Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

Lots has been going on since I last wrote. Christmas is my favorite time of year. It is also my busiest time at work. Non-profits are always thankful for the charitable feeling people have around the holidays.

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving. My family is very close and we get together often. It is always loud and lots of fun. We drove to Arkansas on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to visit my Uncle Bob. My mother's brother and sister from Memphis were also there. Uncle Bob has prostate cancer and is having surgery in December. We really enjoyed our visit. Please remember Uncle Bob in your prayers.

The trip there wasn't so great though. Grace is a champion traveler. She has been on countless flights and long road trips. The drive to Mountain Home, through the Missouri bootheel and north Arkansas, was terrible. The roads are curvy, hilly and mostly two lanes. Poor little Grace got carsick. She threw up four times (once in my face). She was so pitiful and it was so hard to leave her in the carseat. She was fine once we arrived. I got baby Dramamine for the trip home and she did fine.

I am thankful for so many family, my health, my friends. All the things most people treasure. I am also thankful for many small things. I am thankful that:

Grace can help me dress her. It has made life much nicer.

Grace is such a good eater. I can usually find her something to eat wherever we go.

Grace loves books. She is constantly bringing me a book to read and likes to sit by the bookshelf and look through her books.

Grace will be spending her first Christmas at home!! Vietnam was great, but I got really sick of Sandy Beach Danang and that Christmas tree on the second floor.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Lost Pumpkin Photos

I realized that I hadn't posted our impromptu visit to the pumkin farm. Grace and I were on the way to the mall for a day of shopping with my nieces Kristan and Kayla. On the way to the mall there is this farm called Green Acres; they raise strawberries in the Spring and pumpkins in the fall. We thought it would be fun to take Grace. She had her squeaky shoes on that day and it made a hilarious video. Green Acres is right beside the highway so there is a lot of background noise.

Friday, November 09, 2007

This was originally a comment left on my friend Kelly's blog. Kelly's post seemed to stir people up. I weighed in on the subject a little late. Since I am fairly opinionated, I want to make sure everyone knows how I feel about things. I left this comment on Kelly's blog. Please go back and read her original post. She says some important things very eloquently.

Kelly and I have gone through this journey together. I traveled to Vietnam with she and her husband. We met Lucy and Gracie at the same time. Obviously I also used VORF. I also changed from another agency, one who FORGOT to put me on the list when I recieved my 171. There are many reasons, personal reasons, why a person may switch agencies. I am glad I did. When we had our CIS interview in HCMC the interviewer commented on how ethical and together VORF is.

When we were in Vietnam Kelly and I met families with extremely young infants, families with very sick babies, families who had no idea about physicals or appointments. Agencies provide you with a list of references in your application packet. CONTACT THEM. If you don't get references with contact info MOVE ON and find another agency.

Yes we got quick referrals because it was a new agency. VORF only started facilitating adoptions in Jan 06. Prior to that they were strictly a huminatrian agency working to make things better in Vietnam. However they hired a very experienced facilitator and in country rep. Check out their website to see the fantastic things they do in Vietnam.

I began my journey to Grace in Jan 06 when agencies were just being liscensed. During that entire year, until I held her in my arms, I was terrified that corrupt practices would again close Vietnam adoptions. Remember those families who received referrals just before Vietnam ceased adoptions? I read their blogs as they were slowly receiving travel approval. That broke my heart. All that heartache because some people didn't want to follow the rules.

Those people completely disregard everyone else when they make unethical decisions. What about the babies that were crowding the orphanages during the period when adoptions halted? There were growing older. People don't request older kids. The orphanages were full. Were all children take care of? Orphanage workers could only do so much and with no adoptions, monetary support for the orphanages must have severely decreased. Less money and more children...a problem caused by selfish people.

In closing, the only story about her abandonment that I have to pass on to Grace is the one that I was told. Is it suspect? Maybe. But that is the history I have to give her. That and little Lucy sleeping in the cradle beside her.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Aunt Rachel's Birthday

My great Aunt Rachel turned ninety and we celebrated with a huge bash in Chicago. I was so excited because I haven't seen her in four years. I used to fly to Chicago a couple of times a year until she moved to Wisconsin. Travel became a little more complicated then.

I have to tell you Aunt Rachel is the most amazing person you could ever imagine. She and her husband moved from TN to Chicago during the Great Depression to find work. Her husband died when she was in her 50s. After that she decided to get her GED. Then she graduated from college. After college she began traveling. Most of her trips were with Elderhostel.

She has stayed on a sheep farm in New Zealand, she was in Poland when Communism fell, she has worked at an excavation site in Mexico. You name it she has done it, she has been everywhere. Except for Vietnam. That is the one place she always wanted to visit and never got to. She was so excited to meet my little angel from Vietnam. There is another reason she was excited. Grace is named after my lovely grandmother who I adored. Gracie and Aunt Rachel were sisters with a very close bond. Here is Gracie from Vietnam meeting her great, great Aunt Rachel. Grace really liked those pretty pearls.

Is she doing yoga?? Cobra pose?? In a dress??

Exercise is done and it's time to get up and socialize some more.

Grace found a great new friend in her cousin Dan. Dan is Aunt Rachel's son and he is the kind of guy that kids always love. Grace was no exception. Dan made her laugh and smile. He also gave her juice. Juice means alot to her.

Grace and her Pappy. He is always there to encourage a funny face.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Happy Halloween

Okay I am running a little behind. We have just gotten home from a long weekend in Chicago. More on that later.

I had a hard day at work on Halloween. Therefore Grace only visited Aunt Becky, Aunt Terri and her grandparents. I figured she will only remember it in pictures. Sadly I did not get the best pictures. She wouldn't stop running so most are blurred. Terri said that she has some great ones so maybe all is not lost. It was very sweet, everyone had bought her favorites. She got raisins, peaches, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, etc. Here is my little fairy.