalent or seemingly relevant. So, how do you celebrate Advent, if at all?

I’M SO EXCITED FOR COOLER WEATHER!!!!

Okay, so it’s not ground-breaking news, but after our great rainstorm the other night, and the cooler temps this weekend, I have to say this has been a great week.

We accomplished a lot this week! We sent our dossier of to be authenticated by the Secretary of State, drove to Charlotte for our federal fingerprinting, I made enough jewelry for market on Saturday (in turn leading to great sales day) and we spent time with family we rarely get to see.

Today we are spending preparing for the fund raiser dinner my sis in law (Aro) and her hubby (Cros) are hosting for us this upcoming Friday. It has been very touching to see who has been willing and able to help out, it’s appreciated beyond understanding!!!

So, back to my project for the day…a board of facts about Guatemala and a snapshot of where we are in the adoption process. If I can get these things done now, then the sooner we can go to the downtown arts festival. (self-imposed rewards….gotta love’em!)

Have a great Sunday!

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