Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Health Care Bill

Since it seem the world is having a tizzy over the health care bill I'm gonna put my two cents in.

I like it. Is it perfect? No, a far cry from it, but it's a start.

I'm not going to argue the pros and cons other than I like that it extends the Adoption Tax Credit for another year which is a Pro.

What really makes me angry is the nastiness spilled out from those who oppose it. It seems people will copy and paste anything they see that they happen to agree with concerning the bill without even stopping to look up the simpliest fact. EDUCATE yourself and make up your own mind. If your going to declare the bill unconstitional give me the Article and section , or the amendment you think it goes against. For your reference the Constitution is in the back of most big dictionaries. I have seen people railing it goes against X amendment so I look up that amendment and I can't for the life of me see where they are getting the arguement and when I ask how it goes against that I get treated like I'm stupid, when I'm simply trying to see things from their point of view and fact is, they can't back up their arguement they are simply spouting something they heard some crazy on talk radio say.

I don't care what your opinion of the bill is but make sure it's YOUR opinion, not your brother's, your co-worker's, your church's or your favorite talk show host.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's time for some Grass Roots Action!

Ok I've blogged about this before - at least twice - but I'm gonna do it again. You see I feel this is REALLY important, I feel it is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do for orphans beyond adopting and dozen or three (and face it most of us can't adopt more than two or three)

Stop, click on the following link, and take the 10 -15 minutes to write your two senators and the representative from your district concerning HR213. This bill will extend the Adoption Tax Credit. This link will give you sample form letters, easy links to get in touch with the right reps for your district and information on who is co-sponsoring the bill. Jennifer has done a good job putting all this together don't let it be all for naught.

Please just don't sit around on your hands with this. Let your congress people know you want this bill passed! If you've written in the past, write again!

I'm also challenging you to put a link to this on your facebook page, your blog, and to spam your friends and family. Get the word out!

Honestly I'm not one to get involved in political stuff. I'll voice my opinion about who I want for office with a yard sign, I'll go vote, occasionally hubby and I will argue a political point or two, and I do mean argue - opposites attract ya know. I do not normally go all out writing congresspeople about every issue, I don't harass friends and family to do it either; but I can't let a tax credit fall by the wayside that gives untold families the ability to adopt that normally no have the chance at affording it.

If you have claimed this tax credit, or you will complete an adoption this year and claim it, you owe it to those behind you to take this one simple step to secure their ability to adopt.

Use your power as an American to speak up!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Year Mark

Two years ago today was our appointment with the SDA in Kiev, Ukraine. Nervous does not even begin to describe how we were feeling walking into the inconspicuous door on the side of large non-descript government building. Would we be shown children in our age range? Would be shown children with disabilities that would be way beyond our ability to tackle? We weren't even sure if it'd be a boy or a girl. Had we just mortgaged our house for a trip to a country we would have never vacationed in? We were shown several files, most of the children had severe disabilities, more than we could ever have taken on, generally we didn't even need the scant information given us about the child, it was easily seen in his/her picture. We were reluctant and starting to discuss the possibility of asking for another appointment when the lady left the room and came back with Igor's file. The little information we were given on him was shaky but but much less scary than the other and the picture was of a completely normal appearing infant though we knew he was much older

Igor's referral picture at SDA, about 5 months old

After a day of waiting on paperwork, sightseeing in Kiev and an overnight train ride across the country we met Igor.

Second visit with Igor on the afternoon we met him.

I'll let you go through back to March '08 for all the details of the next few days. Today is another story though. Today marks the anniversary of our very scared and tentative agreement to go see this child. Though it was a couple of more days before we actually saw Igor and a few more days before we made the commitment to him to be his parents. March 11 will always be an important date in our family.

Currently Igor is thriving. While I wouldn't call him on target for all the areas developmental specialist look at, he's come a long way Baby! Honestly I can't tell you how many inches he's grown, I do know he's gained about 12 lbs though. Not bad for a kid that gagged when fed lumpy applesauce when he got here. Igor flew home in a size 12 month jumper. Today he's wearing 2T and 3T for his length, but he needs a belt to hold them up. His speech has improved so dramatically in the last 6 months it's amazing. He asks so many questions it will make your head spin. " What's that for?, Why you do that?, What's that in your hand? Where's Daddy? What are you cooking? " so on and so forth. I will tell you the kid questions EVERY move I make during the day. This from a kid who did not speak at all in any language when we met him and was considered very delayed even by orphanage standards.

Emotionally I don't think we could ask for more. He is strongly attached to me and Sonny Boy, Hubby maybe not as much but he certainly seeks out Hubby and is happy to get snuggles from his dad as well as his mom. I don't have any qualms about that at all.

Igor does have a few funny quirks. He cackles when he laughs, like a witch in a movie, seriously it cracks me up to just hear him. I don't think he ever giggles like a normal child but he sure cackles a lot. Igor also is a neat freak. He cleans up behind every one of us (when he wants to of course) and thinks getting to put things in the garbage is the neatest thing in the world. Overall he's an easy going child who is eager to please. I really get the impression that sometimes he can't believe his luck! Don't get me wrong we still get a lot of typical three year old stuff, he can whine with the best of them - like nails on a chalkboard to me, he and Sonny Boy will go at it tooth and nail sometimes and if there was an award for pouting he'd win it.

Igor just the other day on our museum visit.
I know many people stumble over my blog looking for experiences in Ukrainian adoption, adoption of a toddler, international adoption and the like. That's good, that's why I started this blog, my idea of public service to the international adoption world. Goodness knows that reading blogs taught me so much about the process, cultural experiences while in country and something of what to expect. While I know the actual adoption process has changed somewhat from our trip I like to think there are still some lessons to be learned from my experience if your game for digging into the back posts.
Please don't think I post all sunshine and lollipops and hide the bad concerning Igor. We certainly face our challenges with Igor but nothing I find overwhelming. I say this to tell you that many of the children that come home from other countries are perfectly fine after an adjustment period (see ours in the archives) and I believe that's why many people discontinue blogging not long after returning home, they are just too busy living a life of school, work, soccer and dance class and no longer have the time, energy or need the outlet that blogging provides. It seems to me the blogs you find that are long running after returning home tend to come from people who are facing major difficulties with issues such as PTSD, RAD and a whole alphabet soup of diagnoses. While these letters are certainly a possibility that every prospective adoptive parent should be well versed in and know the signs of, they are really relatively rare and many times when present can be worked through and the family can find their new normal. So basically what I'm saying is don't let all stuff scare you away from adoption, yes it is scary, yes the child can have major issues, yes all sorts of nightmares may follow. You know what though? All the alphabet soup of problems (with the possible exception of FAS) can and do occur when people give birth, granted they are more rare but there are children born into the most wonderful and loving homes with RAD, and we are all just one horrible experience (ie bad car accident) from developing PTSD.
Now on to the more mundane stuff of life.
Gosh I have been busy but also so lazy. I've ridden twice this week and of course have still been working at the barn. I've decided to put in a little garden though there is nothing but grass in the backyard which is proving a problem when trying to dig up a plot. Hubby has said he will help me dig this weekend. I suppose a roto-tiller is in order but I'm trying do this on the cheap so a shovel will work. The biggest problem is the amount of grass which really must be dug out mostly by hand anyway. What inspired all the farmer Winnie you ask? (or maybe not) I watched the documentary Food Inc. If you haven't seen it - well I don't know what to tell you. It's certainly disturbing knowing where our food comes from. While I knew livestock did not live idyllic lives in pastures I liked to pretend anyway. Honestly makes you think. I think though that if we ever live in a place where a few chickens and a pig or two could be handled I might do it. While I like animals as pets, I like to eat bacon too and knowing the animal was kept humanely would ease something in my mind.
So I guess that's about it. Really must do something around here or the health department may show up.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Busy doing a whole lot of Nothing

The last few days have been pretty busy, but I couldn't really tell you just what we've all been doing. Hubby has been working massive hours so he's really just a person who wanders in, eats, showers, sleeps and leaves again. The kids had a whole two weeks of school without a holiday or an early release, SHOCK. They seem to get out of school constantly here. I don't know if it's that way in the rest of the world but I know holidays and early release were pretty rare when I was a kid.
Yesterday was yet another holiday, Casimir Pulaski Day, it appears he's a Polish Revolutionary War Hero? Who knew but evidently Illinois thinks he's worth a holiday for. Since the kids were out of school and St. Louis schools were in session I thought it a good day to take advantage of some kid activities in the city. I wanted to go the Magic House as that is the children's museum in St. Louis but alas it is closed on Mondays. So we settled for the Missouri History Museum and a trip to the St. Louis Science Center. All nice facilities but the Science center is much more interactive and kid friendly. Sonny Boy did like the history museum, Igor not so much when you can really monkey all over everything.
Sonny Boy at the Science Center Discovery Room

Sonny Boy and Igor in the 1904 World's Fair Exhibit, how would you like to wear those get-ups to the fair?

Igor and Sonny Boy at the Science Center Discovery Room - is this politically incorrect?
A couple of things I have learned through trial and error, and some here in there when going out for an outing with the kids. 1) Dress them in the same bright color, makes them much easier to pick out in a crowd of kids 2) Write your cell phone number is sharpie on their arm or stomach in case they are separated from you. Hopefully, they'll remember it's there and can ask someone to call you and tell you where they are. I saw this tip and thought it wise for anywhere you might become separated from your children.
I've also been busy decorating a cake. I took this over to Hubby's co-worker's house Sat and we sat around and visited while Sonny Boy played WAY too much DS and Igor watched too many cartoons.
Rose detail of cake, hand modeled roses out of gum paste

The entire cake, the cake was strawberry, hence the pink theme.
I'm not entirely pleased with this cake. I could not get the icing smooth no matter what I tried so it's lumpy and bumpy, there's also some visible cake crumbs as well. I guess that smooth icing will come with practice. The hearts on the side were a last minute idea, Hubby did not like them and though it would have been better off without them.
Honestly what is your opinion of the cake. I'd really like your honest constructive criticism on this both design wise or anything else. I'm thinking I may start this up a little side job someday, hence the need to practice. What would you think is a fair price for this cake?