Thursday, April 12, 2012

More Adoption Updates

Remember me? Boy, is all this adoption stuff time consuming, or what?!? Hey... there's a learning curve with everything, I'm told. It shouldn't surprise me that it's taken a while to get used to the new lingo, meet all these new "friends" who guide you through the process, and run in rabbit trails gathering information and documents for the final application. I get even MORE tired just thinking about it! LOL!

For my friends on Facebook, some of this will be old news... so bear with me and the others as I catch everybody up, mmmkay? ;) One thing I've realized is that things change DAILY and what was considered set in stone one day, can change in a moments notice. I'll try to keep everyone updated as best I can. So let's get to it:

We have decided that we will give our sweet little girl the name "Evie" as her first name. It was going to be short for "Evangeline," but Chuck said that was such a big, long name for such a little girl (that and the fact that he said he didn't know if he could even SPELL it. Cop-out!) and because we were going to call her "Evie" and not "Evangeline," he explained we should just name her what we will call her. I wanted to argue that I think it's very southern to have a "proper" first name that isn't a nickname, and that Evangeline is just so beautiful, but I relented just because (1) he made a valid point and (2) we have so many more decisions to make that I figured we needed to agree to move on. Marriage is all about compromise, right? Let's just hope he remembers what an agreeable wife he has the next time a decision needs to be made! LOL!

As for a middle name, the jury is still out. Bernice is still a contender as well as Hayden, McKnight, Lee and Charles, which are all family names. I love the names like Mercy and Glory, but they do not "go" with her first name, so they are put on my mental shelf for future reference if ever this situation were to arise again. ;) I also love the name Hope and it keeps presenting itself in conversations and in written words between friends, so it's on the short list too. I'm also loving Laine (which would be a form of my mother's middle name "Elaine"), so I'm going to reach out again to all of you to give me your opinions, too. You all did GREAT last time so let's hear what y'all have to say. Names are SO fun!

I received an e-mail the day before yesterday telling me of some changes to Evie's scheduled surgeries. Her emergency medical visa was denied but she has gotten approval to be a patient on the African Mercy (a naval battleship outfitted as a floating hospital with American trained doctors and nurses). Now they tell me she is scheduled for blood work on the 19th of April and surgery to repair her lip on the 20th if her blood work comes back okay. She will stay in recovery on the ship for 7 days and then her next surgery will be scheduled after that according to her rate of recovery. Pastor Samson will be taking her to her appointments on the ship. I wish I could be with her. Please pray for the nurses to treat my baby like their own while she recovers. I can't imagine what she'll be thinking is going on. :(

We are plowing full speed ahead with the rest of our adoption paperwork and it's grueling. I feel guilty taking the time to write this update, even, when it seems like I should be working on what I can to get farther along in the process. Ahh, mommy guilt. Even for the child that is not yet mine! What am I saying... of COURSE she's mine. Silly mommy. Anyway, the circuit clerk's office denied my passport photos because they said my glasses were cutting off my eyes. All this after I sat and filled out 3 pages of an application, went to the bank to get the cash that needed to be paid to the clerk for a "clerks fee" in addition to the $110 for the passport itself, and then she tells me about my photos. Sigh. I almost flung myself out of her second story window! That was last Thursday. A week later, I'm still no closer to getting that stupid passport. But, I've had good reason:

We have been busy collecting donations for our yard sale that we are having Saturday to benefit our adoption and our garage is FULL. Like an episode of "Hoarders," full. I need to take a picture... cuz it's AWESOME! People have been so great bringing stuff by and I've gone and gotten a truck load from Anniston and a van load from a friend's house and we are just pumped to make some money this weekend for our little Evie! I should be out there sorting and pricing right now, but I'm blogging instead. Priorities. ;) Chuck is off tomorrow so he can help me. Cuz there is LOTS to do, people. I'll let you know how we did on Monday.

So on that note, I'm gonna scoot and start my "Flight of the Bumblebees." Just wanted to take a few minutes and touch base with all of you. Pray for our yard sale that the people who need what we have to sell will come. And pray for sunshine. Lots and lots of sunshine.... :D

Saturday, March 31, 2012

More on Names

I love it when you make a request and the people comply! Thanks, everyone who've given me suggestions for names for my little B. They are still coming in as a matter of fact! Keep 'em coming!

Halle has now dropped down to third place. What a difference a week makes, right? Bringing up the rear in fourth place is Layla which means "dark beauty." In keeping with family names (since both of my other girls have them), my second choice is Laina Bernice (which is a form of Elaine, my mom's middle name). My absolute favorite choice is Evie (actually Evangeline... because my girls also have "biblical" names as well and though it's not an actual name from the bible, I still consider it biblical). Chuck likes Evie, too, though most of the time we still refer to her as "B." I've caught myself calling her Evie-B a time or two, but Jamie still calls her Bernice. I told her she could call her whatever she wanted to, and JR seemed okay with that for now.

I've been reading as many "adoption blogs" as I can trying to see what others have done about name changes. I read one this morning where a couple had adopted a toddler from Uganda and they changed his first name and kept his African name as his middle name. They also gave him a second middle name, so he actually has four names. Maybe I will send them a message and get their input on this name change dilemma. If any of you have comments or suggestions, please let me know.

A few people have wondered if Bernice has a traditional African name, and I don't know if she does or not. I'm not even sure if she has a middle name or what it is. I must write all this stuff down and try to remember to ask the next time I talk to Tammy Brooks from the Jesse Brooks Foundation. I haven't heard from Tammy in a while. I would like to know if she's heard anything regarding B's emergency medical visa. I may try to call her today and see what the status of all that is...

So that's the update on the name thang. :D I'll keep everyone posted as we narrow it down. I'm thinking Evie just feels right, though. Time will tell! Next in my order of business (besides working on our child abuse/neglect clearance and getting fingerprints made) is working on a timeline of sorts to document all this adoption business. I'll be sharing that with y'all soon. Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Great Expectations

Being new to this adoption process, I'm constantly surprised at all the emotions that I've experienced over these past few weeks. I guess in the beginning I was in pure shock that we were even considering it. Fear crept in not too long after that (could we handle this physically, emotionally, and financially?). That soon gave way to excitement pretty quickly, and now I'm just anxious to have her here. It's funny. Working my way through the adoption process, I have experienced the same emotions that I had when I was expecting my two biological children!

Talking to my friend today, I realized just how much I actually feel like I'm expecting! And I know that technically we are, but I just never expected to feel the same way about it as I did with the other two. Well, not physically, of course. I never "did" pregnancy well... either time. If you had a terrific pregnancy experience, good for you. I'm actually jealous. Terribly so. That's why expecting this little one's arrival without morning sickness, swollen feet or hemorrhoids is all "win-win" in my book!

We are planning on making the office into the baby's room and are thrilled to be getting a day bed from my cousin for Lil' B to sleep in. Guess that means I've got a fantastic excuse to get my decorating on, right? We have enjoyed tossing around possible first names and planning where everyone will sit in the minivan once we go from "four" to "five." My sister assures me that she's got plenty of Peyton's clothes to share with me and I've caught myself looking in the stores at little 18 month sizes and wondering if she'll like pink as much as Jamie Ruth does. I seriously think about her constantly throughout the day and though my tummy is not growing by leaps and bounds, my heart sure is. This "expecting" thing is pretty cool. Maybe the third time really is the charm!

Many of you have asked where we are in the process. Well, we have begun to fill out the final adoption application and it's taking a while. Mostly because it's 25 plus pages and I get a little overwhelmed trying to schedule time to get fingerprinted, get a physical for the four of us, write my autobiography, get my vaccinations, contact references, watch 10 hours of adoption education, etc., etc., etc., all the while taking care of the day to day business of a family of four. My friend said this stage of the process is called being "paper pregnant." At first I thought the term was a little silly but now I'm beginning to think it's pretty appropriate. Many people enjoy pregnancy... I was not one of those people. Perhaps it's not big shocker that I'm not having a ball with my paper pregnancy, either. But it's a necessary means to an end, I guess. And like my other pregnancies, I'm just trying to take things one day at a time! More to come...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Random Pre-Adoption Thoughts About a Name

So, like I don't have more important things to think about like "where in the world are we going to get $15,000 to adopt this baby?" or "shouldn't I be watching some of that 10 hours of required adoption education instead of blogging?" I think about random stuff like "should we keep Bernice's name or give her a new one that we gave her?"

I remember years ago when Angelina Jolie adopted her son Pax (you don't hear as much about ol' Pax, do ya, compared to the others) and I distinctly remember that I thought it was odd that she changed his name. The reason I found it odd, I guess, was because he was older and not a baby like her other children were when they were adopted. I tried to imagine what it would be like if all of a sudden one day, someone said that you were no longer "So-and so" and that you would from now on be known as "Such-and such." Weird. I imagined little Pax playing and Angie calling him for dinner and him not responding. "Oh wait! I'm Pax! She's calling for me! Coming Mom!!!" See. Random thoughts even way back then.

Chuck, JR and I have talked about it and I was outnumbered by their vote to keep Bernice's name what it is. JR doesn't like change, so it came as no big shock that she wanted to keep her name the same. Chuck explained that he actually liked the name Bernice (really? Because... really?). The man continues to amaze me. Perhaps stupify would be a better word. But getting back on track here... I've been thinking about her name and wondering if it's the best fit for her. Here's why:

I was told by the lady who runs the orphanage that Bernice's mother tried to kill her twice and eventually just neglected her because she thought that she was cursed (because of her cleft lip and palate). So if Bernice is the name given to her by the woman that tried three unsuccessful attempts to end her life, well... I'd rather her not have ANYTHING that ties her to that situation. On the other hand, if by the time she gets to us she is old enough to understand that she IS Bernice, would changing her name totally mess her up? I've contemplated a few names for her first name, while keeping Bernice as her middle name, but nothing has won me over.

Some friends of mine have suggested that we call her Niecee (like Niecee Nash) and I think that's cute. My aunt has called her Bernie... also cute. Chuck calls her Lil' B (and I do too, sometimes). And though it's catchy, somehow I can't wrap my brain around her filling out school work and putting her first name down as "B," the artist formerly known as "Bernice." Both of my older girls have family names, so should Bernice be given a family name too? I'm perplexed.

So what do YOU guys think? Leave me a comment or message me if you want if you have any ideas. Names that I like for little girls just don't seem to fit her and who she is. The only contender right now is "Halle Bernice," because Halle means "unexpected gift," and that"s exactly what she is to our family: a beautiful, unexpected, magnificent gift. :D

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Like He Needs ME Bragging On HIM

Friends, words are just not going to be able to do justice to all that has been going on here in the last three weeks. My life has been turned upside down, backwards and sideways and all in the very best way possible. I have been accused of losing my mind by some (leave it to family to tell you like it is!) and heralded as a "Mother Teresa" by others... neither of which is any where NEAR the case. :) When I talk to people these days, people just nod and shake their head in a blank, dear-in-the-headlights kind of way. I've tried to explain it to the people that know me best as the feeling of being body-snatched. I realize that I am still me, but I am not operating like me. Are you nodding at me all wide-eyed? Of course you are. That's okay. You are in good company. ;)

March the second was a typical Friday night for our family, with one exception: it was the day that God intervened in my life and planted a desire (with every single member of my household simultaneously on board) to adopt a special needs child from Africa. If you are friends with me on Facebook, this is old news. Bear with me. I'm planning on using this blog to document this new world of "adoption stuff" that has opened itself up to me. I will explain in detail later exactly how it came to be, but I figure I needed to have a jumping off point in preserving all of this for posterity and so that one day Lil' B (as she has been lovingly referred to lately) can read this amazing story of how she came to our family.

First and foremost, let me be the first to say that four weeks ago, adoption of ANY kind was not even on our family's radar. Chuck and I voluntarily removed ourselves from the gene pool years ago. One handicapped child and one feisty red-head was more than enough to keep him and I busy. Hey, we recognized our limitations. Any more than that and we would be outnumbered, right? Our plate was (and IS) full, as I'm sure many of yours is. Let me also say that I was perfectly content in my life and was going along, minding my own business, taking care of my own things on the home front when KA-BLAM! I was changed. Body-snatched. I look at nothing the way I did prior to March 2, 2012. I've been a somewhat religious/spiritual person all of my life, but have never had an experience with the Almighty like I've had in the past 18 days.

And to top it all off, when the Creator of the universe orchestrates something... stand back and be amazed at what starts happening around you. Seriously, I almost expect to walk out my front door some days and find that my hedges are on fire (remember the "burning bush" from Sunday School?) or have an angel of the Lord knock on my door with some specific instructions for me. You know, instead of the occasional Jehovah's Witness I usually get. No offense to any Witnesses reading, of course.

And you better believe that I'll be sharing all of this with you that care to read my lil' ol' blog, because honestly, I never want to forget a single thing. I'm in awe. You may be too. And I know God does not need ME bragging on HIM, but if the Alpha and Omega can reach me, use me, change ME, he can reach, use, and change you. More to come, I promise...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Music Therapy Thursday: "Free" by Dara Maclean

This is my favorite song right now. Seriously, I listen to it over and over. And over. :) I love it when I feel like an artist has reached into my head and penned out a song that I'm just not talented enough to write myself. That's what Dara Maclean has done with this song.

This particular version is acoustic and I think it makes it all the more beautiful. And just LOOK at her. She is so incredibly beautiful and talented that I thought watching her perform would be more interesting that just looking at the lyrics. But if you want to listen to the radio version and read the lyrics, you can find it here. It's a little funkier with a an infectious beat, but I think you'll agree both songs are just awesome. Listen for yourself and enjoy today's music therapy!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities (and Fourteen Bras!)

Have you ever looked back over the course of an event in your life and cringed at the fact that that there are precious hours that can never, ever be gotten back? Hours that could have been used... oh, I don't know, educating your self on organic gardening, studying your SS lesson, playing with your children, discovering a cure for cancer (alright, now I'm just getting silly), but instead you have become mind-numbingly exhausted performing a dreaded, albeit necessary, task? Welcome to my last 5 days.

It all began with my weight loss. Yeah, I'm gonna talk about it AGAIN because, well, I'm pretty proud of myself and because it has affected every.single.area. of my life... and not all in good ways. Strange, right? When can weight loss be a negative? When you start out on a mission to find a bra that fits your ever-changing body shape, that's when. Yeah, this is one chapter they left out of all the fitness books I've ever read. Why? Because I'm almost tempted to eat my weight in banana split Blizzards just to get back into my old bras. I'm only half kidding.

It was time for new bras anyway. Without the weight loss, my bras were in sad shape: stretched out, ripped in places, underwires all jank. That's right: jank. ;) And because I've got lingerie selling experience (what job haven't I had, right?), I knew that a bra fitting was of the utmost importance. So off I go. The cute little bra fitting specialist who rocks red lipstick better than anyone I have ever seen, did her duty and proceeded to tell me (like I figured) that my bra size had changed. Formerly a 38 C, I was now gonna be sporting a 36 D. This is where I'm NOT going to go into the details of the subtle differences between band size and cup size, but feel free to message me if you need clarification. I'll also explain how to measure yourself later on in the post. The majority of women are walking around in the wrong size bra. True story.

Anyway, to say that I tried almost every single bra on in the store would not be an understatement. Luckily, I felt like I redeemed myself somewhat with the staff because I was able to put the bras back on their hangers appropriately (that year of working in the lingerie department at Sears has really paid off). What I ultimately decided on was the same style of bra I have been wearing for the past 3 years, just in a different size. Now, I'm a freak and would prefer that all my bras be nude in color because it takes the guesswork out of deciding what to wear under my clothes so as to not show through whatever I'm wearing over it. And yes, white bras do show up under certain fabrics, but this rant isn't about my obsessive behavior (although I guess it really kind of IS), so I digress... I leave the store with one white, one nude, and one black (because that's all the colors they had in my size) and order two more nudes. Throw in two packs of underwear and a pack of socks and I almost skip home giddy to clean out my underwear drawer and start fresh.

Two days later after WASHING the bras and wearing them, I realize that I cannot under any circumstances wear them for another single second. I take off the bra I'm wearing and find that the underwire has all but poked a hole in my side and the band has left a permanent red indention all around my torso. How can this be? They felt fine in the store. Annoyed, but deciding maybe after 10 years that underwire bras may be the enemy, I return to the bra place.

Cute little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter was working again and was even more determined than I was to find some bras that worked for me. I liked her spunkiness and her customer service. I swear you would have thought she worked on commission. Anyhoo... off I go trying almost every single WIRE-FREE bra in the joint. I left with 3 of those boxed bras that I used to think were only for grandmas (ahem), and a sleep bra. Yeah, I sleep in bras. But that's another story.

Another full day of wearing said "wire-free" bra, and the misery ensued. Did you know that the main support of your bra is in the band and not the straps? More trueness. My girls require more support than a wire-free bra can give. And I began to think the band was a bit too snug, even in the loosest hook. So I go BACK to the bra store (little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter is working again and now thinks I'm either stalking her, or the most particular customer this side of the Mason-Dixon). I purchase a 3-pack of bra extenders and went on my merry, slightly chaffed and corded, way.

The good news is I called and cancelled my order for the two bras that were on back order. The bad news is that although the bra extenders I bought helped with the ill-fitting band, they presented another problem in the process: the cups began to pucker. By this point I'm about ready to walk around all National Geographic-like and say to heck with all this bra business. "It shouldn't be this hard," I think to myself as I put my old-ratty-bras-I-was-trying-to-replace-in-the-very-beginning back on. Light bulb moment: Just go get your old size bra, even if it's not as snug in the band as you would like. Besides, 10 more pounds, and the snug bra might fit. It would have to be a better alternative than all this other nonsense. So I go off again... this time to another store in another city (that I look up online to make sure they carry the style I'm looking for) because I just don't think I could face little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter again. Seriously, does she not get an off day? Sheesh.

This time I find my good ol' standby (in white and nude... the only two in my size in the store) and proceed to checkout. My husband, along for the ride and moral support, suggests I try on more bras by picking out a few more for me while I was in the dressing room. Really? I just want to go home and put this nightmarish hide-and-seek game to bed. But I relent. Mostly because I was just too tired and defeated to argue. I'm beginning to accept the fact that I'm in an in-between stage/size and that in another month with persistent diet and exercise (or a couple of Shamrock Shakes later, depending on which route I choose to take) I can look forward to doing all this crap again. Yippee.

But as luck would have it, one of the bras he chose (appropriately named "the softest bra ever") pulled through for me. Underwire: check. Not poking me in the side: check. Comfortable band: check. No "spillage:" check. Soft inside lining that doesn't feel like it's made of burlap: check. No lace: check. Folks, we have ourselves a winner! Got three of THOSE babies too in white, nude and taupe. Wearing one now. Tags are still on the other two just in case. lol! Now all I have to do is grow some courage to return the other two bras in the box to the bra place or stalk the joint like a private investigator to make sure cute little red-lipstick-wearing bra fitter is (finally) enjoying a day off. :/

If you are keeping track, that's 5 days, 2 different stores, in 2 different cities and 14 (count 'em: FOURTEEN) bras and 1 completely exasperated momma with appropriately covered, completely supported, and perky boobs. Men should thank their lucky stars every day that they were born a man, right? I mean, what could be more miserable than bra shopping? Oh yeah. Swimsuit shopping. And ironically enough... I'm gonna be needing a new one of those, too. Aye caramba!!!! :D

To make sure you are wearing the right size bra, measure yourself around your ribcage, right under your boobs. Add 4 inches. I don't know why, just do it. ;) This is your band size (If it happens to be an odd number, you could possibly go either up or down. Trying on bras is essential to finding a good fit for you. They are all made a little different.). Next measure the fullest part if your breast across your nipples. Subtract the original number you got from measuring your ribcage from this number. This determines your cup size. If the difference is:
1 inch: A cup
2 inches: B cup
3 inches: C cup
4 inches: D cup
5 inches: DD cup
6 inches: E cup
7 inches: F cup

If you are larger than an DD cup, I suggest contacting a specialty store that caters to larger bra sizes. Hope this information is helpful to some of you. Good luck!