Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Things I Learned Over Christmas Vacation

I love learning new things - how to tile, traits of different kinds of animals, cultures of other countries, history, etc., but I'm not real keen on life lessons. I've learned some interesting things over the last month, some were fun, some not so much. Since I like being organized, here's a list:
1. Beatles Rock Band is the funnest game ever. It is way better than Guitar Hero and it is more family friendly.
2. My sister has a hidden talent for drumming (fake Beatles Rock Band drumming). She is really good. We never take out the drums because they are drudgery. But she loved them. Personally, I'm good with the Bass. I can play medium level on Beatles (yay!).
3. I love singing Beatles songs. Okay, I actually always knew that, but now I have a microphone that sends my mediocre voice across my whole living room! Twist and Shout...
4. No this isn't all about a Beatles video game. I learned about animals too. Our new cat is quirky. We found her hiding under our car around the same time Verona passed away. My son burst into tears everytime we mentioned the animal shelter, so she stayed. (She also was the beneficiary of shots and an operation). I have a sneaking suspicion that she is not really a kitten, but just a tiny, runty cat. She doesn't seem to grow.
5. She also has a tendency to attack when there is crying. I have to admit I haven't discouraged this. The kids are catching on now that if they lay on the floor screaming, they may have a cat bite them in the neck.
6. Apparently she was a stray for a long time because she eats table scraps. She is well on her way to replacing Verona as the dinner vacumn, despite the fact that her body weight is one-tenth that of our beloved dog.
7. I have also discovered that she has the bad habit of trying to clean out dishes left out. I discovered this after hearing suspicious noises downstairs in the middle of the night. It was just the cat knocking dishes onto the floor. We were clean before, but now we're really clean. My beleagured husband threatened to take her to the pound if he found her on the counter again, so now child #1 reminds us all to clean up and rinse our dishes. At least we finally found his motivation!
8. On the not so fun side, I learned that I am still not perfect (bummer!). I fell into some old patterns because of holiday stress. I let my own insecurities and inferiority complex sink me into a dark pit, and instead of rising to the occasion, I sunk deeper. Argh. I will use the excuse that my sister has a golden touch with parenting, cooking, sewing, scheduling, getting through a day, etc. and it made me see all the ways I fail in those areas.
9. On the plus side, I see the areas I can improve on, and I've already noticed a difference in the last couple of weeks. My sister helped me discover a great website, which I have used a few times already to get dinner ideas. I like using the ingredient search to come up with a dinner that will use up stuff in the fridge before it goes bad.
10. Fixing parenting issues hasn't been as easy. Child #2 has always been different and had his own set of problems. Lately, it has been tantrums/rages. I call them freak out meltdowns. They occasionally come up when he's playing with his siblings and they want the same toy. Then I have to seperate him and do time out. But apparently he wants to try them out in public now. Yesterday at Kroger, he took me completely by surprise. He wanted some Christmas candy he saw on sale, I said he could buy it with his money and I would hold it till later. He yelled something about he would hold it. I said we wouldn't get it because he was having a bad attitude. Then he screamed, cried, laid down on the floor (of Kroger). This wouldn't have been so bad if he were two years old and not five. I kept walking toward the register, and hoped people wouldn't notice the VERY loud little boy trailing after me. I was caught in a bit of a stupor when I saw the lines behind every register, and my dear sweet daughter was crying now too. Plus, child #2 seeing that I had stopped moving, decided that he should scream and lay down again. It was so awful. I was so discombobulated that when a sweet woman in a check out line got the kids attention telling them to help their mommy move to her short line (and stopped their crying cold), I had a hard time containing my own tears. No one is going to a grocery store with me anymore unless it is one to one ratio. Child #2 seems to have percieved a chink in my armor that I didn't know I had, but I see now that I need to employ new strategies. He actually has an assessment coming up in February where we're hoping to find out once and for all if there is a label to go with his differences.

Monday, January 4, 2010

15 Months Waiting...

Most of the time I force myself to forget that we're waiting for a referral. I still check the forums obsessively though, so that probably doesn't help. Mostly I am just sick of it. I'm sick of people that only wait a few months for a referral, and don't really know anything about the process because they didn't have to learn it. I'm sick of agencies that pop up in Ethiopia because it's the trendy country now, and they corrupt the system. I am sick of parents that defend those agencies practices because they either brought children home from them and don't want the guilt or they are still waiting and don't want their adoption jeopardized. Do me a favor, if you are considering international adoption, RESEARCH. Do it before you call agencies or fill out applications. Join the Ethiopia specific agency research yahoo group: Ethiopia AAR or the international adoption agency research group: Adoption Agency Research. Otherwise, you could end up with an agency that coerced babies from their mothers or gave you a referral with no paperwork for months or had you adopt a child with severe special needs that you were unaware of. And if you try to back out, they will probably keep a lot of your money. Personally, I wish I had never heard of BFAS, CCI, AGCI, and I'm not crazy about Hope, Dove or Adoption Avenues either. There are about twenty agencies that are allowed to process adoptions in Ethiopia, and I would only consider between four and six of them to be trustworthy and proven (Adoption Advocates Intl in WA, WHFC, CHSFS, WACAP, and possibly Holt and Gladney, still unsure on those). I have been in the process of adopting for two years now, and I am sick of ignorant parents supporting unethical practices because of promised short wait times. Sigh. I feel better now. Feel free to add to anything in the comments or flame me ;)
Belated addition: I am going to add Adoption Ark to the list of agencies to stay away from because of this woman's story. Even though it's Pakistan, her experiences with the agency itself are the problem, and the way an agency is in one country is probably the way they are in any other.