Friday, December 11, 2009

Once again, I can't believe it's been so long since I posted anything here. It seems like so much has been happening and now that I sit down to think about it I can't remember half of the stuff that has consumed my life since my last post! What I can remember is:

  • I had to switch agency's - even though my agency kept advising me that though they were not Hague accredited, my paperwork was fine and I had nothing to worry about. Turned out that was a load of crap. About three weeks before the CC@@ deadline, they sent an email giving me the option to drop out of the China program, switch to another country or change agency's. After 3+ years of waiting, I chose to switch agency's. Now, my fingers are crossed that there won't be any bumps in the road when I ever get a referral.

  • My best friends husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin cancer the day before Thanksgiving. It's really bad. He went in for what he thought was a consult and they ended up removing half of his face! Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, 12/15 to do a lymph node biopsy and a skin graft to close the gaping hole they left. They've been told that surgery will last 10-12 hours and then he will have to do radiation and chemo. Their whole world has been turned upside down. Cancer sucks.

  • I bumped into an old friend last week who works at my doctors office. I hadn't seen her in three years - since I went to get my physical for my dossier. The first thing out of her mouth was "how is that baby of yours? I want to hear all about her!" Ouch. That hurt. She obviously thought that I had long been home from China and was shocked to hear that I may not be any closer today that I was when I last saw her. I try so hard to not stress and think about how long it's been but I got in my car and cried all the way home.

  • I'm ready for 2009 to be over. It started bad, it's ending bad and there was a whole lot of bad in between. I'm hoping to see some of my blogging buddies get referrals early on in the new year. If that doesn't put a smile on my face then I don't know what will!

  • I'm the last person left in my department at work. I guess I should consider that to be my job security. It's been a really rough year in the construction industry and not too many people are buying luxury homes. I've been given a lot of extra work (along with my pay CUT earlier this year) and I'm hoping that it will pay off in the long run. It could be really good for me. Or I could just be a sucker.

  • The 38th & 39th anniversary of my LID has come and gone. January will be month 40 that my dossier has been collecting dust in a pile at the CCAA. Let's hope 2010 finally brings that speed up we've all been saying is about to happen.

  • I can't believe that Christmas is in less than two weeks!!! I'm leaving Saturday to head to CT to spend time with my family and I can't wait. My brothers will be home from Utah and I've made some plans to get together with some old friends I reconnected with on FB. I can't wait to see my family!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Documentary Screening

This past Saturday my local FCC, and Dr. Tony Tan from the USF College of Education, hosted a screening of a documentary on China adoptions. The documentary was filmed and produced by Dr. Changfu Chang, a Chinese professor and film maker from Pennsylvania. Both professors were born in China and have spent many years studying adoptions on Chinese children.

The documentary is called Long Wait For Home and it really is a must have for all families that adopt from China. It started off by profiling three birth families who told of their reasons for abandoning their child. It was heart wrenching to hear their stories - all three of them very different.

Then, Dr. Chang and his team were able to get footage inside an orphanage. They interviewed several of the nanny's and were able to give us a glimpse as to what life in a Chinese orphanage is really like. It was amazing and at this point I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.

Lastly, they interviewed several demographics of people in China and asked them their views on foreigners coming to China and adopting their children. Some people just had no clue and other's were very appreciative. It was eye opening.

I purchased all six of his DVD's. I feel that any insight that I will be able to give to my daughter will be worth the cost.

Most people that attended were already home with their children. They couldn't believe that I've been waiting for over three years already and still have no idea when I'll get a referral. If one more person told me that they only waited six months I was seriously going to hit them.

After the movie ended there was a Q & A session. Obviously, the first question asked was "are there really fewer babies being abandoned?" Dr. Changs answer was interesting. In short, his answer was NO. He explained it like this:

China has a population of 1.3 billion people
There are an estimated 10 million marriages per year
1/2 of those couples will get pregnant and have a baby
1% of those couples will adandon their child
That equals approximately 50,000 babies per year

So where are they? According to Dr. Chang, they are there. He has seen them. His thoughts are that they have been moved from the orphanages that participate in international adoption to the domestic orphanages in the poorer, smaller towns. This was China's way of "saving face". The fact that the rest of the world was coming to "save their children" because they could not take care of them, did not sit well with the Chinese government. Again, this is his theory. He does not believe that China will shut down the IA program but he does not expect the wait times to decrease.

I'm so glad that I went and was able to learn more about the possible circumstances that my daughter may face before I even meet her. Dr. Chang speaks at many FCC events throughout the year. I highly recommend any adoptive parent or family member to attend if he should come to a location near you.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Race For The Cure & 37 Months LID

Saturday was the 11th annual
Komen Suncoast Race For The Cure.

I walk every year to celebrate my Aunt Beth.

She was first diagnosed almost 20 years ago.

She's had more rounds of chemo than I can even remember.

When they removed the tumor on her spine,
they told her she might never walk again.

She did.

They told her should would NEVER be able to conceive a baby.

Liam Matthew was born on November 24, 2003.

When they did a PET Scan last year
her body was riddled with tumors.

When they did a PET Scan last month, they were virtually gone!

THAT is why I walk EVERY YEAR!!!!

This year I walked with my best friend Rachel, her beautiful 2 year old daughter and a bunch of her "mama friends".

Talk about odd man out ~ I was the only one not pushing a stroller :o(

Me & Rachel

The "mom's" made these cute t-shirts for all the kids!

On a completely separate, and much more depressing note,
today I've been logged in for 37 months37 months closer to my dream!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I can't believe it is the last day of September!

It's amazing how time goes so quickly yet so slowly.

I went home to CT a few weeks ago. My sister was having a dinner party for her co-workers that were so supportive of her when she was going through the stroke, surgery, recovery, etc. She asked me to come home so that I could meet them all since I had emailed and spoken with many of them during that time. It was great to have the opportunity to meet them and they were all as amazing in person as they were in email and phone conversations. She really is lucky to have such a wonderful group of co-workers who are real friends!

Last weekend was my 6th annual summer bash! My best friends husband plays in a band and we clear out my living room furniture and set them up in there. There's lot's of great music, good friends and jello shots! A good time was had by all :o)
The band was awesome!!
My best friend Rachel and I

Shots of Goldschlager!

I finally heard from my agency today about the Hague accreditation nightmare. They forwarded an email from the agency that facilitates my adoption sent but not from the actual Hague Accredited agency that my dossier is registered with. I'm still not satisfied.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

So, when the announcement came out last week from JCICS that effective 12/1/2009 all adoptive families must be registered with a Hague accredited agency, I emailed my agency. They are not Hague accredited and I wanted to know how this would affect me. They of course had no idea. They suck.

They sent an email a few days later stating that they "believe" that the dossiers for their China families are ok and we have nothing to worry about. I'm sorry, WHAT? You believe that I'm ok? Um, yea, that's not good enough.

I emailed back and asked if I could get it in writing from the other agency that I am ok and that there will not be any problems when my referral finally comes. I'm mean, based on the fact that you believe my dossier is ok, it shouldn't be a problem. Right? Their answer was "I am seeing what I can do". What the hell does that mean????

I finally called Martha who was in charge of my agency's China program at the time that I signed on with them. Did I mention that it wasn't until about six months after she left that my agency actually sent me a letter to tell me so? Whatever. She actually now works for the Hague accredited agency that my dossier was filed through. I called her and she reassured me that everything was fine.

After I vented, and said a few not-so-nice words about my agency, she told me to call her any time with any questions that I have. Pretty nice of her, huh? If only my agency made themselves so available.

I'm still don't feel 100% sure about everything. I'll give my agency a few more days, but I'm gonna be pissed if I can't get it in writing and I get screwed in December. Can you even imagine? Three years of being logged in, three times renewing my paperwork, three years of loving someone I don't even have to know in order to already love.

My agency SUCKS!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Whole Lot Of Random Thoughts

How is it possible that on one hand I feel like time is flying by and on the other I feel like I really am on the slowest boat to China? I can't believe that it is almost the middle of September already. Before you know it we will be in the midst of the holiday season!! YIKES! appears that the only thing that makes me feel better about how sorry I feel for myself that I have been LID for so long, is to shop for Maggie. Holy Moly - I got some kick a$$ deals in the last few weeks on some really cute clothes for my girl.

Funny thing is, it makes me feel better until I get home and realize that I have no idea when she will be here to wear all of it. And then I get sad again. But I'm over it. For now.

Have you ever seen the show on Discovery Health called Adoption Stories? This show comes on at 6:30am during the week and I am addicted to it. I've only seen one show about a China adoption. Most are from Guatemal@ or Indi@. I don't recommend watching this show if you have been waiting for what seems like forever to adopt your child and especially not while you are trying to get ready for work. Some days I just can't stop the tears while I watch. If I cry this much watching families be made on TV, what am I going to be like when I finally meet Maggie? Probably a big fat blubbering mess!

I've taken two business trips in the last month to places that I have had to fly to. I am convinced that on both flights, the co-pilot was most certainly a teenager and I'm pretty sure that it was the very first flight for one of them. This poor guy was sweating like a pig. It was a small plane where he had to close the airplane door and check to make sure our seatbelts were securly fastened and I really thought the guy was going to pass out. It made for a real smooth flight just knowing that he was second in control. Umm, NOT!

My best friends daughter turned two this week.

I can't believe that it's been two years since I witnessed her being born. She is an amazing little girl who is full of sass and has all the attitude red heads are known for! She makes me smile and fills that empty place in my heart.

Next week I'm heading north for a visit with Katie. Wednesday was seven months and four days since her stroke and she was finally back at school with a room full of kids! She has endured so much in the last seven months and has overcome so many obstacles. She is truly amazing and I am so proud of her. I can't wait to see her and have our "sista time" together!

I'm also going to get to see my very first best friend!! I haven't seen or spoken with her in years. We reconnected on FB and spent two hours on the phone this week. We picked up right where we left off and I haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time!! It will be great to see her.

My aunt just got a clean bill of health from her oncologist! She recently had a pet scan and her doctor said the results were excellent!! Once again, prayers have been answered!

Last but not least, Kris is meeting her daughter this coming Monday in China!! I've been following her blog forever and cannot wait to see her with her beautiful daughter Ellis. It gives me hope :o)

Friday, September 4, 2009

That time of the month...

1095 Days


156 Weeks


36 Months


3 Years

However you look at it, it's been a long time.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I-600A x 3

I think the old saying says "third time's a charm". We shall see. Today I filed my 3rd I-600A and I have a feeling it will not be my last. Not with two days of referrals coming out each month.

It is what it is and there is nothing I can do to change it.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I had the most amazing dream on Wednesday night.

A completely silent dream.

I dreamt that I finally met my girl.

The first dream I've ever had about her.

She was beautiful.

More beautiful than I had ever imagined.

We looked at each other for the longest time.

Me, astonished that this was really happening.

Her, not sure of what was really happening.

She was so beautiful.

It was amazing.

We just kept staring at each other.

And then she smiled.

My heart melted.

She was so beautiful.

And then the alarm went off.

Damn alarm.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blog slacker....

WOW - I really suck at this whole blogging thing! It's been three months since I've even logged into this blog. LID's 33, 34 and 35 have passed me by and now I'm coming up on three years and still waiting for my daughter. Who woulda thunk it?!?

It seems like so much has been going on and I really want to try and make a better effort to journal things so that I have something to look back at. In no particular order:

  • For as slow as the China program is moving, the summer seems to be flying by! The last week of June was spent with most of "the girls" from my family. They all flew down and were here to celebrate my birthday with me. We had a lot of laughs and it made me realize once again how much I miss being with my family.

  • Mom and Katie spent three weeks with me. The flight down was pretty rough on Katie and she ended up with severe headaches and an upset stomach for the first few days that she was here. She was still having double vision from her surgery in April and was pretty uncomfortable being out in public with her eye patch on. Once again, our prayers were answered when she woke up one morning and could see clearly!!! No more double vision!!! No more eye patch!!!

  • I was sad to see she and Mom leave but I know that she was anxious to get home and get on with her life. She was finally able to move back into her own house after living with my parents since her stroke on February 5th. She is driving, going out with friends and living as if nothing ever happened! Hallelujah!!

  • There have been more layoffs at work. Many of my friends have been let go and my office that once had 110 people in it, now has 28. Scary stuff. Although I feel fairly safe, you just never know. People that had been with our company for 20+ years are now out looking for jobs. It's not even a fun place to work anymore :(

  • I recently found out that a friend from high school suddenly passed away. We weren't close friends but pretty much grew up together. We were in girl scouts together and on the swim team. It made me really sad when I heard it.

  • I've become addicted to faceb**k! It's been so much fun to catch up with old friends and be able to peek into their lives.

  • My best friends daughter is about to turn two! When I first started even thinking about adopting, she and her husband were pretty positive that they were never going to have kids. In the time that I've been logged in, they changed their minds, got pregnant, had a baby and now she will be two. Two freakin years old and I am still waiting. That sucks.

  • Several of the people whose blogs that I have been following for years, finally received their referrals and have been to China and back already. It's been really exciting to see them united with their daughters and to see how these kids fit perfectly with the family that was chosen for them. It gives me hope.

I'm sure there's more that has been going on, but that's the best I can do for now!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Another Mother's Day. Another year that I am still not a Mom. It's ok because I know that with every day that passes, I am one day closer.

I spent the day thinking about my Mom and I am sad that I could not be with her today.

By the time she was my age she had five children. She was a stay at home mom and I cannot remember a time when she was not there for me or for my sister and brothers. She was at every sporting event, concert and everything else that we were involved in. It didn't matter if we weren't the best, or our team didn't win. She was our biggest cheerleader and didn't hesitate to let us know how proud she was of us.

It's because of my Mom that I wanted to become a Mom. She was born to be a Mom. If I had one wish it would be that I will be as good of a Mom to Maggie as she was to me.

I love you Mom!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Thirty Two

Thirty two months closer.

Not in my wildest dreams did I think it would take this long.

According to this site, I can expect a referral on 10-13-2012.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Phoenix - Part 4 - Home

After getting the good news from the doctor on Monday that Katie's incision was healing nicely, we were all more than ready to pack our bags and head home. We all left Phoenix on Tuesday.

The people at the Phoenix airport were so helpful in getting Katie a wheelchair to take her to her gate and upgrading their seats so that Mom, Dad and Katie could all sit together. As Katie's luck would have it, they boarded the plane and were then told that there was an hour and 40 minute delay. Mom and Dad were able to get off the plane to get them something to eat and Katie stayed aboard to rest.

They had an uneventful flight and arrived at JFK at 8:30pm. Aunt Sue was there waiting and ready to take them home. Mom and Dad said that Katie did great on the flight and was able to lay her head on Mom's lap for most of the way.

Wednesday and Thursday were rough days for Katie. She said she felt lousy and slept most of the time. She had a headache and was nauseous. We think it was because of the traveling as she seems to be doing better.

Yesterday was her appointment with the neuro ophthalmologist. She is still having severe double vision and we were hoping the doctor could give us an idea of when it might go away. The doctor told her that although there was no damage to the optical nerve, it was very close to where they operated on her brain stem and it could take nine months to a year before her vision is back to normal. Obviously, this is not what we were hoping to hear. If it does not correct itself they will have to do another surgery to repair it.

Katie's spirit's are good. It's been amazing for me to watch my sister go through this. She is so brave and so determined to not let it get the best of her. I admire her strength and am so proud to call her my sister. I miss her and can't wait to see her again.

Phoenix - Part 3 - After Surgery

The following are excerpts from the emails we sent to family and close friends:

4/11/09 - Katie had a rough night. She was sick from the anesthesia and is still in a lot of pain. They are giving her a variety of anti-nausea and pain medications to try and get it under control and make her more comfortable. She will be in ICU for at least two more days and then they will move her to a regular room.

4/12/09 - AM Update - Happy Easter! Katie is doing much better today! Yesterday was rough but they managed to get her pain under control. She was pretty out of it for most of the day. They are going to keep her in ICU for another day or two and then may release her rather than transfer her to a regular room. She looks great today. They got her out of bed and this caused some dizziness. We just ordered her a bagel and she is hoping that will help to alleviate that. She is more alert and does not seem to be in as much pain.

PM Update - The doctors and nurses say that Katie is doing very well. The physical therapist came in today to get her up and out of bed. They did all kinds of tests on her and she passed with flying colors. Unfortunately, she is in a lot of pain and said that today was the worst pain that she has had so far. Getting out of bed and sitting for even two minutes was excruciatingly painful for her. She is very dizzy and her vision in blurred. Seeing her in so much pain is almost as hard as it was to see them take her away for surgery.

4/13/09 - AM Update - Katie had a decent night. She was able to get some sleep and her pain seems to be more bearable today. The occupational therapist came in this morning and did all kinds of tests on her. He got her out of bed and she lasted much longer than she did yesterday. Her vision is still blurred and the pain increases the longer she is in the upright position. We will try again with her later as he said that she should try and get up every 1-2 hours. I can see in her face that this is torture for her.They will be removing the lumbar drain hopefully later today and this will allow her to be more mobile. At that point they are going to make her walk and I know she is not looking forward to that.We haven't seen the doctor yet today so we don't know the results of the latest MRI but as I said earlier, everyone says she is doing great. We can see a big improvement since we left her last night. Shortly after we got here this morning she asked "Who have you talked to?", "are there any emails?" and "have you let everyone know that I am doing ok?" I read her all the emails that we received and she even laughed out loud at several of them.

PM Update - Katie is improving every day. We got her out of bed several times today and although the pain gets to be unbearable, she is always willing to give it a try. They removed the lumbar drain and now all she has left is the IV line. Even though it is now 10pm Phoenix time, they are still talking about moving her from ICU to a regular room tonight and possibly releasing her tomorrow. We think it's too soon. She still has tremendous pain after sitting upright for more than 4-6 minutes and her vision is so blurry that it makes her nauseous.

4/14/09 - AM Update - It is a new day and we have so much to be thankful for. Katie had a good nights sleep and is feeling better today. She is still experiencing quite a bit of pain when she sits up but the dizziness and blurred vision seems to be slowly improving. The occupational therapist was just here and he got her out of bed for a stroll around the ICU unit. She did very well but is now fast asleep as it seems to have worn her out. The good thing is that whenever she gets woken up for these activities she is ready and willing to do them. When he came in and told her what he wanted to do, she said "Let's do it!". She seems to be more tolerant of the walking than just sitting still.We are hoping that they will keep her here for at least one more night. The thought of bringing her back to our condo at this point really makes us nervous as we will be a good 30 minutes from the hospital God forbid something was wrong. They will hopefully move her to a regular room where she can finally take the shower she has been asking for since Saturday :o) The original plan was for her to have the sutures removed on Monday morning, 4/20 and then to catch a flight later that day for home. We are hoping for that to be the case but are making preparations to stay just in case she is not yet feeling up to traveling.

PM Update - Katie did much better today. After the occupational therapist came in this afternoon, we got her out of bed several more times to walk the halls of ICU. She was bound and determined to stay upright for as long as she could take it and she did GREAT! The pain was still there, the dizziness was still there, but she did it! Her surgeon came to see her this afternoon and decided that it would be best to keep her for at least one more night. They were going to move her to a regular room tonight but had not yet done so before we left. The ICU nurses were amazing and took such good care of her. As hard as it is for us to leave her at night, we know that she is in good hands. It is amazing to see how much she is improving every day. To think that on Saturday she could not even open her eyes or lift her head off the pillow, and today she was walking the halls, is unbelievable. We even gave her a shower this afternoon! She had been asking for one since Saturday and said she felt like a new woman afterward. Her incision looks to be healing nicely. It's much bigger than we first thought but unless you ask her to show it to you, you will most likely never see it.

4/15/09 - AM Update - Katie was moved out of ICU and into a regular room last night. She had a good nights sleep but seems to have more pain this morning than she had yesterday. The doctor was in this morning and said she is doing great. They are definitely going to release her today as he thinks she will recuperate better out of the hospital.

We just had her out of bed and she walked the halls of the 6th floor neuro unit. It was a much longer walk than yesterday but she did great. She is now using a walker and that helps her to stay steady on her feet. Now she is back in bed and fast asleep - these walks seem to exhaust her and they make her head hurt even more.

Hopefully our next update will be from the comforts of our condo in Scottsdale. We are hoping that she will feel well enough in the next few days to be able to sit out on the patio and enjoy the warm sunshine that we are having here.

PM Update - Katie was released from the hospital and is now resting comfortably in the king size bed at our condo!!! She is feeling great and eating some cheese and crackers as we speak. They sent her home with a walker to help with her balance and an eye patch to help correct the double vision. She keeps referring to herself as Katie Sparrow (as in Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean). Her scar is healing nicely. They only shaved about a 1" wide by 6" long strip of her hair and the incision is about 5"-6" long. If you ever want to see it, you will have to ask her to show it to you. It's quite a battle scar. She has an appointment on Monday morning to have the stitches removed and then hopefully some R&R by the pool for a few days before she flies home. You know how my sister loves a good tan!! Several cards and gift baskets have been delivered to the condo here and she was thrilled to read and see them when we came in. We on the other hand, (Mom, Dad and Suzie) were excited to eat something other than the hospital food we have been living on for the last six days!!

4/16/09 - Katie settled in to our "home away from home" nicely and is feeling better and better every day. Yesterday afternoon we walked around the complex here. It was a sight to see - Katie in her pj's, eye patch, crazy hair and a walker. Only a few people stopped to stare. She was feeling well enough on our return to sit at the table and eat dinner with us. This was a big change from the picnics we were having in her hospital bed. For the first time since this ordeal began on February 5th, we all slept great last night! I think we averaged about 10 full hours. It is such a relief to have the worst of this over and to see her improving all the time. This morning, after having breakfast in bed (again), Katie took a real shower. We are now getting ready for another walk as it is a beautiful day here in Scottsdale. Hopefully, most people will be at work so we won't have too many gawkers.

4/17/09 - It is now 11am Friday morning and we just got back from our first walk of the day. Katie did great although her eyes are bothering her more today than they previously have. We are hoping that it means her vision is on it's way back. I don't know if I mentioned in any of my first emails, but our brother Tim and sister-in-law Barbara were here and were able to stay through Katie's surgery. It was awesome having them here and they were so supportive not only to Katie but to Mom, Dad and I as well. Tonight, our other brother KC and sister-in-law Jodi are arriving for the weekend. Katie is excited and if you know KC and Jodi, you know that we are in for a lot of laughs. Unfortunately, our brother Tom had to work so he stayed behind in CT. He's been doing a great job of taking care of Katie's dog Roxy who she has said more than once that she can't wait to snuggle with her! We booked flights for Tuesday for Katie, Mom and Dad to fly back to CT and me to FL. We are anticipating that the doctors will say that everything looks great and she is free to go home and get on with her life.

4/18/09 - KC and Jodi arrived last night, Mom cooked a delicious dinner using a lot of the food from the gift baskets that were delivered and we all managed to stay awake until 9:30pm! Katie was excited yesterday because she "skyped" with several of her friends from the school where she teaches. She was as excited to see them as they were to see her and her spirits were definitely lifted. Katie had another good day today. We went for a few "pirate shuffles" around the complex and at one point even ventured outside the gates of our home away from home. We knew that Katie was well on the road to recovery when she suggested a trip to a local restaurant for a "skillet cookie" dessert. We had one last week when we first arrived in Phoenix and she did not want to leave without having another. The second time was as good as the first and we all left with our bellies bulging. Mom and Dad bought eye patches today and we laughed so hard that we were crying. We put them on and marched into Katie's room shouting out our best pirate bootie calls. Tomorrow we are going to mass at the chapel at St. Joseph's Hospital and then will lay low for the rest of the day. Monday morning at 8:30 she will see the doctor to have her stitches removed. We are all looking forward to getting home on Tuesday.

4/19/09 - We woke up this morning and Katie was feeling better than she had been so she suggested that we go to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix where they were having a Dale Chihuly exhibit. We had been talking about doing this ever since we arrived almost two weeks ago. It was a beautiful day so we all piled into our mid-sized rental car (all six of us) and off we went. As soon as we arrived, Katie said that she wasn't feeling well and she was just going to lay down in the car, but we should all go in because she knew that we really wanted to see it. So, we did what any good family whose daughter/sister just had brain surgery nine days ago would do - we left her in the car, in the hot Arizona sun and went in. It was AWESOME!!! Fortunately for Katie, the guilt hit us when it reached 92 degrees and we headed back to the car to make sure she hadn't melted into the back seat. All was well as she had chatted on her cell phone and taken a nap for almost the entire time we were in there. KC and Jodi just left and we were sad to see them go. We had a great time and a lot of laughs. Being with our brothers from Utah this past week made us realize that we don't spend nearly enough time with them. I hope we will in the future.

4/20/09 - Katie had her stitches taken out this morning and the doctor said that she was doing great. Other than being a little sore at the incision area and still experiencing double vision, she is feeling 100% better than she was just one week ago. The doctor we saw today, who was not much older than Doogie Howser, told her that she does have a titanium screw in her head but it's not big enough to set off the alarms at the airport security check. She has some restrictions but basically just needs to listen to her body and can do things as she feels ready. She has an appointment on Friday to see a neuro ophthalmologist in CT who can hopefully help her with the double vision. She did say that as soon as the double vision goes away she plans on having a nice cold margarita! It's amazing how far she has come in just 10 days. It doesn't seem possible that less than two weeks ago she was being taken away on a gurney for brain surgery. I asked her if she remembers anything from that day. The last thing that she remembers is all of us circled around her bed, holding hands and praying for her. I was glad to know that while we were a mess watching her being wheeled away, she has no recollection of anything other than how much we love her.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Phoenix - Part 2 - Day of Surgery

We awake at 4:30am. No one is speaking as we are all afraid of the day to come. Mom, Dad, Tim, Barbara and I have made a pact that we are NOT going to cry in front of Katie. I find this easier said than done and I bawl my eyes out in the shower. I am so scared. Scared for my sister. Scared for my family. And selfishly, scared for me. I know that this doctor is the best, but what if something goes wrong? What if something happens to my sister? What if she is in the 1% that are not successful?

We drive to the hospital in silence. No one speaks for fear of losing it. After all the fighting with the insurance company to get us here, none of us want to be here. We would rather be anywhere else. Anywhere, but here.

Katie checks in at pre-op and they tell her that they need another MRI. Apparently the one they did 12 hours ago wasn't good enough. Mom goes with her and Dad, Tim, Barbara and I wait in pre-op. The place is filling up fast with lots of people having surgery today. All for some type of neuro surgery.

After they bring Katie back, things start to move fast. All kinds of doctors and nurses come in. They ask questions, take blood, ask her to sign release forms, etc.

The anesthesiologist comes in and begins to explain what is REALLY going to happen in the operating room. This is when I started to lose it. He starts out by saying that they are going to attach electrodes all over her body because they will need to shock her every few minutes. When they do this, all her muscles will react and become rigid. They are going to strap her to the bed and clamp her head down. They will stick a towel in her mouth so that she doesn't bite her tongue because if she does, it can swell to ginormous sizes and turn black. OH. MY. GOD. I had to turn away because I could see that Katie was starting to cry. I could feel my heart pounding and my tears could not be stopped. I thought I was going to be sick. So much for not crying in front of her. We all lost it.

The hospital chaplain came. He told us that they have clergy on staff 24 hours a day if we need them. He spoke with Katie and tried to calm her nerves. They finally gave her something that they said would relax her. And then they said it was time to go. NO - we weren't ready! We all prayed over her, hugged and kissed her and told her that we love her. We reminded her that so many others are praying for her as well. And then they wheeled her away.

After standing in the hallway, all of us crying for what seemed like a long time, we went to the neuro waiting room. They gave us a pager and told us it would go off if there was any news from the operating room. We began to call, text and email family and friends to let them know that she was in surgery and to ask for their prayers. And then we waited.

It was amazing to receive so many emails and text messages from people that were praying for Katie. All day long people were checking in with us. People we knew, and people we didn't. We kept our family and closest friends updated via email. They forwarded our emails and then those people forwarded our emails. I can't even begin to imagine how many people, prayer groups, churches, etc. were praying for her at the very moment that she was having surgery.

Since surgery started at 9am, we knew that it could be 3pm before we heard anything. At about 2:30pm I started to freak out. I was pacing in the waiting room. I went out to the hallway because I felt like I couldn't breathe. I started to cry and couldn't stop. Dad and Tim both tried to calm me down. We were all stressed and just wanted to know about Katie.

We went back into the waiting room and noticed that one of the doctors that we met was in there calling families one by one to give them updates on their loved ones. After about three families were called, my Mom couldn't take it any more and asked about Katie. They brought us into a smaller, private room and when we got in there, Dr. Spetzler was there. He told us that "Katie did great and the surgery could not have gone any better"! Once again, we all lost it. She was in recovery and we would be able to see her within the next two hours. Praise God!!!!!

They let us in the recovery room for about a minute to see her as she was waking up. She was pretty out of it but looks GREAT!!!! They took her for a CT scan and then moved her up to ICU at about 5:30pm. She is in a lot of pain and they are trying to get it under control. She will be in ICU for at least one day, maybe two and then they will move her to a regular room. During the few moments that Katie was aware that we were there, she was asking questions like how long did the surgery take and did we keep our family and her friends updated!?!?

They said the next six weeks were going to be rough on her. Much worse then after she had the initial stoke. The worst is over. We can deal with whatever comes next!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Phoenix - Part 1 - We arrive

4/7/2009 - We made it to Phoenix for Katie's surgery! My brother Tim and sister-in-law Barbara came from SLC, picked me up at the airport and we headed for the condo to get checked in. Katie, Mom and Dad arrived a few hours later. It was great to finally be here but knowing what was ahead was on all of our minds.

My parents rented a beautiful, two bedroom condo in Scottsdale. It's about 30 minutes from the hospital that Katie will be at and they thought it would be much better for her to recover here than in a single hotel room.

4/8/2009 - Dad got tickets for a Diamondbacks game and we thought it would be a good distraction to get our minds off the upcoming surgery. Unfortunately, Barbara was sick and didn't come with us. We had a great time and a lot of laughs. We drove by the hospital just to make sure we knew exactly where it was and where we needed to go tomorrow.

4/9/2009 - Katie has her pre-op appointments today and then meets with the doctor this afternoon. Tensions are high this morning and none of us are looking forward to it. On the drive to the hospital, Katie starts to cry. My heart is breaking for her and I start to cry. Is this really happening?!? Is my sister really about to have brain surgery?!?!

We arrive in pre-op and are met by some really wonderful nurses who reassure us that Dr. Spetzler is the BEST in the world and that people come from all over to see him. The nurse that took care of her was named Rachel and I take this as a good sign as my best friend is Rachel. This makes us all feel better. Not really.

After lunch we all head to the Barrow Neurological Institute to meet with the famous Dr. Spetzler. He briefly explains what will happen tomorrow, introduces us to another doctor that will be in the operating room and asks if we have any questions. We do, but can't seem to remember all of them. He assures us that he has done this many times before, 99% are successful and because of Katie's age and good health, he does not foresee any problems at all. This makes us all feel better. Not really.

After meeting with the doctor, we are off for Katie's final pre-op appointment. An MRI. The waiting room is dank and dirty and we can't wait to get out of here. We met an older couple and the husband was having surgery in the morning as well - with Dr. Spetzler - at 9:00am - the same time as Katie! WTF?!?!?

Katie has to be back at the hospital at 6am. The surgery will start at 9am and will last 3-6 hours. We are told that she will be in ICU for at least 24 hours after that. OH.MY.GOD. This is really happening. None of us will be able to sleep tonight. Of this I am sure.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Going to Phoenix!!!

Katie finally received approval from her insurance company for an out of state referral! The doctor that she was referred to is one of the world's leading neurosurgeons and her surgery is scheduled for Friday, April 10th. It's Good Friday so I'm taking that as a good sign!!

Although I am excited that she is able to have the best doctor, I am scared for her. I mean seriously, it's freakin brain surgery!!!! It's a 4-6 hour surgery and I'm sure they will be the longest hours of my life.

I'm outta here on Tuesday to meet up with her in Phoenix. Keep praying!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

  • Insurance companies suck. My sister was referred to a doctor in Phoenix and her insurance company denied it because it is an out of state referral. They told her they would find someone in CT who can do the surgery and the doctor they sent her to has NEVER done the type of surgery she needs. It's still a big nightmare and she has appealed her case but no luck as of yet.

  • My Dad was here for three weeks and he left this morning. He comes every year for spring training and we always have a lot of fun while he is here. As much as I will miss him, Duke will miss him even more. He cried as Dad drove away this morning. It was sad.

  • My brother is having surgery next week to remove a mass from his neck. My poor Mom (who has been helping Katie deal with all her medical issues) is flying to SLC to spend time with him and to help out.

  • The weather here has been amazing! Sunny, breezy and in the high 70's or low 80's every day. I made the mistake of putting on my bathing suit yesterday to try and catch some rays and came to the realization that I need to diet. Big Time. Enough said.

  • I'm addicted to Faceb00k! I love reconnecting with old friends. I'd forgotten about so many people and I had to get out my high school yearbook to look them up and remember who they were. Is that bad??? I found out that one of the girls I graduated with has adopted two girls from China. She and I have emailed back and forth and she shared a lot about her story with me. Someone else that I went to school with adopted a girl from Korea. I never would have know this without Faceb00k!!!

  • I still have a job. I should be happy, right?? Not so much.

  • The rumors are flying again. I try and try but I just can't seem to stay away from them. A few people who's blogs I have been following for what seems like FOREVER are on the verge of referral and it is very exciting. I hope that they will finally be able to see the faces that they have dreamed about for so long! Bring it on CC@@!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Catching Up

I made it home to CT to see Katie and I think the weekend was good for both of us. I know that I felt better just seeing that she really was ok and she started to feel better while I was there. We had a great time just lounging around our parents house - talking, laughing and doing all kinds of research on hemorrhagic strokes and cavernous malformations. Sounds fun, I know!

Her doctor told her that eventually she will need surgery to repair the rupture and that he wasn't sure if it would be invasive or non-invasive. He referred her to a doctor in Phoenix who is supposedly the best of the best. She sent all her tests, medical records, etc. and we waited for them to call. Obviously, we were hoping for non-invasive. They called her Friday night and said that it would definitely be invasive surgery and that she would be in the hospital for five days. We are waiting now for them to schedule the surgery :o(

Sucks. Big. Time.

Last week Dad came down for some spring training baseball. He's been going to games just about every day and will be here for about a month. On Sunday, Adam's mom came to town to spend some time with us. There were lot of laughs and a lot of tears as we talked about how much we miss Adam. I can't believe that it's been four years since he left us. It still doesn't seem real.
Gail left on Tuesday and my brother KC and sister-in-law Jodi came into town on Thursday. Poor Jodi had the flu by the time she got here and spent all day Friday in bed with a fever. KC, Dad and I went to see the Pirates vs the Rays in Bradenton with KC's high school friend Scott.

Fortunately Jodi was better on Saturday after a walk and some fresh air. We went down to the beach for lunch, drinks and the sunset. It was a beautiful weekend - sunny and in the 80's - finally!! We had a great visit and then they were headed back to SLC and cold weather.

Oh yeah - I've officially been logged in for 30 months now. Time flies when you are having fun :o) Let's hope I'm at least half way there!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Missing you...

March 8, 1970 - March 6, 2005

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Heading to CT

This has been a crazy busy week at work but bright and early tomorrow morning I will be on my way to CT to see my sister!

There hasn't been much change in how she is feeling - still dizzy, unsteady on her feet and sounding like she is getting frustrated. She had another MRI earlier this week and there is still blood in her brain. They said it can take several weeks for it to dissipate. They also told her that she will need surgery. This whole situation sucks!

I hate that this happened to her.
I hate that she's not feeling better.
I hate that she will need surgery to repair whatever ruptured.
I hate that it's taken me two weeks to finally get to go up to see her.

But most of all...I hate that I am so far away.

I guess I'm just a "hater" right now :o(

I can't wait to see her and give her a big hug!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Prayers answered!!

Katie is home! They released her from the hospital today. They don't know what caused the stroke as she is only 36 years old and in perfect health. There does not seem to be any neurological damage and other than still having a headache, she is doing great!

The phone call from my mom telling me what had happened was the worst thing that I have ever experienced. I have never felt so scared and helpless in all my life. I was in Florida and Katie was in Connecticut and all I wanted was to be there by her side. I knew how I was feeling after hearing the news so I couldn't even imagine how she felt.

Imagine someone telling you "Your brain is bleeding. You need to go to the emergency room. NOW. By ambulance because we can't waste any time". It makes me cry just typing that. I love my sister so much. Not only are we sisters but she is my best friend. She knows everything about me. We have been through a lot together and she has been my rock during this long adoption process.

The emails and prayers from people I don't even know amazed me. I believe in prayer. I've seen miracles happen with my Aunt and now with my sister and I thank God she is ok.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Prayer Request

My mom called me tonight to tell me that my sister Katie was in the hospital. She was having terrible headaches and when she got to school this morning (she is a teacher) her principle noticed something was "off" and sent her home. Katie went to see her doctor who in turn sent her for a CAT scan. They found bleeding on her brain and immediately sent her to the emergency room. After having an MRI and running all kinds of tests, they have determined that she had a hemorrhagic stroke. The bleeding is too deep in her brain to do any kind of surgery and at this point they don't know what has caused it. She will get the results of the MRI tomorrow morning.

If anyone out there is reading this - please, please, please pray for my sister Katie. She is my very best friend and I need for her to be ok.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

29 Down....

29 months = 884 days waiting to be a mom. No end in sight.

Another month has come and gone

and I don't feel any closer than I did when I started.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Xin Nian Kuai Le

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Happy Chinese New Year 2009!

I hope this year brings many waiting families together
with the one they have been longing for!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rumor has it....

After the crappy start to my new year, I must admit that I was excited when I read the first rumors about referrals. I actually let myself get excited and thought that maybe there really was going to be a speed up and that the CC@@ was finally getting their butt in gear. Rumors were pointing to a 3/23/06 cutoff off date. I should have known that it was too good to be true.

Today, the RQ site said they it is looking more like two days instead of the original 23. I felt so sad when I read that. Sad for myself and everyone still so far from a referral. But I felt really sad for those with a March '06 LID. I have been following so many of their stories for so long now and my heart just breaks for them.

When I first got a singles slot and began preparing my dossier, I found myself addicted to reading the blogs of those in line ahead of me. Although I've never met any of these women in person, I feel connected to them. They have shared their hopes, dreams, families and heartbreaks with so many in the adoption community. I've laughed at their funny stories and cried with them when they were sad. These blogs are what help me to endure the longest wait of my life.

I pray that things do speed up. Sooner. Not later.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year

It's been a while...

The drive to CT was LONG. Katie ended up not being able to fly down to FL so that she could drive with me because of a blizzard in the Northeast. Instead, my Aunt Sue flew down a day earlier so that I would have some company. We drove for 14 hours the first day and 9 the second but finally made it to my parents by 5pm on Saturday. We woke up on Sunday to a blizzard! It was beautiful but Duke didn't know what to make of it. Poor thing couldn't go #2 for a few days because he couldn't find a patch of grass to do his business in.

Liam loved taking Duke out for walks!

I've lived in Florida for 15 years and have never spent a Christmas here. I can't. I don't have any family here and I can't imagine not being with the people that I love the most. We have always spent Christmas with my Mom's sisters and their family's. Everyone comes to my parent's house and we have a blast. We have a lot of traditions - it starts at Katie's on 12/23 for her annual "night before Christmas Eve party". We eat, drink and play a game called "pass the parcel". It's a great way to get the holiday started.

On Christmas Eve we go to an early mass and then to my parents for dinner. It's always been our family and "everyone else that doesn't really have anyone or anywhere to go". There's no telling how many people will be there! For as long as I can remember, my parents have opened their home to those that are less fortunate than us and Christmas is no exception.

Once we get my five year old godson to bed, Santa comes! Unfortunately, Santa is usually a bunch of adults that have had too much to drink and are trying to put together toys with a million pieces :o)

Christmas morning we all meet in the kitchen for coffee, tea and the best coffee cake I have ever tasted (it comes from a bakery in NJ). We gather in the living room to read the story of Jesus' birth and to place the baby Jesus in the manger. My Dad reads the story from a book he got when I was a teen. Each year is written on the inside cover with the name of the child that placed baby Jesus in the manger. It's really neat to be able to look back to see when each of the five kids in my family did it as well as the names of others that have been with us through the years. After the story, we head to the basement to see what Santa has brought and to open our presents.

I can't wait until Maggie is here to start sharing these traditions with her as well as create our own. She is already so loved not only by me, but by all of my family. For the third Christmas in a row, there were presents under the tree for her. Although I loved everything she was given, my favorite was bath towels with her name embroidered on them from her Aunt Katie. I have a feeling my girl is going to be very spoiled :o)

All the kids with the giant "parcel"
at Katie's Christmas Eve Eve Party

Beautiful towels from Maggie's Aunt Katie
I had a great time being home with my family and the drive back to FL was long. My Mom drove back with me and we were able to spend some really good one on one time together - something we don't often get to do.

And now it is 2009. If this first week is any indication of what is to come, I'm not sure I'm looking forward to the rest of the year. I've been sick since New Year's day, 10 people in my office got laid off on Monday, the rest of us were given a 10% pay cut on Tuesday and a close friend and co-workers wife passed away this morning. Oh yeah - my 28 LIDaversary was on Sunday. So far it's kind of sucky.

I'm ready for some good news - bring on referrals :o)