Friday, October 27, 2006

Backing Down

Okay, okay ... I'm going to leave Madonna alone now.  I watched her speak on the Oprah show (which I never, ever watch ... I even TiVo'ed it so I could see it).  Okay ... and she does have a point about the media putting words in the mouth of the baby's birth father.  They can be ruthless.  And so what if they waived her residency requirement?  Celebrities get special treatment all the time.

It was a dark and gloomy night.  Make that day.  Rain is falling ... the wood floor guy is here hammering and sawing, George is here doing some finishing-up work (lights in the cabinets and filtered water thing).  I got busy and unpacked all the boxes of kitchen crap that we boxed up before the remodel.  Put a lot of stuff in boxes for Goodwill and for the attic.  The kids' Fall Festival was postponed due to the rain, and I'm not too upset about that. 

I don't have anything earth shattering to blog about ... there's a surprise!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Madonna Responds to my Blog

(Yeah right.  If you believe that, I have some real estate in the Mojave Desert you might be interested in...)

"My husband and I began the adoption process many months prior to our trip to Malawi. I did not wish to disclose my intentions to the world prior to the adoption happening as this is a private family matter. After learning that there were over one million orphans in Malawi, it was my wish to open up our home and help one child escape an extreme life of hardship, poverty and in many cases death, as well as expand out family.

Nevertheless, we have gone about the adoption procedure according to the law like anyone else who adopts a child. Reports to the contrary are totally inaccurate. The procedure includes an l8 month evaluation period after which time we hope to make this adoption permanent. This was not a decision or commitment that my family or I take lightly.

I am overwhelmed and inspired by my trip to Malawi and hope that it helps bring attention to how much more the world needs to do to help the children of Africa.

My heartfelt thanks for all the good wishes I have received and I hope the press will allow my family some room for us to experience the joy we feel to have David home.

Madonna Ritchie October 17, 2006 London, England"

Okay, even if everything is on the up and up, that doesn't change their residency requirements, and apparently the 2 year evaluation period has been shortened to 18 months.  Maybe she bought a house in Malawi to establish her residency there?  Hm.


Adopting from Malawi? I don't think so!

Just for grins I checked out the adoption requirements for Malawi:

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Adoptive parents must be resident in Malawi to adopt.

TIME FRAME: Malawian law requires a lengthy pre-adoption foster care period (at least two years). 

PLEASE NOTE: Adoptive parents must foster a prospective adoptive child for 24 months in Malawi before an adoption may be finalized.

ADOPTION PROCEDURES IN MALAWI: Prospective adoptive parents often identify a child for adoption through local churches, orphanages, hospitals or missions.  They then need to retain a lawyer to handle the application. The lawyer files a petition with the Magistrate Court of the district in Malawi where the adoptive parents reside. Once that is done, the Court chooses a social worker to be the child’s "Guardian ad Litem” who investigates the circumstances of the prospective adoptee(s) and submits a Court Social Report (a home-study) to the High Court.  The Guardian ad Litem monitors the adoptive family during the 24 months by making home visits. After the 24 month foster care period is completed, the Court will rule whether the adoption can be finalized. The 24-month period starts from the time the child is placed in the home of the adoptive parents.

These are some of the strictest adoption laws that I know of.  And I do know a lot about international adoption.  The two-year thing really blows Kazakhstan out of the water!  Ha!  And we were griping about being there for 5 WEEKS!

Now, I know that Meg Ryan waited over a year for her daughter from China.  I'm not sure of the circumstances of Angelina's adoption from Cambodia.  I know that there was a lot of hoo-ha about the fact that Cambodia was closed to US adoptions at the time, but I also heard that because Angelina's mother is French, (or French-Canadian?  My fact-checker is on her coffee break) AJ may hold dual citizenship.  That is completely unconfirmed, but would make me feel better if it was true.   I do know that she used a US adoption agency (Wide Horizons) to adopt Zahara, and I assume (making an ass out of u and me, I guess) that she went through proper channels.  I would HOPE that an agency with the stature of WH would require anyone, even one of such lofty status as AJ (oops let me dig my tongue out of my cheek) to follow the rules as written.  I know that our agency does not readily suffer fools, and I can see Jim (director) rolling on the floor laughing if asked by some lofty person to bend some rules. 

So ... I guess my stand today is that Madonna gets a big thumbs down from me (such as it is worth) ...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Baby's Hitting the Sauce

I swear, sometimes Melanie gets so worked up giggling and acting up -- doing the sistah dance and shaking her head -- that it seems like she's drunk!  You know, the slack jawed laugh as if you just told the funniest joke on the planet ... and be honest!  Haven't you ever had to help your soused roommate put on her pajamas ... complete with limp body and flailing arms & legs?  That's exACTLY what it's like with Melanie sometimes.  The other night we ate at Olive Garden (blech) and she had a few sips of tea -- spiked with caffeine -- and it was as if she had been on a two-day bender.  Squealing and laughing, throwing her head back.  I swear if she could have, she would have called all her old boyfriends in the middle of the night and told them she loooooovved them ... well, you get my drift.  It's too funny ... she's such a tornado.

It's gotten to where I purposely don't go places with her because I know she'll be out of control.  No amount of preparation or discussion beforehand helps.  She doesn't want to ride in the buggy at Target any more, and she says, "I won't run away!"  By the time we get to the first aisle, she's disappeared, and I have to put her in the buggy (or cart, whatever you people from different geographical regions call it!) and then she proceeds to cry at the top of her lungs.  I try and try and try to just ignore it.  And I do ... talking quietly over the din, saying, "well, I'm sorry, you said you wouldn't run away, and you ran away, and now you're in the buggy" ... Eventually she quiets down, but boy are her mood swings dramatic.

Another thing I've noticed is how she is with people who come to the house.  Be it the carpenter, or Heidi the designer, or the cable guy, she always tries to take their hand and lead them somewhere, or act up and start being silly in front of them.  She'll beg them to pick her up (sometimes they'll comply, thinking aww, isn't she cute?) but part of me doesn't know how to nip this in the bud.  On the other hand I don't want to dampen her enthusiastic, happy and personable spirit!  She will go up to complete strangers in stores and get in their face and say "HI!" really loud. 

Maybe it's my age.  Why didn't someone take me aside when we were pursuing her adoption and just do the MATH?  I will be S-I-X-T-Y (60) years old when she graduates from high school!  Six-freakin'-ty.  46 year olds aren't supposed to have 4 year olds!  Our joints can't withstand the constant hammering!  Our geritol-deprived blood is too tired!  We don't think Dora the Explorer is cute any more!  With one hand I'm helping my oldest child fill out college applications and with the other, I'm saying "What color is this, Melanie?"  Goodness sakes alive.

I know all you grandmothers and friends are nodding and thinking, "Uh HUH ... I could have told you that!!"  Okay, well, go right ahead, but don't do it in front of me!  And of course, you understand that I would never in a zillion years trade her for anything.  She is a joy and full of beans and a great sparkle in our lives.  She is God's way of telling us that our family is complete.  Finished.  My cup is overflowing.  I am blessed.  But I am tired.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tirade Thursday

I read in someone's blog recently about how they seemed to offend people without even trying.  That things happened unexplicably to them, mysteriously and randomly.  I suffer from the same disease.  A few years back, I pulled out in front of a little old lady (in her opinion -- I had plenty of time and space).  She followed me to the post office, where she blocked me into my parking place, walked over to my window and proceeded to launch the most vicious four letter words at me that I have ever heard come out of a person's mouth.  I politely asked her to not use language like that in front of my child (I had Christian with me) and she said, "I DON'T GIVE A *bleep!*" and carried right on with her spouting.  I did manage to get her license number and called the police, but they wrote her off as a crazy.  Probably right.

The other day, I was in one of my mad rushes from hither to yon, picking up one child, taking another somewhere.  I looked down & realized that I was pretty near out of gas, so I pulled into the nearest station I could find, a skanky place that has been there for a few hundred years, so old that it doesn't even have pay at the pump.  Of course, as soon as I started filling up, Melanie started screaming, "Potty!  Potty!" so I dispatched Lisa to take her inside.  A few seconds later, they came out, saying there was no bathroom.  I went inside to pay for my gas, and asked if they had a rest room, or if the Chicken King next door had one.  For some reason this was totally offensive to the little old man who worked behind the counter (the owner?)  He started spouting off at me about how sick & tired he was of people coming in and pestering him for a restroom.  That he had no restroom, and "I have had it up to here with people coming and jumping all over me about not having a rest room" ... blah blah blah.

It took me a minute to realize that he was ranting at me, and I said, "I'm so sorry, but when you have a four year old who has to go, she has to go now .. ha ha ..."  But his sense of humor had retired long long ago.  He continued to rant and rave at me, and I said, "Well, you've certainly lost me as a customer, there is no call for this ..."  and he says, "Good!  I don't want your type coming in here raising cain ..."  I took my credit card and ran out, shoving the door open kind of hard.  This old coot then came running out after me, yelling all the while, running behind the car and taking down my license plate number.  "You messed up my door!  Yes you did, I have witnesses!  I'll get you for messing up my door!"  I said, "I did no such thing..." but he kept yelling.  I got in the car lickety split and drove off.  I didn't know what to do other than call 911.  By this time I was hyperventilating and crying, out of my mind scared.  The kids are all sitting in the car pie eyed scared.  The 911 operator told me to go to the police station.  After dropping the kids at home, I went to the station. 

The officer listened to my story, then nodded and said, "Yes, ma'am, we were actually just there with an ambulance, a report of a man who was having trouble breathing had to be transported to the hospital after a dispute with a customer.  I guess that would be you, hmm?"  I told him what had happened, and he nodded as if to say, "Yep, he was just another crazy..."  I've since heard from other people that they've had run-ins with this old codger before, so it's not just me.  He's just plain nuts.

Good grief!  Now I keep checking the obituaries to see if I killed him.  And all just because Melanie had to pee. 


Friday, October 6, 2006

The Light at the End of the Tunnel not a train!  We have countertops!  We have appliances!  Best of all, we have a SINK!  I took great pleasure last night in washing the dishes ... (ha!  wonder how long that will last!) and putting a few pots and pans away (away!  as in, IN THE CABINET! and not on a wire shelf in the dining room!)

Minor problems:  the granite folks cut three holes for the faucet instead of just one, and they actually had the actual faucet kit AT THE SHOP.  <scratching head>  However, they have fessed up to messing up and are going to cut a new slab and replace it next week.  AND take care of hooking the plumbing back up.  Major oops.

The crown moulding still needs to be done, as well as what they call "light rail" or moulding around the bottom of the cabinets.  I need to go buy the under-cabinet lights for George to install next week.  I went to the tile gallery (gallery!  sounds like the Louvre or something) to pick out some tile for the backsplash, and the lady is coming Monday morning to measure and give me an estimate.  <gulp>  George still needs to do some baseboards, and put glass in the cabinets with glass doors.  The floor has to be fixed and refinished.  We need to do some painting of walls and siding outside that was replaced.  Is this ever going to be done???

There was a small miscommunication about the measurement of one wall; the designer didn't tell us that she had shortened the cabinet length to account for the light switch, but we assumed that it would be the longer length, and we put the switch in the dining room.  So now we are 10" short.  After some deep head scratching and pondering, (we of course immediately dismissed the idea of doing the cabinets all over), we decided to put in a floor to ceiling shelf unit for all of my decorative *crap* (David's words!) to cover up those last 10".  An added expense, of course, but what remodel job doesn't have little surprises built in?  Heh.