Inside Voice, Outside Voice, I Always Get Those Two Confused AKA Did I Say That Outloud?

30 09 2010

I have eaten potato chips for the last five couple of days.

I have started running with my neighbor.  She is a skinny bitch ex-ballerina.  When I notice our shadows moving next to each other I want to run home and eat potato chips faster.

I really want to add “run 43 miles” and “lose 43 pounds” to my goal list but both items seem so daunting.  I am secretly hoping to sneak up on those milestones and add them to the list right before I achieve them.  So, I cheat at my own goal setting, you gotta problem with that?

Adoption Angst: An unexamined life might not be worth living, but an over-analyzed life might be grounds for divorce.  And I am just trying to tread water somewhere in between.

The way this conundrum plays out in our house of late is perfectly illustrated by this verbal exchange shouted between the kitchen and living room while I was getting him water and he was playing fantasy football and watching the Bears deep and moving conversation…

ME:  “Do you think adopting Little Dude was a really bad thing?”

SAG:  “yea”

ME:  “Do you think the reason he looks fat and healthy when he first came in is because he was stolen from a mother who had resources and loved and cared for him?”

SAG:  “yea, I already told you yea to that one”

ME:  “Do you think he is going to hate us forever?”

SAG:  “No more than PJ”

My last, unasked question, because I already knew the answer…

“Honey, do you think I have been spending too much time on the internet?”


Wordless Wednesday

29 09 2010

Living in Telephoto – Goal #19

27 09 2010

Goal #19, 43 pictures I am proud of, is being seriously hampered by my photographic equipment.  One of my favorite bloggers who takes fantastic pictures (well, her children are the cutest EVER so that helps) is writing a series on taking pictures.  And she says equipment doesn’t necessarily matter.  And I am sure she is right – except maybe in my case.

I currently have three cameras available to me.  The first is my Logitech webcam which I have cleverly caught an image of here, reflected in my cell phone.  Okay, that was initially an accident, but still cool nonetheless.  The Webcam is obviously not a tool for taking photos I am proud of.  The second is my phone itself.  It is my son’s favorite toy and as you can see from the giant crack on its screen, I am not exactly careful with it.  On occasion I will snap a picture with it but the lens is so dirty that all photos appear to have been taken through a screen door.

Finally I have a Canon EOS Rebel XTi… so why in the world do I think I have an excuse for not getting a good shot?  Because the only working lens I have is a 75mm-300mm telephoto.  And I live in a small house.  So I am often backing through the dining room and into the kitchen before I can capture action that is taking place in the family room.  Or I’m backing across a bike path and 30 yards away from my kids who are playing on the edge of a pond.  For a good picture I risk having a child-welfare agency called and having my kids removed from my irresponsible care.

I have gone back and forth, should I buy another more normal size lens for the Canon?  Or should I just get a cheaper camera that also shoots video?  I decided on the cheaper camera and planned to use the cash I didn’t spend in Ethiopia to buy a Canon ELPH.  But the thing about having a house in one state that won’t sell, and paying rent in another state so you have a roof over your head… well, I have decided to buy groceries this month instead of any new camera equipment.  How is that for responsible?

Regardless of my equipment maladies, I have managed to capture a few shots  recently that can go into my “pride” file.  Although I want to amend “proud of” to “like.”  Proud is too much pressure.  It seems to imply that I think the photo is technically good.  And the first picture I want to include in my 43 is actually out of focus – but I like it.  But I don’t want you to think I am so dumb that I didn’t notice it was out of focus…Because really this is not about me and taking pictures, it is about you, and you liking me… wait this isn’t high school?  Okay, so I am proud of the damn picture, even if it is out of focus.

I think the spider is especially interesting because I had to use my telephoto as a macro lens.  My husband had to hold his finger up next to the spider initially so I could even find it to focus (yes, focus is a relative term here – cut me some slack).  Of course I didn’t have to get close to the spider to take the picture (thank you, Mr. Telephoto Lens) and my husband did, so I guess that could be considered a bonus.  (I am not actually afraid of spiders but this one was very large and  spinning a web at an incredibly intimidating rate.)

Also in the “like/proud” file, a few “close-ups” of the kids.  Of course those “close ups” were shot from 25 feet away!

Mid-life Looming – Goal List Update

26 09 2010

My goal list is too long to be of interest to anyone but me – well, I am honestly not even that interested in it.  So I won’t reproduce the whole thing, just a few highlights to keep me honest.

#1 –   43 Goals written on a piece of paper:  I added 12 goals #s 25 – 37

25) 43 new milestones recorded for kids

26)  43 pictures printed and put in albums for kids

27)  43 dollars made selling stuff on Craig’s List

28)  43 dog walks

29)  43 days with a clean car

30)  43 sun salutations in a row

31)  43 gallons of water drunk

32)  43 consecutive hours not touching the computer

33)  43 consecutive hours not watching tv

34)  43 times around the block or the lake

35)  43 sentences I am proud of

36)  43 followers of my blog

37)  43 plastic bags not taken at the grocery store

I have fully achieved two of my original goals.

# 11 – 43 books read with Little Dude.  I did not count a book unless he sat through the ENTIRE thing – cover to cover.  Happiest moments were when he sat through three or four in a row and anytime he picks out a book and brings it to me.  I will make him a reader, I will, I will, I will.

# 17 – 43 items donated to thrift shops or handed down to others.  I stood in my children’s room with three boxes; one for a friend with a younger daughter, one for a friend with a younger son and one for either Goodwill or the garbage.  Once I had gone through the closet and dresser I moved the boxes to the living room to organize them (of course NOT immediately – a few days later after they were in the way and driving me nuts for a while).  When I double checked the items in the girl clothes box, discarding the disgusting and folding everything else I counted them up – 43 exactly.  How cool is that?

I have made some progress in other areas.  Here are a few highlights.

#14 (43 dinners made) – I have made seven dinners since defining this goal more than five weeks ago.  This includes my standard avocado, tomato and fresh mozzarella salad (three times), one frozen pizza – although I did sprinkle blue cheese on top and two nights of spaghetti and one “home-made” pizza.  Have I mentioned how GREAT my husband is?  Only 36 more delicious meals to go.

#6 (43 consecutive days no alcohol) – I am on day eight of no alcohol… I actually consider it day 10 because the Bud Light I had last Saturday should not count – it didn’t even taste like real beer.  But to be a purist, I will say that this is only day eight.  I hope you will all join me for the beverage of your choice on Halloween!

#24 (43 something to do with sewing)- I shortened a dress and it was lined so I shortened the lining as well.  So I am way beyond 43 stitches – but I think I am going for 43 sewing projects.  The dress and lining count for two.

#23 (43 facts about Missouri, Ethiopia, etc…) – As for New and Important Facts… I have three.

1)  September 11 is the Ethiopian New Year – except during leap years

2)  There are 35 species of crayfish that live in Missouri

3)  The crayfish is Missouri’s official invertebrate

I will leave you now to either contemplate crayfish and their important roll in our ecosystem or, if you prefer, how much they taste like chicken.

Sunday Slide Show

25 09 2010

Someone Said Saturday

25 09 2010

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”


What’s Your High Horse Standing On?

22 09 2010

So you adopted from Ethiopia and you are worried about ethics violations but you are sure your child wasn’t part of a problem BECAUSE…

… you adopted a special needs kid, and clearly these kids were not wanted by their families.  WHAT?  You wanted that kid.  Aren’t we all always saying that Ethiopian mothers are NO DIFFERENT THAN mothers everywhere.  Don’t the vast majority of mothers who unexpectedly give birth to a special needs child keep that child? love that child? figure out a way to raise that child?  Yes, your agency made less of a profit because of their grants program, but shouldn’t they have a family preservation program that specializes in keeping special needs children in their home?

… you adopted an older child. Clearly it is the older children who really need homes because EVERYONE wants a baby.  Obviously NOT everyone wants a baby.  (In my travel group of 10 families, only three families brought home kids under a year – they were all 11 months old.  Our group also included a 6-yr-old, 5-yr-old, 4-yr-old, 3-yr-old, 2-yr-old… you get the picture.)  However, I won’t argue that many people do request “young-as-possible” – which is the choice our family made.  So, on the surface this works as a demand side argument.

But on the supply side it stands to reason that there would be more babies and toddlers available.  I can imagine a million scenarios, here is one: if I am subsistence farming and my sister dies, I can more easily take in her 12-yr-old and 10-yr-old as they can “earn their keep.”  And on an emotional level, I am probably more attached to them. But her 5-month-old and two-year-old are two more mouths to feed that have no way to contribute.  Guess who is more likely to end up in the care center?  So what is the proper ration of older children to babies in a care-center?  Did you count heads when you were in Ethiopia?  Do you track all the placements your agency or the care-centers they work with are doing?

If you were running a shady operation wouldn’t you make sure to include special needs and older children in your mix so you wouldn’t look so suspicious even if the demand is lower?

…you got to meet the birth family. But you didn’t just meet the birth family, you videotaped the meeting and you hired your own translator to reinterpret the audio.  Do you really believe an agency that would pay for stolen babies would be opposed to hiring actors and actresses to pose as birth parents?  And in a country ravaged by poverty where people are selling/kidnapping babies, don’t you think it would be easy to find people to “play the part” of grieving relatives?  From what I could tell the acting wouldn’t be that tough.  Look really sad and uncomfortable, that’s the kind of acting even I can pull off.  And yes, there is a court process, but come on, people lie in court all the time.

In my travel group of 10 adoptive families, nine of them got to meet birth families.  We were the only family who did not have that amazing opportunity.  If meeting the birth family PROVES no corruption, then our agency must be 90% ethical.  If our agency or the care-center they are working with is running a shady operation, as evidenced by the 10% of their adoptive families that don’t meet birth families, they are taking a great risk for a small percentage of their business.

Are there any agencies out there that ONLY do relinquished child adoptions?  Can that be a criterion for placement?  I do know one family who requested “no known birth-family.”  They just met their new son’s birth father this week… so clearly that is not a request their agency honored.

I really, really wanted to meet our son’s first family for many reasons.  I actually worried about accepting his referral in part because I was concerned about this issue.  But you tell me, if you received this picture in an email, would you walk away from it?  And if you were willing to walk away from it because you didn’t trust your agency or care center on this specific child, isn’t it your ethical duty to walk away from the agency/care center all together?

I am not saying that there are not bogus adoptions taking place in Ethiopia.  I am not saying that we shouldn’t choose our agencies carefully and then hold them accountable every step of the way.  I am not saying that I have the answers.  But I really don’t think there is a “high-horse” here.  And if any adoptive parent thinks they are sitting on one, they should keep in mind that that particular horse is standing on a slippery slope.