Sunday, March 29, 2009
We went to Whistler to see Juno, the puppy. I must be committed cause it's a 2 hr drive. We got there before the shelter was open but they were expecting us. I have to say that it was the best looking shelter I had ever seen. Juno had just had a little bath and they placed her in my arms in a towel- she was shivering - and I was lost. We took her and another puppy to the "visiting room" where the puppies played and explored with each other. We also gave the shelter worker our references and told her all about us, our beloved Sampson and all the wonderful things we could provide the new puppy. Then we saw more puppies (ohmigod) and hubby fell in love with another little guy who survived a car accident (his litter mate didn't) who could sit at 10 wks. Ah, I had to get outa there before I saw any more puppies or dogs. I think DH prefers big macho dogs or potential big macho dogs, but since I'm in charge, I'm making the decision. No more over analyzing.
No, I am not taking both. Still trying to figure out how I'm going to get a puppy downstairs in an elevator at 2am without pissing all over me and the elevator. I can just see the cranky guy on 6 starting a petitition to get me kicked out. And of course, then I'm sure I'd get a child and I'd get confused as to who was pooing where.
Still, I didn't have anywhere near the amount of stress I had before. I felt pretty good. I just say, no, she's the one and that's that. We went for lunch in the village and had a really lovely day.
Now I have to wait til Thursday to see if our application is approved. And since it was the first application, I don't see how difficult the decision can be. We're a perfect match.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I wanted to go see to another blonde lab/retriever mix at a SPCA miles away, but we phoned and he was gone. Figures, he was gorgeous and only 1 year old. I even liked his name. He seemed perfect on paper. But then DH sends me another link. The one above. Hubby sent it to me before finding out the dog's age. He's 5 yrs old - but that of course that is a guess. He's HUGE, sheds and needs to be retrained because someone has been allowing him to jump up on them. I experienced that first hand - twice - I think he wanted his neck massage to continue. However, I gave him a good NO! and put him in the sit position and he didn't seem to mind at all. He's also adorable, affectionate, loves getting his neck scratched and likes to go for walks. A good excuse to keep me busy and active. But 5 years old, mmmm, that may mean only 5 more years with him. If that. He was also neutered late. And because of his size, and apparent lack of socialization around young children, he needs strong training if we bring home a child in the near future. On the plus side, within 5 minutes he was all over DH and I and responded well to basic commands. We couldn't take him out for a walk as the adoption worker wasn't around til tomorrow.
Well, once again, it's up to me. DH seems to like him, but I can't go by his taste entirely - he's always attracted to the hard cases. He likes masculine, "manly" dogs. I want a gentle giant. I'm a bit concerned about his age -thoughts of his mortality. He's quite energetic but calm and allows hugs and kisses. He barked a lot when we approached his cage (that could be fixed), but he's a good dog. He just needs a chance. I wonder if I'm it......
Sunday, March 22, 2009
When you know people who NEVER have to worry about money and price tags and the price of gas, it puts things in perspective. It's all relative. People just look on the surface and think they know you.
I've been on both sides of the glass - and guess what, it's better being one of the "haves". In this city, there are homeless people all over the place. I can't walk 2 blocks without having at least 5 people sitting on the pavement ask for spare change. They have no idea that though I've always worked and always had a roof over my head, I used to search every pocket I had for bus change on occasion. Some jobs I couldn't take because I couldn't afford the bus fare to get there. One time, years ago after moving here, it was all the rage to go to welfare when you ran out of money. So at the urging of a friend, I went to the local welfare office. I couldn't get a job, the temp agency wasn't calling and the unemployment cheques failed to show up in my mailbox. Needless to say, I felt like shit, they made me feel like shit, and I slunk out of there empty handed (government cutbacks) wondering where my natural head was at. What a blessing that was! One of the best things that ever happened to me! I had always made it through on my own, so I just left it to the universe to take care of my sorry ass. Well the universe and my pretty head. Long story short, I used my brains and talent, and an emergency loan from my actor's union to get me out of trouble. I temped in office jobs, I nude modelled for the art school, and lo and behold the unemployment cheques finally materialized in my mailbox. I worked to pay back that loan. I used my department story credit card to buy gift certificates and then I would buy one cheap thing and take the remainder in cash. I even used those gift certificates to buy food (fancy food of course!). I booked gigs and made more money in one week than some people do in a year. If I were to lose what I have tomorrow, and trust me in this hard times, that's always possible, I would survive. It's in my genes. Thank you, mother.
But that woman doesn't know that. She just looks at my fancy apartment and shoes and thinks I'm ostentatious. She thinks I've never known suffering or loneliness or unappreciation. She thinks I don't know what's like to feel defeated by things beyond my control.
Having money doesn't make your life perfect, it just makes your misery a lot more comfortable. It's nice having to distract yourself from your troubles by going on vacation or buying shoes. People with all the money in the world aren't immune to living in hellish conditions. It doesn't protect you from illness or loneliness or crazy families.
As the Buddhist say, oh, you have problems? Congratulations! You're about to grow and challenge your fundamental darkness! Congratulations again!
Newflash: We got another enquiry through our local agency, hardly any details of course, but we're submitting our profile. Oh yeah, but they had the details of the fees, though. Uh-huh.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I'm a 45 year old (with 46 rapidly running towards me) African Canadian woman who has emerged from the ashes of infertility with a few bits left to still pursue family building through adoption. I repeat, a few. I've basically lived me life in a question mark so long now that I'm severely cranky. Only my Buddhist faith ,dark sense of humour and occasional pharmaceutical has kept me from hitting the eject button. I'm happily married to a white dude from the Rockies for 7 years now though we've been together since 1854. I'm also a chronically underemployed actress/director/typist who was robbed of a blissful life of beer and skittles by the crappy economy. If you see an unattended mocha baby, please contact me at the above url.... I seem to have lost mine despite 4 IVF attempts, 2 lap surgeries, and a bag full of credit cards. My eggs weren't too shabby but the uterus had some pesky fibroids that apparently didn't like to share their real estate. Why the strange moniker? It's all explained here. I try to be as honest as I can, but I also try to create medicine out of poison. I like pretty shoes and I like to stamp my feet when I don't get my way, but since that has never worked, I've decided to give up my princess tiara to put on my crown and rule like a queen. Up to speed yet?
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Later I figure out it's the counsellor I talked to a couple of weeks ago and we had an appointment for 10am. I didn't forget, it's in my date book. She's calling from another province and obviously didn't comprehend my area code means I'm 3 hours behind her. Sigh. Rolling of the eyes. It's a common mistake with easterners. (I too believed that the whole world revolved around my city. Now that I'm safely ensconced behind the Rockies, I now only vaguely think about them.) My wacky uncle from England does it all the time but he's in his late 60s, but after the 10th time he did that at 5am, I just told him I'd call him later. I returned her call and left a message that we should just forget this counselling thing. Then of course, hubby wants to know who that was, I tell him and now he thinks there's something wrong with me and why didn't I tell him? Oh, brother. If he was privy to every thought in my head, he'd be sleeping with one eye open all the time!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
We just had our conference call with the US lawyers. I shall have to think of a suitable pseudonym for them. Hubby did most of the talking cause apparently he thinks I talk too much and he believes that less information is better than more information. Meaning I'm way too honest and open with people and he plays everything like it's a business deal. I just wanted to say hey, I've had enough, get me a baby dammit or I'm going to drown my sorrows in Manolo Blahniks!
Cause nothing says infertile and loving it better than these babies!!!!
Adoption is quite an industry in the States. There's law firms, adoption agencies, counsellors, specialists, facilitators, etc. We Canadians just love to sign up with one, take a number and wait. Cause we're so polite, dontcha know. (I did contact a Canadian lawyer and after a 2 short emails, I've forwarded my profile, but haven't heard anything back. All these lawyers seem to know one another. If that's the case, then you'd think we might have been better served with all of them in on the phonecall. I bet ya they're talking about us right now. She called you too? Ohmigod, would somebody get her a kid and get her off my back?!) We had all our questions answered and they let us know where they stood.
They had an information package with everything well presented in a straightforward and detailed fashion. We also addressed the religion issue. I have to say that Americans seem to be much more religious than Canadians and much more vocal about it. Having said that, we were told that our religion (or lack thereof) would not be a barrier for the right birth mother. I guess I've never really thought that my faith as a "religion" cause as "evangelical" as it can be, it's pretty darn inclusive. And once again, being a bi-racial couple is a plus.It was also the only time I've received positive feedback on our profile. The adoption counsellor really liked it and didn't recommend any changes! We didn't show pictures of our 4 car garage. We don't have one, but that's not the point. I thought who we were was more important to express than what toys we have. So, that was nice, since I was considering changing it a bit. I was also impressed by the counsellor's commitment to birth mothers. I'd like one of those counsellors for myself actually. How come adoptive parents don't get one? Just saying. Of course, I have all you wonderful women out there! Now I just have to get a few hard copies sent in on nice paper and all that. I have to say it feels pretty cheesy, look at us, we're great people but we can't procreate so give us yours! I'm rolling my eyes here.
Having said that, all the adoption professionals are very passionate about what they do and why they do it. They truly believe they're doing the right thing for all people concerned. And speaking for those people who desire to adopt, at least the ones I know: it's done out of sheer love as corny as that sounds. One goes from the feeling of hey, I want one of those .... to what the hell, this is a HUGE deal, I better get my act together so I don't screw with people's lives! Anything less could not give you the strength to go through this process. Years ago when we didn't really know anything about adoption, we always wanted to adopt after having one of our own. Knowing what I know NOW, mmm, yeah, I would have thrown in the towel by now. I could be singing another tune after all this is over, but I don't think so. During these hard economic times, I'm sure I would have chosen to save my resources (both emotional and financial) for other things. Just by the stories I've read along the way, there are so many deserving couples who just can't afford adoption or IVF or are so stretched by trying to meet those demands, undergo such incredible stress that all the joy gets sucked out of their lives. I know, cause I've been through it. Still going through it.
DH told me that if we don't get a match by summer, we'll go on a small vacation. As much as I would enjoy one, I can think of one thing that would be better. Any guesses on what that would be?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
So this is the colour now (primer on the left).
When we first started the adoption process, I was really excited and wanted to paint the room right away and hubby was like, whoah, slow down. The fallout last year sucked the wind out of our sails. Now he says let's get it done. I know this whole IF bag of hammers has cost him too. He is as frustrated as I am at the non-results we've had with adoption. It makes me sad to realize that he has lost his innocence, his optimism about this whole "family" thang. It's like a grim hope. Hoping for the best and expecting the worst. He can't quite indulge his penchant for boy toys to soothe his soul because of his concern over the crappy economy and the impending costs of adoption. I know he doesn't particularly like painting, but I suppose that if we had a bun in the oven, he would certainly feel more joy in this task. But he's moving in faith right now, I think, or perhaps he just wants to make me happy. Maybe a bit of both, I'm not sure. All of his peers have gone on to have children easily and as much as they complain to him about the rigors and responsibilities of parenthood, and as much as I'm sure he would delight in buying bigger and better TVs or travelling the globe, he takes great delight in hanging out with kids and reading bedtime stories. It's so sweet, it makes my heart melt and I don't think you can replace that with the joy of driving a new sports car. (But what the bleep do I know?) Sometimes it seems all we've been doing is struggling to find a purposeful joy. I guess that's why I continue in my Buddhist practice and keep on trying to understand life. I want to absolute happiness, not the jumping up and down kind when you win the lottery, the kind that allows me to withstand life's ups and down with grace and dignity and purpose. Life would seem hollow without it.
Besides my temper tantrums and spiritual efforts to rise above it all, I forget that he stands by and watches it all, unable to soothe my pain as well as his own.
At a Buddhist meeting, someone asked about what they could to to guarantee security in these hard times. And the vice director just laughed and said there was no such thing as security. There could only be an unshakable happiness and high life condition that could withstand the Eight winds.
I was pretty pissed when I discovered that for whatever reason, that I couldn't have what I wanted when I wanted it. Princesses are like that. Frequently disappointed. Having acquired my queendom, however, I know now I have to dig deep, make sacrifices, be smart and be determined. I wear armour now and have to learn how to move forward with its weight.
"A truly wise man will not be carried away by any of the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure. He is neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who does not bend before the eight winds."
Monday, March 9, 2009
When you wait, you have a lot of time to think about these things. Spending years trying to get pregnant and not doing so gives you plenty of time to think. Do I hear the amen choir?! You think about A LOT of things. You think about the kind of person you are, the person you used to be and the person you are becoming. You even think about the person you married and who they used to be and who they are becoming. And for you single women out there, you think about where the hell is Mr/Ms Right? Not everybody has the luxury of time to think about what they are doing. As you know, some people just think about getting pregnant and boom, they are. No going back then, eh?
People might say, what the hell are you doing? Quit spending all this time and money on trying to get knocked up, you crapped out a dozen times, maybe it wasn't meant to be, so get over it. Don't be so selfish! How about adopting some needy child somewhere?! What, still waiting? Maybe you should just go travelling. Get over it. (This universal advice does not apply to celebrities or people who have incredible uteri over the age of 60.) Yep, people, the thought has occurred to me about a zillion times. (When you're married, you often daydream about single again too. Cause it can be a hell of a lot easier sometimes. Just think about how many more shoes I could have acquired.) Except I've been travelling. I've been shopping. I've slept in and snuggled for years. It's all good. I enjoy it. And it hasn't changed my heart one bit. I can't predict the future, I can't control the future. But I do know that I still want to have a child.
This is not about what's EASIER. What is SIMPLER. As a matter of fact, all these years have taught me this: I would not have willingly chosen this road, but I am a much STRONGER person because of it. I am a much more COMPASSIONATE person. Through depression and raging and bitching and moaning and drinking and heartache and self pity and enlightenment and epiphanies, I am still standing. And I am not alone. I have a wonderful partner and I have wonderful friends and I have YOU all out there. Sending you waves of GRATITUDE and daimoku for giving me your ear, your blessings and your company.
My frustration is just that, frustration. It's normal. Wait times are so variable - but it can be a numbers game. Either how much money you have to pave over the path of obstacles or how much time you have to spend waiting. In North America, it can be as much as 8 years, in international adoptions, it can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. A friend of mine has been waiting close to 2 years now and has a son who is 8 months old and can't bring him home yet. Bureaucracy rules in Ethiopia.
Anyways, I had a talk with DH and I put a time limit on all this. If we don't get a match for a bi-racial child, we'll open it up. Yep, I gave the universe a deadline. Cheeky, eh? So it's a full court press this year. A re-determination to re-create our family of two into a family of three. Or more. Yes, DH is showing me doggy pictures from the pound again.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Well, I did call and ask for help, didn't I? Now that I've done some serious chanting and received guidance between the time I made the appointment and the actual conversation, I'm not so sure what I expect the counselling to accomplish. Would it give me some objective person to be held accountable to or did I just need someone to listen to me ramble on and commiserate with? I think I'll just stay open, I'm not in crisis anymore, I'm just dramatic. We'll see. Our session was up and my mental health professional chirped some reassuring words my way.
My friends and I have started a Buddhist acting group, so I went to that, and I feel a lot better. It was nice to be reminded that I am still good at something. Creativity makes me happy, so I'll be making renovations in that area as well. The sun is shining, and in this city, you never how long it will last, so off I go. I have to go get something accomplished today and something nice for myself.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
In the spiritual category, I spent the weekend attending Buddhist meetings while hubby was away. At the women's group meeting, you won't believe one of the questions that came up. It asked how to deal with raising a daughter in adoption. So we had 4 adult adoptees in attendance, one of the them being the national women's leader. They were all encouraging and emphasized openness and a great deal of love and compassion. They shared the common trait that they had felt "rootless" their whole lives and that didn't change until they met their birth families. One woman stressed the importance that the child know (in an age appropriate way) that they have been adopted from an early age via story books. Even as mature adults, these women were still in the process of healing their lives.
We met later on for coffee and I shared my struggles with her. Yeah, well, the Coles Notes' version. And in turn, she shared hers. Turns out we had a lot in common. And the Buddhist guidance part was very encouraging. She mentioned something that I've heard before - she said I was very hard on myself. True. It occurs to me I've slandered my Buddha nature. That just means, I haven't TRULY appreciated who I am and what I've done. I still find fault at not being good enough and so she counselled me to chant that with the belief that my life is so precious and every cell in my body to be bursting with life force and happiness.
There is a Buddhist saying: "Never seek the Gohonzon outside yourself". In other words, never seek happiness outside of yourself. In looking at what I don't have, comparing myself to others, of course, I found myself lacking. And to be honest, sometimes I just want to pull the plug on this whole thing cause I'm just plain tired of disappointment. I had such an amazing creative time in Banff and then I came back to reality. I think that if I had this or that, I would be happy, I would be complete. It is in this world of hunger that I suffer so much because I'm dominated by this craving for a child, for approval, for gigs, for "fill in the blank". I could have all of that and a bag of chips and STILL be unhappy, do you know what I mean? You probably know people who have it all and still bitch and moan that they can't find a good butler. Good news is that there can be Buddhahood even in hunger. One can still yearn for the happiness of oneself and others and work towards it. I need to appreciate and treasure the incredible life I do have. Every day. There are no guarantees of one's security in this world, only the opportunity to build unshakeable happiness.
"Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds."
I so appreciate and thank you for all your encouraging words and listening to me whine and stamp my feet. (I also need to stop watch N. Suleman interviews on TV - it's making me crazy!) I'll be fine. I just need to practice loving kindness towards myself a bit more and stay the course. There needs to be a shift somewhere inside of me so instead of attracting problems and barriers, I get a flow of abundance and ease.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
9. I have a nose like a bloodhound.
10. I used to be Barry Manilow's #1 fan in high school - I had ALL of his albums. Eeeks.