Monday, August 4, 2014

More on Poland

John and I have been absorbing all things Polish lately, and trying to keep up with the Pimsleur language discs. We know enough know to throw a couple words into most conversations, even if it's just "I would like to eat lunch now," or "I don't know." The Pimsleur method is actually pretty fascinating. I learned French the traditional way in high school and college, and I have played around with Rosetta Stone, but this is totally different. The aim is to teach the language as a child would learn it. By listening to conversations and speaking, and immersion. I'm pretty impressed so far. So it's not teaching spelling or long lists of vocab, but we have learned how to order in a restaurant, how to have a "get to know you" conversation with a stranger, and how to ask for directions, and useful things like that.
I wish I could re-take French with this method. I do know a lot about random vocab and verb tenses, but I never felt like I could speak as well as a native French toddler.

http://www.pimsleur.com/

We have also been watching a lot of Polish movies. Given the history of Poland, the majority of these movies have been about World War 2. We have watched:

Beyond the Steppes
Polish subtitles-- was fun to pick out words that we knew.

In Darkness
Nominated for Best Foreign Film

Ida
http://www.musicboxfilms.com/ida-movies-98.php
This is a newer one. So good!

The Immigrant
Meh..

Spring 1941

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

 This was also something fascinating that we recently learned about:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Righteous_Among_the_Nations

The movie In Darkness was based on the true story of one of these heroes.

As I write this, John is upstairs teaching himself how to play a new Chopin song on the piano. Waltz no. 2 in C sharp minor. 

Dobranoc!  (Good night) 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weird Adoption Dreams

Now that our dossier is on it's way to Poland (right now, as I write), I think the reality of the adoption has sunk into my subconscious. It's not just a thing that maybe could happen someday, we have done the work and set the steps in motion so that it IS happening. It's exciting and terrifying. Which I think must be appropriate emotions to feel in this stage.

Dream #1:
John and I were told that we would not have to travel out of the country for some weird reason, and we would meet our children in a mall, in another city.
We go to the mall with nothing. No clothes, no strollers, no paperwork, just ourselves. We meet a woman and our two children in the crowded play area in the center of the mall. Our children were running around, playing, but nervous. They also spoke and understood English. There was a little girl with brown hair and blue eyes, and a blond haired boy that was about a year older. I don't remember what happened after that, but the expectation was that we would just swap and take our new kids home!

Dream #2:
John and I were home with our kids that we met and adopted from Dream #1. We were in an alleyway in Boise, going in the backdoor to a shop. John had the little boy with him and I was holding the hand of our little girl. They were adorable, and so sweet. Just playing with toys and jabbering away. This one wasn't a weird dream, just a happy moment in John and I being parents. 

Dream #3: (Two nights ago)
John and I were antsy to go to Poland to meet our kids, but we had not received our referral yet. We had a friend that was further along in the process, and she was on her way back to Poland for the final trip. We decided to go with her and just check everything out and see the process.
Once in Poland, we went with her to an orphanage. There was one brown haired lady working there. Our friend had already left with her new child. The orphanage worker gave us a tour of the tiny building-- it was really just a small house. There were only 5 kids there. They were all between 2-5 years old and they were all crying, piled on a daybed. The lady asked us who we were looking for, and laughed when we told her. She said that we would be waiting for years. There was one little girl, about 3, that had this beautiful, long coppery red hair and we asked about her, but were told that Americans could not adopt her. That was it. It was unsettling and odd.



To follow up with our patio update, here is a picture of it finished. It was done by the end of May I think. Pretty quick. I wish I could say that we have been enjoying it lately, but it's been too hot. Through most of June I was parked in a hammock reading.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Out of Our Hands. In a Good Way!

     Today, happily, we mailed off our dossier. It was exciting but also a little terrifying to leave such an important stack of papers at the UPS store. I've been to this one UPS store so often in the past 6 months that the staff knows me and knows about the adoption plans. They were thrilled for us that we were sending it off. In my adoption safety paranoia, I made sure that they were going to thoroughly tape the box up before mailing it off. I also was so antsy to get to the UPS store that I forgot to write down the address we were sending it to. Luckily I had most of it memorized, and they looked up the zip code. ;-)
Here is the dossier, in all it's glory. It doesn't looks like a big deal, but it is. We have two dossiers, actually. One that is perfect and official for the courts in Poland, and one that is not quite so fancy.


It's very strange to be at the point where everything with this adoption is officially out of our hands. If we have been patient before (not really), now we will be put to the test. We really have to let go of all imagined control and just let things happen as they do.
Today, I taped this to our bathroom mirror, as a daily reminder "good things come to those who wait."
I hope we can live that.
Now, I am wishing/hoping/praying that our dossier is all correct and has what it needs to be approved and sent to Poland. After that, a safe journey to Poland. Then it gets translated and notarized. THEN we get on the waiting list for a referral.

When we do get a referral, we will not be able to share pictures and juicy details about the child/children. We can tell you the age and gender and that is it. Once we pass court in Poland and we are the official parents, then we will bombard you with pictures galore- but not until then. This is all for the safety of the kids, the security of our adoption, and the future of adoptions between the US and Poland.

For now, we will try to occupy ourselves with normal life and hope that the time doesn't pass too slowly. House projects? Mini trips? Yes please. :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eeeeeeee! Happy day!

We got our USCIS approval in the mail today! It feels like we have been waiting for this step for SUCH a long time. And here we are.
This is the last thing we need before we send off our dossier to Poland. Hopefully that will happen before the end of the week! Gah! So exciting. <3


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy July!

We don't have a lot to say for an update, we are slowly moving along.  Yesterday I sent in our finalized home study for Poland to complete our USCIS application. Then we will get federal approval to adopt from Poland. That is the next big thing, and the last piece of our dossier. I am eager for this to be out of our hands and get the dossier to Poland! Hopefully soon.

Here is a video I just watched about orphanages vs. family care in Cambodia. It gives me great comfort to know that Poland is moving towards a foster care system for children. I hope that it is a successful, positive foster care system with appropriate checks and balances. The idea of foster care is lovely, but the system in the U.S. is far from perfect. Maybe Poland can benefit from learning from our mistakes?
It's shocking that in Cambodia, only 23% of children in orphanages are actually orphans (both parents have died). The rest are orphans by circumstance and hardship.




Please also see this post that an adoptive friend of mine wrote... pretty sums up about how I have been feeling lately.

http://jovialstateofmind.blogspot.ca/2014/07/why-debates-regarding-ethics-or.html

While I like the idea of helping children stay with the family, I want to be clear that this is only a good idea if the family truly wants this, can find the support, and that it is in the best interest if the child in terms of safety, access to food and clean water, etc. This is not a clear cut issue by far. Some mothers really feel that it is in the best interest of their child to be with an adoptive family-- and this should be okay and supported.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ooooh Family. More Family!

Welcome to our new niece Maisie Gelasia!

My sister and her husband welcomed daughter number 3 last Thursday, and we are all smitten with our newest family member. She's pretty neat. I am lucky enough to have a very close sister relationship, and have been present at the birth of all three of their girls. It's a bond that is so, so special to me. Love that family!

Here are some fun Maisie pictures:


 Just a couple hours old













 3 days old. Little monkey!

 With proud sister Penny (3).




1 week old with Uncle John.

John and I listening to Violet (6) read.













Our hearts all full these days!
 We are heading out in an hour or so to go camping with some friends, hopefully at this place! Idaho is pretty awesome. This is Redfish Lake, near Stanley, Idaho. About 3 hours from our house. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

I hope that by next Mother's day, I will be able to say that I am a mother to a child (or children!).  And of course that John will be able to celebrate his first Father's day shortly after. We are so, so ready to have a child in our home.



Here is a picture of my Mom, Carol. This was at my grandparents house in Modesto, CA, in the summer of 1983. She is a gem of a mother. I love her to pieces and could not imagine my life without her.




And here is a picture of John's parents, Frank and Elaine, posing for a selfie before selfies were a thing. Elaine is a wonderfully kind and artistic woman. We are very blessed to be so supported and loved by these amazing women.