Wednesday, July 30, 2008
One time LG got lost in Sears at the mall. He was about 3 or 4 at the time, and it was just like they say. I had he and his brother right by my side as I was checking out new clothes for them for the school year. They were bored to death, and not giving me a moments peace. I was concentrating on the sizes on the rack for oh, say, 30 seconds and I looked down and he was gone. NG was right there too and he did not even see him disappear. We frantically searched the area briefly, and then I immediately went to customer service and reported it. I was already completely panicked and fighting it, and the staff certainly was not moving fast enough for my satisfaction. It was a huge effort to keep my voice and my actions under some semblance of control. They radioed each other all over the store, and I said I was going looking. They formed a posse too and we started spreading out, them talking on their radios with that look of concern on their faces. I'm sure my features were completely distorted by the panic I felt inside. The more we searched the more my feelings escalated. It took everything I had to not completely freak out. The rational part of me told myself that little boys do these sorts of things sometimes. I know because I had 3 little brothers and the youngest did this exact thing to my mother once in Mervyns department store. Still, the other part of me was eyeing the exits and wondering which one the pervert escaped from with my kid!
I sensed him before I really saw him. My peripheral vision caught his movement thru the clothing racks (pint size, about 3 feet tall) before I really caught him in my eyesight. I turned around and actually chased this slight vision I had caught, came around a corner, and there he was walking towards me with tears streaming down his face. We were far from where we started. Needless to say our shopping trip was over. We went out into the mall and he sat on my lap (which he had not wanted to do for some time) and he cried and I cried and even his 9 year old brother cried with relief. I asked him why he did it. He was just playing, and he thought he could find his way back. He was wrong. He got lost. Now he is 15 and I still have to watch his over-calculation of his abilities without undermining his confidence. It's a tight-rope. You never want to revisit this feeling, but when you are raising kids, there is no guarantee.
The cops searched the building at bio-science. I wondered if they had thought to go look at her car. I wondered if he'd gotten upset with his job and decided to quit and was waiting it out at the car. I drove to the deck where she parks and found her car. He was not there. I got caught in a down pour and came back looking like a wet rat. I did not care. I was fighting that panicked feeling by keeping busy. Also, I was praying. Constantly. This did eventually relieve my panic because after about 45 minutes of it, this feeling of peace came over me. I somehow knew he was all right. But I was also feeling impatient because how in the world does a 16 year old kid responsible enough to hold a job get lost??? Now I was praying for his deliverance. Finally at 5 pm, I decided to make a quick trip home, feed the dogs, change my clothes and come back. Angie had called saying she was coming back to our office now to wait, and that she was not leaving campus until they found him. I told her I would be back. Lynda, my assistant manager was there with her. We had no real plan except to just hang together. I was getting exasperated with the authorities, and I'm sure Angie was beyond that. At 6:30 I was driving back (in another torrential downpour---the flash flood type) when Lynda called to say the police had found him! He had been locked in a computer lab for 6 hours. It was the last day of finals for summer session and parts of campus were preparing to shut down for the next 2 1/2 weeks. Computer theft is a problem, and so they were locking it up tight for the shut-down. He managed to email his way out of there. That's how they found him. It was hard to remember personal email addresses, but he finally got hold of someone in Housing. It still took nearly 6 hours. Still, now he is safe and sound, and it's all good.
Aves and I were talking about the need to advocate for our children when we were in Haiti last month. All children, not just minority children need our advocacy. Angie had to press the supervisor to get the police involved. They probably did not want anyone to know that someone unauthorized had a set of state keys on his person. On the other hand, they had lost a set of state keys which is definitely not good. So they were in a bind. I know she would have gotten the police involved regardless. I remembered to say a prayer of thanks. God is faithful. He told me Nick was OK, and I believed Him. I was impatient for deliverance. I guess I need to work on that.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Butterflies on the brain....
Finally, I get outside to let the dogs do their thing! I was engrossed!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
As a student of Interior Design, there are certain very important questions about the adoption process that haunt me. Such as, how am I going to do the girl's room? I knew what colors I wanted to use. I felt I needed a theme. One day early last spring I saw these storage boxes, and I knew I had found it.
The pink fabric is some heavy-duty cotton/linen I picked up from fabric.com late last winter for their duvet covers, at $1.99 a yard, and 90" wide, so it was a true bargain. My other anchor color is a light apple green (not sure of the real name, since I bought a gallon of it---Sherwin Williams---at the flea market for $3.00) I was not planning on incorporating blue into the scheme, but after finding these boxes, I knew I had to find a way, so I will. I also will be using the botanicals, as I have lots of those kinds of prints and want to get them out of my living room. I have so much to do before I actually get to that point it's ridiculous. I have to move my son out of the room he's in now, and I'm working on getting his new space ready. That is another feat in itself. Interior design is really about working with space. The decorating is just the icing on the cake. So I am grateful to be putting my education to the test. When it is all said and done, this place will hopefully be a study in efficient, tiny house living. That will probably last for one day after the girls get home. But I will be sure to get the pictures for the one perfect day!
At any rate, about "papillon". I know butterflies are very overdone right now, but they hold so much meaning for we humans that are amazed by them, they are irresistible. And universal. I took a card of inexpensive earrings with me to Haiti last month, that had 3 sets of butterflies, and some matching crystal posts. I thought the girls would go for the crystals, but immediately W said "papillion!" and picked out the pair she wanted. She wore them the entire time. Sadly, I tried to put a pair in L's ears, but her piercings had healed. I think she already knew that, because when I could not make it happen for her, she just accepted it. W also ran across the hall to give another pair of butterfly earrings to Mim, who also wore hers the entire time.
It confirmed in my mind I had made the right choice about my theme!
In Culture (Wikipedia)
"Artistic depictions of butterflies have been used in many cultures including Egyptian hieroglyphics 3500 years ago. Today, butterflies are widely used in various objects of art, and have inspired the "butterfly fairy" as an art and fictional character. "
"According to the “Butterflies” chapter in Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, by Lafcadio Hearn, a butterfly is seen as the personification of a person's soul; whether they be living, dying, or already dead.
The Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi once had a dream of being a butterfly flying without care about humanity, however when he woke up and realised it was just a dream, he thought to himself "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"
In some old cultures, butterflies also symbolize rebirth into a new life after being inside a cocoon for a period of time."
That just about says it all. This is a perfect symbol for our family.
One of the most difficult things about art school that you have to get over in a hurry, is critiquing. Your work, along with everyone else's is put up on a regular basis for comments. I would say that most of the time it was edifying, and once I got over my initial fears, it was extremely beneficial. Also, you learn alot because you are looking at other people's work as well, and oddly, it teaches you to be autonomous in your art. You learn you have a voice. The instructor always gave the last comments. One time she told me (after looking at one of my pieces) that cultural icons, like "hearts"--- and also used the example of flowers---were best left alone because they were so universal it was difficult to do them well, or to make a statement. I would assume she also meant things like butterflies. I have to say, this is one time I would have to take issue. If no one ever attempted to depict these things in art, what a colorless and unimaginative place we would live in!
But, I will not be buying a ton of "butterfly" accessories for this project. I do find much of that stuff to be sorta garish. I have decided instead to do a mural. I will keep you posted on that. I'm pushing my timeline on all of this, so you can expect it to be done right around the time they come home!
Friday, July 18, 2008
- There are perverts out there that could use this information in evil ways
- ABC has done a decent job of presenting a factual picture, however, their reporting is biased and aimed at selling (therefore sensationalizing) their story. For instance in segment one, they don't let the viewer know that it would be almost impossible for ANYONE to get a child out of Haiti without the proper paperwork, and there are actually enough safeguards in place between the Haitian government and the Embassies to prevent that. They also do not present the fact that the "seller" could EASILY take the "buyers" money and run. And probably would. They love Americans. Naive and rich.
- Still, there is much truth in the report, especially in the second and third segment, and it is very hard to watch.
- I'm not sure if this story was meant to portray the Haitians badly or not. If so, that is not a fair portrayal. There is evil everywhere, just as there is good everywhere. I am not defending the evil in this situation; it is indefensible. What is always amazing to me in Haiti is how much good you will also see despite the circumstances. Most of us cannot comprehend this level of poverty and desperation.
I read the comments sent in by viewers, to ABC after this was aired on Nightline. Most Americans were ignorant of this situation, and most wanted to help but had no idea how to go about it. Many seemed to be extremely shocked. Some came to the realization of how blessed we really are. Many asked about adoption and did not have a clue on how to get started. A few very naive and judgemental comments concerning women's rights (lack of knowledge of lack there of), birth control, UNICEF and the UN, and of course, the anti-adoption folks, to me the most unrealistic of all. There were many requests for ABC to do a follow up story.The story was presented in 3 parts:
This was very difficult for me to watch. I know that the Haitians do love their children. There is not a quick fix for Haiti; the problems are complex and will not be solved overnight. More than ever I respect my Haitian children's parent (s) for making the best decision about the girls that they could under the circumstance. I know that when the adoption is finalized, I will not be done in Haiti. The best way to help is to educate. Educate us. Educate the Haitians so they can break free from this captivity of poverty and sickness and hopelessness. I know that sounds simplistic, perhaps even idealistic, but that is the best place to start in my opinion.
The reason I decided to post this story anyway? Dysfunction thrives under silence. If this reaches just one person who decides to help even in a small way, I would consider it progress.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Since I have been back from my trip, I have felt renewed in a number of ways:
To make new or as if new again; restore: renewed the antique chair.
To take up again; resume: renew an old friendship; renewed the argument.
To regain or restore the physical or mental vigor of; revive: I renewed my spirits in the country air.
To replenish: renewed the water in the humidifier.
To bring into being again; reestablish.
To become new again.
To start over.
This is very significant to me. Life lately has been very difficult, especially the past year. Some of these things I've blogged about, *ad nauseaum* (adoption woes), some I've have touched on, and one thing in particular I have not mentioned at all. It concerns my job and all that drama, and probably deserves a blog all it's own. You know, one I would name after a particularly heinous soap opera. It would not be an exaggeration. But even that situation is becoming resolved, and after years of dysfunction and strife, my job is beginning to resemble a place of employment as opposed to a never-ending, drama producing, production retardant black hole. But I digress.
My house, my home and garden, has fallen by the wayside under all this pressure. And I have struggled with that, but most of the time did not have any energy left to do much about it, which produced frustration on top of frustration. I could not understand what was wrong with me. It just seemed that all I could do was survive. Besides the job drama and the adoption (that should be enough) my personal situation and the not-yet blogged about-aftermath took a huge toll. I would eek out some effort or a project here and there, and then everything would fall into disarray again. I have never liked to clean, but I love a clean house, and I have always managed to keep it together. Things got so bad I considered hiring someone to help me come in and sort the junk and get organized, like they do on HGTV, but I was just too embarrassed to do that. And I was afraid with my state of mind I would not be able to maintain it. Plus, I knew somewhere deep down inside me, I had what it takes to get 'er done, but somehow I just couldn't.
At this point you may be thinking "go to the doctor and get some meds!"...I am all for getting medication when you need it, but I fear we live in an over-prescribed society. What I was going thru, I felt, needed to be dealt with cold-turkey. I was right about that. As I have said previously, the past year has been about a very close, right-under-His-wing, walk with the Lord. (That being said, I did find out over the past year I do have a chronic auto-immune problem that has likely been a contributing factor. And that is being addressed with medication.)
So, somehow, finally, I have been renewed. Maybe not completely healed, but on the up-side! Getting there. You know what I really hate? How much junk mail we receive, on a daily basis. It's ridiculous. I had let it pile up, along with the regular mail. I mean, really let it pile up. It was all mixed in together. So Saturday afternoon, my project was to go thru this mess in an attempt to get my dining room table and my life back. It took several hours, and I burned up my shredder (R.I.P.) but it was completely worth it. My dining room table looks awesome, my mind started organizing my next project, and this is what I found, in the all that mess:
My economic stimulus check from the Feds
Gift cards to Lowes, Starbucks, and Earth Fair (whole foods store)
Total value: $990.00
I am going to tell you the truth. I sat down and laughed and cried at the same time.
So, why am I posting this awful confession? What's wrong with me?
Because I'm doing my best to keep it real. This has been a huge issue for me. So many of us hide ---SOMETHING---in our attempts to *look good*. We hide our shame. It's a house of cards, I can assure you. But when you find almost $1000.00 in a pile of junk mail, well, there is just so much material there to think about!
I am very grateful about finding this stuff, of course. But more than that, I am grateful for the gift of renewal. And that trumps pride.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
- Little girls in Haiti prefer to wear dresses and skirts over and above everything else. Forget about those cute little short outfits, or pants.
- Little girls in Haiti (and everywhere, I suppose) love hair products...lotions, combs, scarves, bows, headbands...anything to do with hair.
- Little girls in Haiti can braid with lightning speed!
- Just because little kids in Haiti have very little English does not mean they don't understand what you are saying.
- Little girls in our Haitian orphanage can jump rope anyone under the table!
- Old Navy is having a killer sale on all their summer dresses right now!
- If you think you may be making a trip to Haiti in the wintertime, where it is still warm and tropical, better stock up on summer supplies NOW before they are all gone...i.e. swim rings and floaties, clothing, flip flops...
- If your adoptive children are lucky enough to be receiving any kind of education while still in Haiti, it will be different than what we are used to in North America or Europe.
- If your children are older, in terms of education you may have to back up to go forward. There are likely a variety of developmental steps that they have not learned. It appears that if they are of normal intelligence, or above that, they will pick these things up quickly and move on to the next step.
- I just purchased two scholastic workbooks for Kindergarten and First Grade for my 8 year old daughter. This appears to be the level we need to work at and hopefully master before she begins in our public school system.
- In my adoption circle of "friends", I find that the referrals made to our families, whether by our choice, or by others, are remarkably well matched. This is one of the consistent miracles of adoption.
- If you put hairspray or anything else on your hair while in Port-au-Prince, it will mostly serve as a magnet for grime.
- If you color your hair, and then wash it in Port-au-Prince, it will look completely different than it does at home. Chemical reaction upon chemical reaction (with the water, I suppose).
- Make up will not stay on your face. Forget about it.
- My skin broke out after I came home. 3 weeks later I am still fighting with it.
- Take some kind of astringent to clean the grime off your face. You will feel better and you may unclog your pores. I forgot mine.
- DO NOT forget your sunscreen!
- The sun starts to come up around 4:30am and goes down around 5:30pm in Port-au-Prince, and that is at the summer solstice.
- One of the most beautiful forms of communication in Haiti is singing.
- It is a whole lot more fun to travel with friends than alone.
- Don't be too hard on yourself if you have a meltdown while in Haiti. It is not unusual. And, that's what friends are for!
- Your adoptive child may or may not want or need to regress. Try to think about it this way...they obviously missed something, maybe many things, along the way. Or, they may want to grow up and move on, but don't know how.
- Is it an oxymoron to have a Haitian child that is a picky eater?
- W has grown 1/2" and gained 2 and 1/2" overall in the year she has been at the O.
- L has grown 2 and 1/2" and gained 3 and 1/2" overall in the year she has been at the O.
- They were somewhat gaunt in their referral pictures, taken 18 months ago. Now they are not. They are still small, to be sure.
- Wounds can heal, but they may leave scars.
- Scars can lessen. Wounds and scars tend to heal faster for children.
- Scars are not always necessarily bad. They can make us interesting if we can integrate them, learn to live with them.
- I have fallen in love with Haiti and her people and many things about the Haitian culture.
- This is a strange passion shared worldwide by certain people. You know 'em when you meet them. It crosses all divides: political, cultural, religious.
I'm using this statue I bought as an analogy of my reflections of 'scars'. If you look closely, you will see a line in the torso of the woman. It is not supposed to be there; it is a scar. For some unknown reason, L decided to take this statue and pound it against the tile to see how much of a pounding it could take. I suspect not much. (I had my back turned for 60 seconds---big mistake) I could freak out and think it was symbolic of her, even take it personally, but I really just think it was the wound-up action of an excitable 5 year old, that does not always understand the consequences of her actions. Typically, W couldn't wait to show me the damage, and act out exactly how it happened for my benefit. This entire scenario reminded me so much of me and my sister, growing up. These girls are so much like us in personality, it almost scares me! My little sister was always doing these kinds of crazy things and I could never understand it. But, we just had different mindsets and personalities, which were ultimately completely compatible, and we turned out fine.
The consequence was that L knew I was angry about what she had done, and she laid on the floor and cried and I let her, for a few minutes. I put on my Big Bad Mama Bear voice, and asked her why did she do this? I stepped around her for a bit and went about my business.(Oh! Big Bad Mama Bear!) I wanted her to know it was not OK with me. I also wanted her to know it was not the end of the world, and I was not going to love her any less. I don't know if she was actually remorseful or upset that I was angry with her, but then I picked her up, and gave her a hug, and she quit crying and we went on about our evening. Sometimes a language barrier can be a benefit. Does this signify deeper issues, or is she just a normal, smart, albeit somewhat hyper little child? Time will tell. But since there is no way for me to know right now, I'm not going to over-worry myself. The statue now serves as a reminder to me that all of us, including our children, have scars. I don't believe that any child of adoption can come out of that experience unscathed. But I do believe they can heal. I believe it is our job to love them. It is our job to facilitate the healing.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I took these of photos on July 16, 2007, in the kitchen at the O. Almost exactly one year later and Wil is finally coming home! Hurray! Dreams do come true! I know Wil's Mama must be excited and relieved. I can never thank her enough for being there (a lucky accident if there is such a thing) at the same time I made my first trip to Haiti---showing me around, and showing me the ropes! I am just so excited and happy for them and their entire family!!!
Monday, July 7, 2008
All three of these things have proved to be true. The added benefits are that it looks better than I could have ever dreamed it would, and it cleans up like a dream. And it is corgi proof!
However, with no sealer on it, it got dirty way too fast. My next step is to put a hard finish on it, although maybe only one coat. I sort of like the soft patina it has taken on, and I don't want it to look like a hospital floor. That will be after my knees heal: they are raw after my perfectionist hunt for all specks of dirt prior to putting down the sealer!
Not putting the sealer down also slightly changed the coloration of the tile. A years worth of traffic kind of sinking into that composite surface, I guess. I found this out because I am getting ready to install a new counter top, sink, and finally add a dishwashing machine, which I have never had in this house! The counter top that I chose based on my leftover tile samples did not exactly match up with the real floor. So I continue to ponder the counter top issue, and will keep you posted. Normally I would post all this house stuff on my other blog but in reality, the adoption, and the progress that has been made there, and the sudden movement of our files has jolted me into reality. They are coming home. I live in a very small house, and adding two more people to it is going to be challenging. So making it as efficient as possible is a priority. I still have alot of things to do around here before the girls get here. I think many of us on this road get entrenched in a survival mode, our biggest fear being, "Will they really ever come home?". For me, one of the ways I manifest my fear was by not working very hard on things I needed to get done. I almost felt like I was tempting fate, although I know in my heart God's blessings are bigger than that. It has been and continues to be a struggle of faith. Everything came into clear view however, on my recent trip. And so now I am very, very busy!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I just remembered this. I read a scripture today before I left for work, and this is what it was:
"Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Mark 9:23
I don't always remember to read before I leave for the day, but it was a rough morning, and I just picked that one, randomly.
Hang in there buddy.