Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Disembowelled, Disempowered of Attorney

This one's for Andrea, who asked: Did our Power of Attorney (lets the attorney in Guatemala act on our behalf in Guatebaby's adoption) come back from being authenticated at the Consulate today? Since I couldn't find your email address, and since it is a classic story in the poor-me genre, and I'm always a sucker for sympathy, I'll give you your answer here, Andrea.

Why, yes, yes the POA did arrive today. Unfortunately, the County Clerk's name on the authentication read D------- instead of V-------. I immediately called and emailed our agency (not home), asked for advice from half a dozen people, all of whom gave conflicting advice, and eventually decided to go ahead and FedEx the documents (hello $$$) to Guatemala with the expectation that we would redo them before we hit PGN.

I got hopelessly lost looking for the FedEx HQ, which is located in one of those scary semi-industrial zones near the airport that seem like they'd be a great place to leave a body if you didn't want it to be found, ever. My gas light came on and stayed on, but I was terrified that if I stopped for gas, I wouldn't get to FedEx before they closed. I made it in the bare, we-were-about-to-lock-up nick of time, and was patting myself on the back because if I had mailed the documents tomorrow morning they wouldn't get to Guatemala until Monday. Only to get home and discover an email from the coordinator, saying, no, no - don't mail them.

Did you know you can call FedEx and they'll return documents to you? I didn't. Now I do.


ETA: Apparently you can ask FedEx to return documents to you. This does not insure that said documents, will, in fact, be returned to you. Sigh squared.

Adoption Antics

I love my Pili dearly, but it will surprise no one who knows us to hear that she's not an attentive-to-small-details person. [Well, except when it comes to congealed toothpaste on the toothpaste tube and shoes left under the dining room table. Then she's a nutcase.]

She just stopped into my office with her newly renotarized doctor's note, which had to be done over because the notary's signature was not clear enough the first time around. Of course, she had to make a doctor's appt and pay a copay to get this done... but I digress.

She wanted me to take it over to the county clerk's and get it certified.

After sighing heavily (in the time it took her to run into my office, she herself could have gone to the county clerk and gotten it certified) I agreed, and took the document.

As she was walking out of my office, I notice: "But sweetie, this notary is certified in County Where You Work, not County Where We Live and Where I Work."

Off to the County Clerk goes Pili...


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A post which will be incomprehensible to most (but contains a cute picture)

The only thing that is keeping me from chewing my arm off with frustration about the fact that the Guatemalan consulate has STILL not returned our authenticated power of attorney document to us despite the fact that it was received there a week ago is the knowledge that PGN (and, I would imagine, family court as well) is on their holiday slowdown, and we wouldn't be moving even if all our paperwork was satisfactorily in Guatemala (I say this with apologies to my friends who ARE in PGN. I hope you get the one mythical reviewer who doesn't believe in Christmas. There are Jews in Guatemala, you know.)


But the boy I cannot help thinking of as my son (not yet, Art, not yet) is in Guatemala and so I am impatient, impatient, impatient.

Does anyone know if Family Court takes the same vacation as PGN?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

In which I gaze at my widening virtual navel (& photo friday on sunday)

For me thanksgiving is all about the Food and the Family (F is for... ) We go to my cousin's house, have a delicious meal (eat way too much - I wish I could do a 48 hour square bolus for thanksgiving) and enjoy seeing relatives I don't get to see often enough. When I was younger, I found the whole family thing overwhelming and stifling, but I think I've mellowed and my family has mellowed as well.

Baked Brie

I made a baked brie (world's simplest appetizer: take frozen puff pastry sheets, defrost. I was supposed to roll them out but I forgot and it turned out fine. Place wheel of brie in center of frozen puff pastry sheet. Top with canned organic whole berry cranberry sauce or the preserves of your choice. Fold puff pastry sheet around brie. Top with second puff pastry sheet. Brush with egg yolk and milk. Bake on cookie sheet at 400 for 10 minutes and 350 for 30-40 minutes until brown. Listen to your family admire you.)

I also baked two really kick ass pies, which I forgot to photograph before my family demolished them. The pecan pie recipe in particular is mind-blowing. I upped the pecans a bit (two cups) and toasted them lightly. Oh, and I used the Pâte brisée recipe from Joy of Cooking for the crust. Make sure to freeze the butter beforehand, and use ice water and crust-making is Not That Hard.

The F is for Family pictures are friends-only on flickr. Make me a flickr-friend and I will surely reciprocate, unless you're George Bush.

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a lovely thanksgiving. I enjoy the idea of a holiday for giving thanks. I try to avoid thinking about its nasty imperialist origins and stay away from the pilgrim hats and cartoon native americans. I'm thankful for Pili and for the family we are making together. I'm thankful for my family of origin, who love and support us, and for my family of choice, who sustain us. And, I'm thankful for the internet and for the virtual communities I've found on it. Which brings me to my virtual navel gazing (widening thanks to those thanksgiving pies)...

When I first started my blogroll, I thought a fair bit about how I was going to set it up. I deliberately didn't want to differentiate between people who were coming to parenting through adoption and people who were trying to get pregnant, or who were pregnant.

I didn't want to differentiate between queer families trying to conceive and non-queer folks who were also trying to get themselves knocked up. I didn't want to draw a line between new moms (plural) getting frustrated that their kid wasn't interested in the boob and new moms (singular) getting similarly frustrated. I wanted you to click on a link and maybe have it take you somewhere you wouldn't go intentionally - but where you might discover an ally you wouldn't have expected to have. Along the same lines, I haven't separated out people with type 1 vs. people with type 2 vs. parents of kids with diabetes. By not putting people in boxes, I hoped, as grandiose as it sounds, and it sounds plenty grandiose to me, to help break down the edges of some of those boxes a bit. I'm not sure if that's worked.

On the other hand, sharing categories has helped me to see what I share with people whom I might otherwise, honestly, have a) never gotten to know, and b) never given a chance, without the shared fact of diabetes or adoption or both to bring us together. And I am (once again) thankful for that.

Oh, and by the way, Andrea has had a bunch of really interesting posts about breaking down boundaries in the blogworld. Read them and realize that she is a far more thoughtful human being and a better writer than I am. Also, I'm linking to every single post because, there doesn't seem to be a category for these posts. And there should be!

Right now I have blogs on my blogroll that are marked private. This is not because I am deliberately keeping things from you, but mostly because listing them as public would make my blogroll very long and unwieldy - whenever I find a blog that looks interesting, that I might someday want to come back to, I try to subscribe to it. And I also have a number of blogs that I don't know how to categorize - firstmoms writing about their experiences, friends in real life, cooking blogs, etc. etc. There are um, over 500 blogs on my bloglines account. And no, I don't read them all every day. I just collect blogs the way some people collect pets or precious moments figurines or shot glasses... Yes, I feel a little sheepish about this.

And by the way, if your blog gives you the option to publish an rss feed - please, please do it. I am just too damn lazy to go in and update my html every time I find a new blog. Much easier to let bloglines do it for me. This is why the wonderful ladies at babycakes are not on my blogroll, damnit.

So the question: should I reorganize? do you want more categories? fewer categories? what do I do with people who fall into multiple categories?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Here's your opportunity to run off at the mouth

For all of you parents out there who felt thwarted by the "please don't tell my life is going to change" command in the previous post...

We have been thinking about the possibility that a Real Baby may enter our lives sometime in the not too distant future. This means that some Real Baby Stuff will need to enter our lives. There are some things I strongly suspect we can live without, and you already know I have a penchant for silly baby clothing but what do We Really Need? I know I've seen some good lists on people's blogs, but of course now I can't seem to locate them. Keep in mind that GB will probably be at least six months old when he comes home, but we'll visit before that.

Pili seems to think that we need a copy of "what to expect the first years" but I've heard scary things about it. Book recommendations?

Come on. I know you have opinions.

Friday, November 17, 2006

We now return you...

to your regular photo friday edition. But not without first saying Thank You Thank You Thank You for all your wonderful Guatebaby comments. We are definitely saving those for the baby book. "Look sweetie chubbycheeks, lots of people in the internet love you. And we do too. night-night"

On that note. E is for...

E is for...

Early Morning. Actually, I was just going to bed.

Those of you who are already parents, please resist the urge to tell me how much my life is going to change in a few months, okay?

After a night of intense conversations about work-life-family-choices coming down the pike, and a stupid fight over baby names that really had more to do with the fact that we are both E for Exhausted, this is how I felt.

And how I felt

(I just have to note that viewed large in flickr these actually look kind of interesting. Even though they look like crap here.)

But I can't leave you without a little cuteness. So, behold the cats.

Kitty Headlock

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Details. You all want Details.

Warning, those prone to tears may want tissues close at hand.

At 4pm yesterday, my cell phone rang.

I didn't recognize the number, so I ignored it.

Then our home phone rang. This time the caller ID showed the name of GAL (Guatemala Agency Lady, for those just tuning in).

My heart crawled to a stop.

In my last email exchange with her, she had told us to hurry up with the documents we had to redo, that the boy list was moving fast.

On Monday, I emailed her a scanned copy of our I-171H (authorization from Homeland Insecurity to adopt from Guatemala).

On Tuesday, the phone rang.

She said she had a referral for us. I squealed, very loudly, rendering her temporarily deaf. She said that he was a cutie, healthy, and a Big Boy. She gave me the relevant details and said that she was emailing me photos. She told me his given name. His first name is the Spanish equivalent to my dad's name, and his middle name is the Spanish equivalent to Pili's brother's name (he will, however, remain Guatebaby on the internet, until I come up with a more clever psuedonym). A shiver went down my spine when I heard the name. I stammered out a few questions and then said I would look at the photos and talk to Pili and call her back.

I got off the phone. The lights flickered. Our power went off. And stayed off.

I was just about to go in search of an internet connection so that I COULD SEE THE DAMN PICTURES ALREADY when it came back on, about an hour later. Or maybe it just felt like an hour. The internet was cranky because the power had gone out and I had to restart my computer. Finally, I downloaded the pictures and stared at them, intensely.

I would be lying if I said it was total love at first sight. I looked at him, trying to feel a connection. I emailed the pictures to my parents, saying "He's kinda funny looking. But I guess that's to be expected." I tried to do some work, but I kept coming back to the pictures. Then all of a sudden, I looked at his little hands, and I could picture them in mine. And something clicked.

I started trying to call Pili. I knew that she was presenting at a really important meeting, and I didn't want to distract her before that. But afterwards, she was planning to go out to dinner with some friends. I called. And called. And called some more. I called a friend and asked her to drive around to check the restaurants where they might be eating, so that she could tell her to call me, NOW. No luck. In the meantime, I called my parents, and had my mom, who does early intervention work, look at the pictures and measurements. She pronounced him perfect.

(Actually, she said he was a genius, because he already has his hand open in one picture. I allow as how she might be slightly biased, given that she also said she was kissing the computer screen.)

I called Pili again. And again.

I walked around the house a bit and ate some ice cream for dinner. I called Pili. Again.

At 8:15, Pili called. She was driving home from work and wanted to know why I had called eighteen times when her phone was on vibrate (usually this means I am having a meltdown and need hand-holding).

I said, because I want you to come home and see pictures of your son.

What? You mean? Oh my... already?

She came home, and pronounced him beautiful, over and over again.

I fell in love with her even more, watching her fall in love with him.

We called GAL and accepted the referral.

Next Steps, greatly condensed: Pili completes more paperwork. GB and his mom have DNA testing done to make sure that they match. That's also the second time she signs off that she wants to relinquish him. While our hearts would be broken if she changed her mind, we would also be happy that something had changed to allow her to feel like she was able to parent. It's pretty unlikely, but it has happened in our agency, and that's part of why we chose them.

Then the mom is interviewed by a family court social worker. That interview and the DNA results go to the U.S. embassy so that the case can be pre-approved - i.e. the US govt agrees that this is an adoptable child. Then the file goes to PGN (the Guatemalan Attorney General's Office) where various bureaucrats scrutinize it for typos - I mean, signs of fraud. Depending on what happens - PGN can take from a month to a year or longer (we seriously hope this will not happen).

Once we have a DNA match, we can go visit - the agency has a guest house and the baby comes and stays with us there. In the meantime, we will get monthly photo and pediatrician updates, as well as photos taken by any other parents who are there for a visit/pick-up trip.

So hopefully, we'll go visit in Jan/Feb, and then pick-up sometime in March/April/May... We can't wait.

Any further questions?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Meet Guatebaby

(knock wood, ptut, ptut, ptut, etc.)

Guatebaby II


He's a big boy.
20.5" long.
Absolutely adorable.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Photo Friday: D is for...

Diabetes Scars

Testing 1, 2

... Diabetes.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Five Truths and...

I have never been a competitive race walker.

Unless you count being lapped by 90 year old ladies as competitive.

And I don't mean the kind of 90 year old ladies who are cover models for Prevention magazine. I mean the ones who can't make it all the way around the mall without stopping for coffee. Twice.

I am: hopelessly confused by right and left, neurotic about being followed while driving, and a devoted stick shift driver. I have always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail, and violence of any kind in movies makes me hide my eyes and squeal.

Oh, and Kassie? this is the most eminently squeezable Chuzzle. I must say, you bloggy-ladies make/adopt some awfully cute kiddos.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blogging the D

As I mentioned a few posts ago, November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

Today is "D-blogger day". Our goal on this day is to spread awareness through our blogs about what life with diabetes is like. Instead of writing something new, I'd like to share an essay I wrote in high school. I've learned a lot and experienced a lot since then, and later this week, I'll reflect on that.

Let me give you a little girl. She is ten, of average height and slightly subnormal weight; she is sitting in a parked car, in a supermarket parking lot. It is a Food Emporium supermarket, and she is crying wildly. Wildly: sputtering, phlegmy, gasping grabbing at her arms, her eyes, her legs, the beige upholstery of the car. Wildly: shrieking in a long thin metal tone so that her lungs clog and close and she gulps air in sobs and falls back exhausted. She is ten and while she is thinking that nothing will ever be the same again it is already not the same. It is already not the same because the reason she is even in this car, staring at the beige walls that stay resolutely the same despite the fact that everything is already not the same, the reason is that her father has just gone into the Food Emporium supermarket to buy diet ice cream which he thinks she can eat.

Tomorrow or the next day she will go into the hospital to learn to give herself insulin shots. They have just come from the doctor's office.

In the hospital they make her drink five pitchers of water a day. She imagines that she feels the water flowing through her like a caustic. She tries not to drink it, but they tell her that if she doesn't, they'll have to give her an I.V. She tries pouring it down the toilet when the nurse isn't watching, but it doesn't matter because every time it is emptied they refill it automatically, and she has to drink the new pitcher in addition. They give her menus for meals, but all the good things are crossed out. The most appetizing thing she sees is the orange they make her use to practice giving shots.

She has just turned eleven, and her mother has finally given her permission to sleep over at her best friend's house. They arrive at six, and her mother goes up, "just to say hi." At ten o'clock, she notices that her mother and her friend's mother, never the best of friends, have run out of things to talk about, but her mother is still sitting there, perched uncomfortably on the edge of their couch. Then it is eleven o'clock, and her mother tells her that she has to test her blood sugar before she (her mother) will leave. She tests. It is one-hundred. Too low, her mother says. Her mother takes her home.

The same year, she goes away to camp. Her parents want her to go to a special camp for kids with diabetes, but she refuses. In her mind she sees lots of children lined up in two rows, like Madeline in the books she loved when she was four. The difference is that these children are all giving themselves insulin shots, in a perfect simultaneous union. When they finish they turn away from each other. They have nothing else in common.

At camp, she delights in the fact that the nurse knows little about diabetes and is intimidated by big words like "hypoglycemia." She works very hard at being very normal. She asks her counselor to wake her up early so that she can get to the infirmary before anyone else wakes up, but the nurse isn't willing to wake up that early. She changes her insulin so that she can eat what everyone else is eating. Her parents send her measuring cups but she leaves them in the box. She doesn't care about her blood sugars.

Second session, camp. She wants to go on an Appalachian Trail hike. She has to teach the hike leaders how to give insulin to an orange. She smiles a little when they cringe. On the hike, she has to stop and test her blood sugar a lot. She is surprised that people don't make fun of her. They get to the top of mountain number one, and she pulls out the ever present testing strips. (It will be a joke, later, how those strips turn up everywhere. One girl reports finding one in her underwear.) One-sixty. Perfect. She puts the strips away and scrambles up to the top of the fire-tower with everyone else and wonders if there has ever been a diabetic who did the whole Appalachian Trail, or if she could be the first one. I think you should know now, even though she has not yet realized it, that she has learned something important. From now on, she will not let diabetes stop her from doing anything she would have done otherwise.

When she is fifteen, and in ninth grade, she gives a speech about diabetes to her biology class. A girl, call her Kim, comes up to her afterwards. "I never even knew you had diabetes."

“I know," she says. "I like it that way." Kim is puzzled. "Why do you want to hide it?" she asks.

"I don't hide it," she says. "If I had to test my blood sugar in class I would. But why is it the most important thing you should know about me?" She watches Kim's face until comprehension falls across it.

The summer after ninth grade she spends living with a family in Honduras. At their first meal she has to explain, in her (very) limited Spanish, why she is taking shots. Apparently, the exchange people neglected to mention this minor fact to her host family. It is very hot and her insulin bottles crack when she forgets to put them back in the fridge. She runs out of insulin and has to figure out how to convert her dosages to Honduran insulin (multiply by one-and-a-half, the Honduran insulin is weaker.) When she comes home, and people ask her if she had fun, she's not sure. But now she has begun to learn what we learned four years ago; that there is nothing she cannot do.

At sixteen, in tenth grade, she begins to volunteer for the American Diabetes Association and she works at their summer camp that summer. When oranges are served for lunch, the entire camp looks at them and laughs. She looks around at all these people laughing and realizes that she is not alone.

Now we come to the now, where I will release her - give her to you. At this point she is seventeen, almost done with eleventh grade. Waiters in good restaurants stare at her when she, not necessarily discreetly, pulls up her sleeve and gives her shot. She smiles back at them, a wide smile that says, `I dare you. I dare you to ask, I dare you to challenge me in this.' The American Diabetes Association sends her to a national diabetes youth congress and the motto they are given is "I dare you."

“I dare you," the national chair tells them, "to do everything you can and let no one limit you. I dare you." Our girl - the one I am giving you - lets a small smile pull at her mouth. And so I give her to you. She is yours, to treat as you please. But I warn you, do not expect her to sit quietly and eat what she is given or do as she is told. Do not expect her to be limited. She will, I hope, continue to surprise you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Britney Spears Files for Divorce

Her second child was born less than two months ago.

And you idiots think that the only families worth protecting look like hers?

If you haven't already done so, vote today. And please, vote to protect my family.

If you have a respectful disagreement, I'm willing to hear it. Cowardly anonymous comments will be deleted posthaste.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Five or so Things

I have been tagged by Scott and Shannon to present five unusual facts about myself.

Although I am very tired from a whirlwind bloggy get-together in which I. Squeezed. The Chuzzle. I will comply, with a slight twist. I present to you: five truths and a lie. You decide - which is the lie?

  • I have a very hard time telling left and right apart and failed a driving test because of this.

  • I learned to drive on a stick shift (in New York City) and will never buy a car with an automatic transmission. I hate driving them.

  • I hate following or being followed by someone I know when I'm driving. I am terrified that they will get into an accident and I will see it happening and be unable to stop it. I often insist on giving people directions instead and come up with excuses for why they shouldn't follow me.

  • In high school, I was a competitive race-walker.. Picture a duck with a firecracker shoved up its behind.

  • I do karate but don't like watching martial arts movies.

  • I have always wanted to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

Which is the lie? Speak up! I tag... anyone who wants to do it.

I will second just about everyone in the OC and say YOU MUST GO TO THIS SITE IMMEDIATELY. I am torn looking at it, because it's absolutely incredible and at the same time it makes me want to kick myself because I've thought doing something very similar and of course I have never gotten off my big fat butt and done it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Photo Friday: C is for...

C is for...

C is for CHOCOLATE. Also for carton, almost empty. And carbs. The horrible thing about eating ice cream is that when the carton gets most of the way empty, it's more embarrassing to put it back in the freezer and have Pili say, with raised eyebrow, where did all the ice cream go? when she looks in the half almost empty container then it is to just finish it off and have the container go in the trash unnoticed.

In which case, B must be for bolus. (And in this case, alas, B is also for Breakfast.)

I think I want to do a project of a diabetes alphabet in pictures.

A = alcohol swabs
B = bolus, blood
C = carbs
D = diabetes (how to photograph that? Or perhaps D = depression?)
E = exercise
F = fat (? again how to photograph - a stick of butter?)
G = glucose tabs
H = hate it (!) HBA1C
I = insulin, injection, infusion site

To be continued... your suggestions welcome.

And just because I know you knew I couldn't resist:

C is also for...

C is for...

Cat. Close-up. Cute. Cuddly.

All Four, II

Cats. All four of them. On the bed. At one time.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I read it for the articles

New Reading Material for the RE's waiting room?

"Most downloaded woman" Cindy Marg@lis has posed for Playb@y at age 40 in order to raise awareness of infertility and the beauty of the older woman. (And, I dare say, to raise some other things as well.)

More here.

I predict that REs all over the country will be snatching up this issue to stock their "specimen collection rooms."

p.s. I gather that CM did this (CM: infertile and TTC types, what do those letters mean to you? Not Cindy M*rgolis, that's for shure. Give me a C! Give me an M! Give me Spinnbarkeit or give me death!) for Infertility Awareness Week, which is this week. Thanks, I'm aware now. Interestingly, November is also National Adoption Awareness Week. Coinkydink? What do you think?

p.p.s. Turns out November is a busy month. It also happens to be National Diabetes Awareness Month. Why are they pussyfooting around here, folks? Infertility, adoption, diabetes... Why don't they just go ahead and proclaim November National Art-Sweet Awareness Month?