Mittwoch, 24. November 2010

over the hill and through the warnings.

It was winter. I was leaving work at the diner and was meant to head to Boston. My boss, a sweet, kind, caring fellow, asked that I please not risk the drive. This was good advice and I am glad that I followed it. As I slowly crawled home in my Saturn, the radio news told me that there was a huge pile-up on the highway. I headed through the east side of Providence and thanked my lucky stars that I would soon be warm and cozy at home.

I turned left onto the hill that lead to my house. A man clearing his driveway shouted and waved his hands. "Don't drive down there! It's never plowed!" This was true. The city nearly never plowed my neighborhood. "I'll be fine!" I smiled "I just live right there in the second road!" I confidently, though slowly and carefully, progressed further toward the downward slope. Just then, another man clearing another drive on the other side of the street shouted and waved "hey!" I lowered my window and affirmed that I understood his concerns about driving down the hill, and assured him that I wasn't headed down there. I rolled my window up, grateful for my caring neighbors, crested the hill and put on my turn signal for the turn into my road. As I turned the wheel nothing happened. I tapped the brakes and nothing happened - - I was headed down the hill.
I went limp, because I heard that that is what one is meant to do. It was taking forever, however and I couldn't maintain my limpness. Then I saw that at the bottom of the hill, there was a pile up. A car had hit a lamppost and dislodged another car that had hit the same post. A school bus had hit that car and the drivers were out of the cars and safe, but I saw that the bus was still full of it's little tiny passengers. Ack!
I tried swinging my wheel back and forth, hoping to hit a tree on the way. I pounded the brakes, ready to turn into the skid. No response. My plan to stay limp was failing, but luckily, my car just softly, smoothly and slowly inserted itself under the school bus. The children in the bus cheered.

I called my pal and neighbor on my cell phone. Her boyfriend answered. "Is Dacia there?" I panted. "Look in your back window." There, scooting, falling and finally sliding and paddling herself down the hill on her bum, was my buddy. "I'm coming!" she shouted.

I've told this story many times and it's probably fairly common. Today, though, as snow falls in other parts of this country and another, possibly on my loved ones who are far away, I am thinking of that day. I'm not thinking of the crash or the shattered car. I'm thinking of the snow shovellers and the woman on her bum. I'm thinking about the straining to go limp.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all of my loved ones and all of my support. I hope that when they speak, that I listen fully. I hope that when they need me, I can scoot on my snowy bum and be with them.

Samstag, 13. November 2010

like running at a wall....repeatedly.

In excited anticipation of the Harry Potter film, I am listening to the audio book of the 7th and final Harry Potter. When hearing the phrase "the dementor's kiss" I am reminded of a jolly young boy raising my chin and sucking at the air around my mouth like a little hoover, pretending to suck my soul like the prison-gaurds in the Rowling books.  I then walked into the DMV where the occupants resembled dementor's victims far better than I could play-act for  that enthusiastic little pal of mine.
There is no joy in that building, mostly just a lot of frustration and confusion. I wasn't even sure exactly what it was that I needed. I was told to get a DMV driving record, but do not have a California drivers license. I was then told that I could simply get a form stating that I have never had a CA drivers license and that that would be sufficient. I was so pleased to hear that there was something I could get, something over which I had control, that I sat happily. I waited more than 3 hours, knitting, listening to Harry Potter and the recorded voice telling which number was being served where.
It seems as if every step forward in the adoption process is met with a gigantic shove back. After completing all of our home-study information for our adoption agency in Oregon, we found an agency in California to do our physical home-study and home inspection. They were able to use about half of the forms we had sent to our agency but had a stack of more for us (which took forever to arrive). There were probing, prodding intrusive questionnaires, which we filled out to the best of our ability. There were forms in which we had to check boxes, explaining that we understood that children should not be abused, burned, neglected and more. There were forms stating that we understand that all of our firearms should be locked up and forms with which we agreed to make any children in our cars buckle their safety belts. These all made me feel quite sad and gloomy, but I was buoyed when I thought about the people working hard to ensure that children were going to safe and loving homes. Our forms are the same as those required for people being licensed as foster parents and are far less sweet and cuddly than are those that deal expressly with the adoptive parents at our open adoption agency.
We went for our second physical in 3 months. Ivo's TB test required a chest x-ray. We sent off form after form. We waited on things to be sent back from other people so that we could send them on ourselves. We got fingerprinted and waited for those results. We asked questions of the people at the agencies and waited again for their answers and finally, when there was nothing else, we waited at the DMV.
After my success, Ivo's failure to be able to even enter the DMV yesterday was a bit of a sting. (We were so hopeful to get all of our paperwork out by Friday that we forgot that it was Veteran's day.) Today, however, we got in. I met Ivo waiting outside the building and took his place so that he could go to a nearby coffee shop to work,  and resumed my knitting. All sorts of systems were down at the dept. today and the anger and frustration felt by the people being turned away, license-less was poisonous. There was much cursing and anger and sadness, but I thought that I was safe; we didn't need a license after all.
Though none of it makes much sense, Ivo is not allowed to have the DMV print-out that I have. Indeed, the woman at the entrance (the one who took my form and circled some something on it) said that I should never have been allowed to have mine in the first place. (I'm a bit ashamed at how pathetic I must have sounded as I whimpered "please - don't write on that any more.") Ivo was given a form that supposedly could yield some results in a few months or so. Our pleading questions for absolutely anything else that could be done must have sounded pretty lame. She couldn't have known that this sounded to us like preventing us from being parents.
Every chance to gain patience seems weaker with every barrier, but we seem to be taking the role of "morale-booster" in turn. This morning was my turn. I reminded Ivo that there was a way and that we need only find it. ("We know the destination, but not the path." has been an oft repeated refrain in the past year.) We took deep breaths and concentrated on the destination, thought on our tools and resources and gathered strength and patience.
This afternoon, however, I feel a bit gloomy again. I bought fire-extinguishers and a fire-blanket in anticipation of the home inspection (whenever that may be) and began to worry that maybe I'd jinxed everything. If only this process were so within my control that I could jinx it.
We're playing a dangerous game with time and I just can't see it working. I still see the destination but I'm sad when I think that we will not be able to have an open adoption in the States. Our agency typically places babies with couples between 9 and 11 months on average after they've entered the pool, but that is not guaranteed, of course. We will only be here another 10 months and have no idea when we will officially be in the waiting pool. I'm committed to staying behind in the States if need be, a month or two, if we don't have everything officially finalized but.........
...and here is when I give it all up. I don't give up, mind, I simply give all of the worry up. I look at the work and the worry and the things that we can do and the things that we can't, I collect our loving intentions and desires and will and put it all in a special place. I write it in a journal that I hope our future child will someday read, I send it out into the ether. I put it all together and call it love. I put it aside and hope that it remains and then surrounds our future child; a little cushion of love that will let our child know that he or she was wanted and is worth more than stupid forms and frustrations and obstacles. Most parents feel that they would walk through fire for their child. Before we have met, I will stand on line for mine.