Friday, August 17, 2007

Color-Blindness is in the Eye of the Beholder

So, I've been obsessed with reading blogs lately. Some of you reading this now can probably relate. Somehow (I don't even remember how anymore), I found a blog written by a TRA - a trans-racial adoptee - and now I can't stop reading them. It's been fascinating and frightening and enlightening and a million other things that I just can't describe.

When we started this adoption process, we decided that race "didn't matter" to us. We felt led to adopt a deaf child - a child who might not easily find another family and who probably wouldn't have a chance for a great life in their home country. We wanted a child who was relatively young, but we didn't care about race or gender.

What I've come to realize is that the only reason that I'm able to take this color-blind position is because I'm white. I see little direct evidence of racism and what I do see is easy for me to write off as ignorance. It's easy for me to be color-blind. However, my black son won't have that luxury. Race may not "matter" to us, but it will matter to him - it will be a part of who he is - a part of how he experiences life. No amount of love and wishing will make that fact go away. So, what does that mean? How do I raise my child to understand a part of himself that I've never experienced, that I can't share? How do I give him a sense of identity so that he doesn't grow up wishing that those well-meaning white folks hadn't messed up his life by adopting him?

That's why I'm reading - voraciously. I find myself desperate to do the "right" things for my child. And I know there are no definitive answers. But, I feel like I can learn from the experiences of those who have been there, done that.

I know in my heart that Noah was meant for our family. God has showed that to me in a thousand ways. Scott and I have often chuckled at the fact that we set out to adopt a deaf child and it looks like Noah has no hearing problems at all. We've also realized that, since Noah was believed to be deaf, only a family that was willing to adopt a deaf child would have accepted his referral. God gave us willing hearts and led us to our child. Still, I have to remember that just because I know that God is in control, doesn't mean that I can sit back and assume everything will just work out fine. Life doesn't work that way. We're going to have to work at this family thing. We're going to have to live and learn and probably make a bunch of mistakes along the way.

Is it terrifying? Sure. Is it worth it? I guess you'll have to ask me in 20 years or so, but right now, I can't imagine an answer other than, "Absolutely."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Some MOI Movement (and Articles on Ruthlande)

Well, there has been some recent movement in MOI. This past week, several people on the Yahoo Groups that I belong to have reported that they are out of MOI. They should be picking up their kiddos in a month or two. This includes one child from COTP!

It's great to see movement - it means that at least something is happening - but I have to admit that it's bittersweet. The people who have come out of MOI recently all went in after we did. It's hard not to wonder if something has happened with our file. Has a problem been found with the file? Is it in a pile somewhere, pushed off to the side? I've heard stories about the disorganization of the offices and it's not hard to believe that this could happen. A few files have even been lost!

At this point, I've given up hope of getting my I-600 approved until I get my adoption decree from Haiti. And I've given up hope of getting the adoption decree until Noah's file comes out of MOI (Robin at COTP has been trying to find out if NLL, who is facilitating our adoption, has a copy of the adoption decree, but so far we haven't been able to get word about that). I'm really just hoping at this point that we get out of MOI very soon, that we're able to get the adoption decree to USCIS, and that USCIS will approve my I-600 quickly.

I do have to remember some of the good that has come from the waiting. We probably wouldn't have felt capable of taking Ruthlande in if Noah had come home recently. And this second trip to Haiti felt like God's plan for lots of reasons that I won't go into. Still, it's hard to be patient when God is telling me to just wait. Patience has never been one of my defining qualities. Guess I have plenty of time to continue working on that...

On a brighter note, here's a link to an article that was written about Ruthlande in the Daily Herald:

Also, another article written in our local paper by the Pioneer Press (the picture is from this article):,li-medvisa-072607-s1.article


Friday, August 10, 2007

Chance to win $2500

Okay, so there's almost no chance that I'll win this, but what the heck, right?

Over at Ashwin’s blog, you will find one crazy blog owner!! You can win $2500!! To enter just copy this text and paste it in your blog!! But hurry, this competition will not last long! So get posting!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Happy Birthday to Scott?

Okay, so yesterday was Scott's birthday and what a day it turned out to be! Not exactly the happy birthday we were hoping for. Let's see - the "day" started at 3 AM when we awoke to the sound of a massive storm - pouring rain, lightning and the strangest, loudest thunder I think I've ever heard. Scott got up to check on things and found that our basement window was leaking water. We're in the process of getting our siding replaced and so all of the gutters are off of the house. With no gutters, the window well had filled completely up and the window was leaking. Luckily, Scott had found the problem early enough - the basement just had a bit of water and Scott was able to caulk the window and stop the leaking.

Problem averted, right? Well, then we looked out the front door and realized that a MUCH bigger problem was awaiting us. I'm sure you've seen the picture above and can figure out what I'm referring to. Because the siding was in the driveway, Scott had parked at the end of the drive instead of at the front where he normally does. He was kicking himself because he had thought of moving the car at one point, but then didn't because he thought I might want to go somewhere in the morning (and I can't move his car because I'm incapable of driving stick shift). Well, when it rains hard, the sewers in front of our house tend to back up and the road floods. I can't tell you how many countless times we've seen cars get stuck in the flood right in front of our house - we're always amazed at how many people drive through even when they see someone stuck!
This night was the worst flooding we had ever seen. The water came halfway up our front yard and the water was up past the doors on Scott's car. The inside was full of water as well. At that point, Scott decided it was too late to do anything but wait for the water to recede.

So, Scott spent most of his birthday taking the seats and carpet out of his car so he could dry them out. He said he vacuumed over 20 gallons of water out of the car (maybe approaching 30). We're now thinking we might want to invest in a new car - we had been thinking about it anyway, since we can't fit three carseats in Scott's car - but we don't really have the money right now, so we were holding off. Guess we might be revisiting that decision. We just don't know how well we'll be able to trust this car now. Scott drove it and the battery light kept coming on and he thought the transmission felt a little funny. So, we'll see. We went out and test drove a Kia Rondo last night. We'll see...

Other than that, we also had the I-600 issue come up yesterday. It just wasn't the best day overall. But, that's how life is sometimes. Even on birthdays.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Clarification on I-600 Woes

I got some questions on this and realized that I didn't explain the situation with the I-600 very well. It turns out that the I-600 should never have been approved. It was approved in error apparently. They said that they needed to get the results of the orphan investigation from Haiti (which hasn't been started yet, as far as I know) before they can approve my I-600. Here's the actual email that I received.


The orphan unit has reviewed your file. The I-600 approval was issued in error. USCIS in Chicago is waiting for the DOS or CIS overseas office to conduct the investigation (Form I-604). Once we receive their results, we will go ahead and adjudicate the I-600 petition. For now, the orphan unit will cancel the IR4 visa that was issued to you and the consulate/embassy abroad.

Thank you,

Lisa Ubaldo

So, the frustrating thing is that I'm back at square one as far as the I-600 is concerned. One step forward, two steps back.


I-600 Woes

Well, unfortunately, I have to take back the encouraging news I shared the other day about our I-600. I got an email from USCIS today saying that my I-600 approval was given to me in error and that they are CANCELLING the visa that was issued to me!!

I had emailed USCIS because I was given the wrong visa classification (IR4 when I should have gotten an IR3 since Scott and I both visited Noah). In Illinois, you have to have a foster care license if you get an IR4 visa, which we don't have. But, now I'm wishing I'd never inquired about it - I never imagined that they would take the visa back!

Trying hard not to sit here and cry, but it always feels like one step forward, two steps back lately. Please pray for the approval to come soon and for my sanity and patience while we wait.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Life After Haiti (& I-600 Approval!)

Well, I haven't written in the past few days because things have been hectic around here. Jaden has pink eye in both eyes and an ear infection. Now, it seems that Danielle and I have caught his cold (not the pink eye so far, though!). It's just been hard to get back into the swing of things with all of this.

But, I did have some good news on the adoption front this week. I got a letter in the mail saying that Noah's I-600 was approved!! This is a major relief for me because last I had heard, we couldn't get our I-600 approval without the adoption decree (which we don't have) or the birth parent interview (which hadn't been scheduled yet). I was amazed to get that approval in the mail! Turns out that rumors that the birth parent interview was no longer needed must have been true. I don't give rumors much credit until I have proof (lots of them turn out to be wrong) - but I guess this one panned out!

Well, I'm posting some more pictures from my trip. For confidentiality reasons, I can't post pictures of all of the kids, but I'll post a few that just involve me and Noah.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Noah & Mommy

Responses to Comments

Okay, I can't figure out the best way to respond to people's questions that they've asked in comments (I'm afraid that if I just leave another comment people won't see them), so I figured I'd just create a new blog entry for them. So, here goes:

Ericka: Thanks so much for sending a box of things to Ruthlande's family! I know they will be thrilled with everything that you send. The only specific thing that they asked for is an exersaucer-type thing with wheels, so I'm going to look into that to see if I can find one and send it to her. I'll give you a call sometime this week to talk to you about the trip (things have been hectic since I got home - Jaden has pink eye in both eyes and an ear infection!)

Lori: Chrislande hadn't received her picture book yet as of when I left, but I know that mail can be very slow, so I wouldn't worry unless you sent it more than two weeks ago. It's possible they could have gotten it in this past Wednesday's mail - you should just check with them.

Sarah: The "a" in Landie's name is more of an "ah" sound - like you said, imagine a French accent. It sounds similar to Lindsay, but with an "ah" sound.

Svetik: Matthew is a sweetie. He was one of the kids who was not too wild and not too shy. The one story I can think of is how he tried to sneak into getting to play with bubbles twice. Lots of times, the kids tried to take advantage of the fact that I didn't know all of them terribly well. When it was time for bubbles, they would all try to pretend that they hadn't had a turn yet. I had to ask him his name to be sure, but when he told me Matthew I said, "You already had a turn Matthew!" But, when I got back to the bubbles, there he was again - I was thinking, "Wait, aren't you Matthew? Are you trying to sneak another turn?" It was cute. I had to send him back again, but he took it well. It can't hurt to try, right?

Amy K: I saw the boys' books while I was at COTP. All of the books are on one big shelf and most of the kids know right where to go to find theirs. They go over to the shelf and pull their book off themselves! Sammy and Jonas are both such cuties, although, I must admit I kept getting Jonas and Jeffley confused. They look a lot alike!!

Heidi: It's so nice to "meet" you. Ruth is a real sweetie!! Luckily, Katie and Maria noticed right away when Ruth started to seem sick and they wasted no time bringing her to the hospital. She never got really bad (she drank a full bottle while I was holding her at the hospital, waiting to be admitted). It's great that we have people who are paying so much attention to the health and well-being of our kids. From what I heard, Ruth was already doing much better by the time I left Haiti. Of course, Yanise still needs our prayers. She got much sicker, more quickly, poor thing!

Carlyn: I'm so sorry, but I honestly didn't spend enough time in the baby rooms to be able to learn much about their individual personalities. They were a cute bunch, though - all trying to get to me to get my camera as I was taking pictures. I do know that I got at least a couple of pictures of Reggie, though. I'll be sending them out to people as I can.

Kim: Again, I wasn't able to get a specific impression of most of the babies (see my note to Carlyn). I'm sorry about that! I'm very glad to hear that you've been blessed with helping your friend with the two babies here on medical visas, though - I hope that you're able to escort them home and visit Elijah for yourself! It will be a visit you won't forget!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Long Journey Home - Days 8 & 9!!

Oops! There wasn't supposed to be a day 9!! Travel didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped.

But, I'll start back at Day 8. I was up a lot the night before because Niki was up quite a few times in the night. I was also suffering from an upset stomach and was sick in the morning. I ended up taking some Immodium because I really feared that 3 hour Lynx plane trip with no bathroom! Of course, it's some kind of unwritten law that you have to get sick just before you get on one of those planes!!

Anyway, I made one last trip out to the baby house and said my goodbyes to Noah. It was hard, of course, but I just have to pray that I'm back to get him soon. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to see how well he's doing and to get another glimpse at what life is like for our kids. I would highly recommend making the trip out to COTP when you go to pick your kids up so that you can see for yourself.

We left for the airport and then I had a long period of just sitting. It turned out, my plane left over an hour late. When I found this out, I was concerned because I only had two hours between my flights (this was the last flight out of FLL to Chicago). I was still hoping and praying that I could get through customs quickly, though and still make my flight. Well, apparently, the Lynx flight took longer than planned because we didn't get off our plane at Ft. Lauderdale until 8:40 PM - my Spirit Airlines flight was supposed to have taken off at 8:20 PM!! I'm not sure how the flight took so much longer than planned, but there were storms in Ft. Lauderdale, so that might have been the reason. At any rate, I had obviously missed my flight. Turns out, Scott knew that I had missed the flight and had been trying to call Spirit for the past hour, but wasn't getting any answer. He tried to look online see if there was another Spirit flight that I could take, but the next flight wasn't until 24 hours later and it was completely booked! I wouldn't be able to get a seat out on Spirit until Friday night! When I got to the ticket counters at Spirit, it was a madhouse! There were mobs of people and only a few employees at the counters. I got into one line to find out if I could re-book, only to find when I got to the front that I was in the wrong line. I had to get in the back of a different, incredibly long line. After 40 minutes of waiting, I had only moved up a few spots. At that point, Scott decided to just book me a flight on United for the next day. He said he was watching as seats were going away and prices were going up - we couldn't wait for me to get to the front of the Spirit line. By this time, I was more than stressed out. Between having gotten very little sleep the night before, having not eaten anything but bread with peanut butter all day and still having a bit of an upset stomach, I think I was beyond my breaking point.

At that point, I went to my hotel room and got some sleep. I spent most of Day 9 in the airport. I tried to see if I could get a voucher from Spirit for a future flight, but found out (after standing in line for over an hour) that they wouldn't do it. They said that they weren't responsible for the Lynx flight being late, so I couldn't do anything. I could have re-booked, but, of course, I had already booked the American flight and I already knew that I couldn't get a flight out until Friday anyway. So, the money for that ticket was just lost. I won't book with Spirit again. Between the madness at the airport, the fact that no one would answer the phone and the fact that they have so few flights (so, if you miss one, you might have to wait days to catch another), it's just not worth it. Going to the AA ticket counter was like a breath of fresh air after the craziness at Spirit.

Anyway, I got home safe and sound, if a bit weary. I was so excited to see Jaden and Danielle again! Even though Jaden was asleep when I got home, I ended up waking him up so that I could talk to him. Of course, the kids then didn't want to go to bed. They ended up staying up until 10:30!! Jaden was really cute. He said, "Mommy I missed you so much. Even though I had the Mama Chante video, it didn't work. I still missed you!" It was so sweet! It felt so nice to just hang out with my kiddos again. I can't wait until Noah is home with us so that he can be a part of that too!