Friday, May 30, 2008

Got new info on the Minute: He weighs 17 pounds, and is 28.3 inches tall.

No pictures, surprise surprise, but hopefully we'll get some soon. (It seems my son doesn't like to hold still for pictures. This is the 3rd month we haven't gotten them b/c he refuses to be photographed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's my birthday!

Ok, technically, I'm posting a bit early. TOMORROW is my birthday. I'm taking the day off (ok, MOST OF THE DAY OFF), and RELAXING with my dear friend Kathryn. It's a bitter-sweet sort of thing, I think. I had SOOOO hoped that we'd have our darling little boy by now, and I enter my 30 - something year without any children... Also, Minute turns 11 months old tomorrow. We feel no closer to him that we were a month ago... but, last year a sea-change in my attitude and out-look on life occurred, and for better or for worse, I'm a "new" person. I expect this to be a kick-ass year, in fact. With the attitude adjustment, a new lease on life, and (drum roll please) a PROMOTION at work (yippy!! more on this later. I fully believe I have my friend Jenny Anne to thank for this, but I'll tell THAT story another day soon)... and certianly, my little Minute HAS to come soon, so I will become a mother to a beautiful baby boy.

I'm not to the point that I dread birthday's yet...although I know that day is coming soon, but hey, at least if you keep having them, know you are still alive and kickin'!!

(wow, just re-read this post. It's all OVER THE PLACE! Sorry!! It's late, and I'm tired!!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Monday, on a Tuesday UPDATED

I had a very nice weekend, then a good friend of mine came to visit and we had a great Monday together (yes, I actually took the day off!!). However, Tuesday came in a kicked my ass all OVER the place. WOW, what a day*. However, I did get some very good news that I can't share yet 'cause I haven't even told my Mama yet (no, nothing to do with the adoption, sadly). I'll post about it tomorrow or Friday.

Also, we have yet another conference call with our agency today. The last one was so very positive, but then nothing seemed to actually COME of it. I am hesitant to get too excited, but maybe SOMETHING positive will come out this time too. I'll post what I can, but in general, these are pretty hush-hush unless you are on the call, so I try to respect that aspect of the calls. Anyway, I do feel that things ARE probably maybe possibly moving in a forward direction...

"UPDATE": NOTHING TO REPORT. TOTALLY NOT A DAMN THING. TuDu seems to be STILL blocked...while many many people are working very hard to move things along, there is still no movement of paperwork, babies, people, etc.

* I had a hell of a day EARLY on, and was running on VERY little sleep. To make a long story less dull, I had to work in the field yesterday morning. That equates to being outside, getting sunburned, sweating, and getting dirty for about 3 hours. THEN, I had a lunch/business meeting I had to "dress" for for the noon hour. So, I took great pains to change into a nice outfit, complete with really sexy heels. However, AFTER I changed outfits, and shoes, I was told the meeting was postponed until Thursday. Leaving me in my LAB in 3 inch heels. The outfit looked good, yes, but pretty silly since this place is uber casual - like bluejeans, teeshirts, and sandals kind of place. My boss kept laughing at me and asking WHY anyone would torture themselves in that way?! Men just don't get it. Seriously, what's the point of adorable shoes if you never get to wear them?!!! Anyway, I WAY digress.... To add injury to insult, my feet were KILLING me by the end of the day.HOWEVER, somehow I managed to make it though my day, and I can assure everyone reading this that I will NOT be wearing my heels on Thursday to my business meeting. No matter how damn cute they look in the morning!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

My mama told me there'd be days like this

Anyone out there every have one of those days? You know, it FEELS like EVERYTHING is going wrong, and it should really be a Monday? I'm currently having "one of those days".

Can anyone out there justify my cutting work early, and going BACK TO BED? If you can, PLEASE let me know how to pitch that one to my boss....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stalled - again

Well, we finally received our "update" letter from HCMC. It reads as follows:

May 21, 2008

Dear Mr. & Mrs. PAP,

This is in reference to the Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, which you have filed in behalf of the beneficiary [The Minute], received by this office on January 25, 2008.

As previously notified, the US Government has not been able to obtain evidentiary verification from the hospital/orphanage administrators and provincial officials, which is required to complete the field investigation and continue with adjudication of your case. The CIS office in Ho Chi Minh City has sought the assistance from the DoH in setting up an amicable agreement with the hospital/orphanage administrators and provincial officials so that current and future investigations can be processed more expeditiously. However, to date, we have not reached a final agreement. Understand it is our utmost priority to resolve this issue and continue with the processing of your case. Adjudication will immediately resume once the US Government is able to conduct and complete the field verification.

This office will continue to provide you with an update on the status of your case. It is requested that you allow thirty (30) days before making an inquiry. Beyond that time frame, you may send your inquiries to our mailbox at XXXXXXX. Thank you for your cooperation.



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"update" - no news, again

As a brief not-really-update, we haven't heard ANYTHING on the adoption front. I consider that both good and bad news, frankly. I think it's bad that no one has heard anything and no one has received a TA yet, but also good in that MAYBE we will be in that first batch of TA's. My birthday is the end of May, and I would like nothing more than to have Minute come home for my birthday.I don't really see that happening, BUT I'm still trying to remain positive.

We are supposed to have another update call from our agency next week, I think. Maybe there will be some news then. IF there is, or if I hear something sooner, I'll post!! Promise!!

I did go yesterday to stock up on all those misc. supplies the travel/packing lists all say you should take: baby shampoo, lotion, cold medication, teething gel, etc. I've got it all. AND I THINK I have enough clothes to cobble together a 2 week trip. I had to buy socks yesterday, and I still need a pair of sandals for him, but other than that, I have about a full week of clothes (plus some extras like "athletic shorts", swim trunks, and one G&R outfit that is ADORABLE). The kicker is I've been hesitant to pack b/c Minute is right on the edge of wearing 12 month clothes; he's just 10.5 months old now. We haven't gotten a weight/height update in MONTHS, but he was a big kid back when we got the last update, so I expect him to be wearing 12 mo. clothes. I'm afraid to pack ALL 12 mo. clothes, however, in case they are too big, so I've found myself packing a few 9 mo. and a few 12 mo. I figure what doesn't fit, I'll donate, and what ever else I need, I'll buy there! At least packing for me will be easy. I've done this sort of trip before, and I've got it down. It's the Minute I'm trying to focus on now.

Well, life has been pretty quite these days. The chickens are settling in, other than last night it was decided with-out-a-doubt that our little red dog is a chicken eatter, not a chicken ignorer. My Malamute is a chicken ignorer. The Lab is still curious, but likely wouldn't hurt one. I didn't LOSE any last night, but the red dog got into the fence and chased my ladies all over the place! 2 of them wouldn't come back out of the hen house all evening. I hope they aren't scarred (or is that scared?) for life. During the hub-bub of Sheeba trying to have a nice chicken dinner if only they would stop flying away from her; Ede, the Malamute, stood very quietly looking at everyone running around and basically was bored to tears. She couldn't have cared less about the chickens being all over the place and squawking like mad.

Ah, well. Life at Chez Carley-Hatfield. Never ever a dull moment.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It really is REAL

Here's a brief (read: lame) article about MY golf course from our town's local rag. I had no idea we were supposed to open this Spring... how is it I had to find out in the newspaper??!! I guess that's how it happens a lot, huh?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chickens and other misc. "stuff"

Well, the excitement in my life yesterday was my new flock of chickens. I've got pictures, and will post them later. Right now I'll just say I think they are a lot of fun, and I spent 3 hours outside with them yesterday evening (although we had a number of visitors checking the ladies out, so I wasn't just sitting there all alone!). Oh, and we already got our FIRST egg today !!
My dogs are fairly interested in them. Well, one couldn't care less. The other two can't decide if they are walking/talking food, or a really funny looking threat to my person. In fact, our little red dog kept going out last night to make sure they were still there...or to see if maybe they had "buggered off". Either way, she isn't sure what to think, but she's going to keep an eye on them regardless.

The adoption: Well, no news yet, but it's still a little early. I am trying to keep an ear out for families who are getting their TA's (from my "formerly-blocked" group, that is), but I'm generally the last to hear anything as I don't really follow any of the other families' blogs or anything. I've been so happily out of the loop recently. After being an AVID China forum and blog reader/stalker and having that fall apart I promised myself I'd be more laid back on this one. And for the most part I am . However, now I'd like to know WHEN OTHERS are getting TA's so I can anticipate when we might get ours (We've over 100 days now, I feel like we should be in the first group, but I'm not sure how many are in that first group, and we might just miss the cut-off). 22 families are supposed to be moving forward immediately, but CIS won't tell anyone who or when. surprise, surprise. The government NOT sharing information with it's people. Go figure. Anyway, I'm thinking that travel will be soon, and I'd like nothing more than to celebrate my birthday (the end of May) with a homecoming party for my little Minute!!

As I keep saying, I'll post as soon as I hear something. Fingers crossed that it is soon!!!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008


OMG, OMG, OMG. We have been "unblocked".

Officially, the TuDu babies have been unblocked and some cases are MOVING ASAP. TA's should start coming immediately, AND, other cases that have waited over 60 days (um, that would include us since we are over 100 days now), should hear something very very soon.

All the letter writing and pressure on public and government officials have ACTUALLY been helping (THANK YOU to those of you who have written letters, and called your Senators, and helped by pestering representatives, senators, etc. ). FINALLY, something is happening.

When I hear something else, I'll post here. Trust me!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

So, Girls,

NO ONE OUT THERE wants to hear anything about the Australian hottie I mentioned? Wow, are y'all sleeping out there??!!

Any one interested in a little soap opera-like drama?? It's juicy!

just a fact or two* - and Happy Mothers Day

I haven't heard anything about the meeting yesterday. Not anything on any of my chat-boards... but I do hope to hear something tomorrow. I'll post what I can when I hear something worth sharing. What I did run across today is this, in the ENTIRE realm of international adoption, I managed to get stuck in the smallest, and most painful group out there right now:

"24 families from 4 agencies that have received the blocked letters"

That's right. Only 24 families (and about 28 babies) are in this awful waiting-paperwork-snafu BS. What were the odds WE were so fortunate to be chosen to have our son STUCK in this crap?! Well, about 1 in 200... However, as I look at his picture I can not help put think that if we weren't still waiting for him, then it would mean that we were never matched with him, and he wouldn't be my son.

(see I'm TRYING to remain positive on this loneliest of all lonely Mothers' Days...).

* Someone commented that it's closer to 80 families...which makes a BUNCH of babies and families in this... either way, the odds still STINK, and we ALL want our babies home.

Friday, May 09, 2008

One year - a retrospective of sorts

{picture removed}
Well, It's been one full year since DH and I agreed to start a second adoption. Dh was VERY hesitant; the pain of the China adoption, the COST of a second adoption, the general F-ed up state of international adoption in general... but he agreed. And with in days, I had our application done and sent out to our agency. They told us it would take about 9 months. Possibly as long a 12, but not more. And really, although our referral came earlier than we expected (happy day!), and our travel has been delayed, one year isn't really that bad. As my Big Mama reminded me; most people STILL have to wait 9 months. We've been waiting 8 "official" months, so hey, not too bad, really. However, most of those ladies only waiting 9 months have an END DATE. Babies just don't stay in there past 9 months!! With us, well, there is no end in sight, although I am hopeful that I will get to bring the Minute home soon.

It's been a good year, all in all. One of my dear friends got married, we've settled into our no-longer-new-to-us house and we STILL LOVE IT, we've made new friends and re-connected with some old ones, my Mom "retired", I finally settled into a job I A-B-S-L-U-T-E-L-Y love. Another set of close and wonderful friends became proud and sudden parents to a 4 day old son...Tod completed his yoga training and we traveled to and fell in love with New Orleans. I was asked to go to AUSTRALIA and speak...... But, you know what? All in all, it's been fairly quiet, and while there have been some VERY dark periods, it's still been a good year. I know this will be my last Mother's Day that I am without my little Minute...and THAT makes it all worth it.

Oh, and look at that cutie up there. Isn't he the most beautiful and HAPPY child you've ever seen?! Enjoy the picture this weekend. Anytime you forget why I'm still in this thing, or why you follow this snarky little blog, check out that picture. He is my STAR. My JOY. MY TRUEST LOVE. He's my little Minute!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Quickie*** updated

Have been forum-stalking looking for something, ANYTHING that is good news. What I found:
(and I pulled this off one of my forums, apologies for the person whose post I swiped it from, but I also don't want to put her name here since I am not asking her permission to use the quote)

"There are some events that are happening this week that may produce some results or at least new information."

I am clearly desperate for information, and this is as good as it got. There was plenty of negative stuff out there, but I'll not post that 'cause it sucks.

Rest assured, when I hear something; you'll hear something!

*** We just heard this from our agency: We've been told that there is a meeting on May 10th by "important people" - people who might actually have the power to change things - to specifically address the "Tu Du" situation". They don't know if anything will be resolved (and it likely WILL NOT) but, at least this is a positive step forward.

For those of you who I haven't actually explained this to yet, or are still unsure what the "Tu Du" situation is, here's a brief explanation:

Families who have children from this specific place are being "blocked" from completing their adoption b/c of some sort of paperwork "disagreement" between the USCIS (our government) and the VN government. Keeping in mind, it is VERY MUCH a stupid turf war, and they are behaving like two 8 year olds fighting over an X-Box controller. EVERYONE else is getting their paperwork processed and their adoptions are moving forward. It's just us "lucky Tu Du families" who are at a complete stand-still. SO - it's a HUGE thing that we have something, ANYTHING, happening on May 10th.

I need to add here that I am in no way a supporter of one of our senators , HOWEVER, it is her office, and no one else's that has been making waves that are ACTUALLY WORKING to move things forward in a positive way. So, for that, I say thank you, Senator (and your staff).

Updates - a good read, but long

Ok, I was reminded by a dear friend today that I've been remiss in not posting lately. She sent me a wonderful email that really raised my spirits, AND reminded me that I need to catch you up on my life these days.

Ok, first things first:

Minute: No news. there. I said it. Now, with that said, I do have 2 things to add: 1) we have yet another conference call on Friday to give us an update. I expect to get no more information than I already have, but hey, we'll see, right? and 2) my boss is out of town (WAY out of town) on vaca for two weeks, and I'm in charge of the lab. If we are going to get the call, it WILL HAPPEN on my watch. So, fingers crossed!

Friends - BFF and others: My on-again-off-again BFF and I have been off lately , but not because of a falling out or anything, but b/c most of the time if I don't call her, I don't get called. However, we've both had a lot going on and I'm pretty ok with it these days. We do have a "date" tomorrow night, and it'll be the first time I've seen her in like 6 or 8 weeks. Sad, seeing as she lives less than a mile away from me now... but maybe the worm will turn soon. We shall see. We have been through a lot, so she gets a big-time pass. But i do get to missing her....

As for the other friends in my life, those who aren't my on-again-off-again BFF, I can not express how lucky I am. Even though I've been WAY out of touch lately, my friends (the REAL friends) haven't given up on me. Thank you!! Jen, Brooke, Nikki, Kathryn... y'all are ABSOLUTELY wonderful. Britta, KP, and Alyson (I know you lurk too!! drop me a line anytime!) you gals also just totally ROCK. Thank you for your thoughts and good wishes. I couldn't survive my life with out you, Gals!

Oh, and Phil. You are always awesome. And always my BFF who isn't on-again-off-again!

Work: I love love love work (WB aside, of course). Sick, isn't it? Most of you don't really know what I do, but you probably know that I 1) work with/on golf courses sometimes - and I'm even helping to BUILD a local course (which is a lot of fun MOST days) - this takes about 35-40 % of my time - and 2) I do scientific research - which is what I get paid the big bucks for and am ALWAYS working on something new. About 99% of my research is in plant stress physiology (for you lay-persons out there: when plants get stressed out, like under drought, or heat or cold conditions, or low nutrition, WHAT happens to them and WHY? That's what I do for a living! My specialty (and the whole reason I am going to Australia to speak) is heat stress in bentgrass putting greens. Yes, it does sound mighty specific. Yes, I am in a very small, very new field. But I LOVE it. In the golf world (ok, ANYWHERE), I'm a big nerd, but an important big nerd. And, because I have boobs, I am a important attractive big nerd. I work almost exclusively with men. And the guys around the lab, the fields, the courses, the conferences LOVE me. As Uncle Phil sez: come for the boobs, stay for the brains. Having grown up with boys, and having lived with boys for over 3 years recently, I am a hit on the course (not just for the boobs and brains), b/c I can talk sports, drop the f-bomb - when "appropriate" -, laugh at crude humor, and get dirty with the best of them. I'm not prissy, and I love wearing a ball-cap and boots to a site (and yes, Mom, I wear pants and a shirt too!). And I love it. It's a LOT of fun. I get treated like one of the guys, BUT I also never pay for my own meals and/or drinks, and I always get to ride up front in the truck.

Did I mention how much I love my job?

There are some down sides, of course. I work 50-60 hour weeks A LOT, and while the hours are generally pretty good, I work nearly every day. I do TRY to take Saturdays off about once or twice a month. But hey, it's rewarding, and it keeps my mind off the other CRAP in my life (read: the adoption bullshit).

Life in general: Over all, pretty good. I got my plane tix to Australia - first class ALL THE WAY, baby! Whoo-hoo! And, I have an admirer in Melborne who is DYING to meet me; so a two week trip might not be so long after all. (He's a hottie! more on this later if you are really good). Our spring project around The Manor is getting a chicken coop set up. I'm so excited!! We needed something positive to focus on, and I recently read Barbara Kingsolver's new book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle". It really inspired me to do more "slow food" - although we buy almost all our veggies from a local organic growers co-op -, and while I grew up on a farm and loved it, my little Minute won't grow up on a farm, but I wanted Minute to get some sort of FEEL for where his food comes from too. So, I thought about it, and decided to get chickens. We're getting 4 heirloom variety laying hens - I can't remember what kinds they are, but I'll take pictures of them next week when we bring them home. We're putting the finishing touches on the coop this week. FUN!!

Hey, I really did have a few things to say. And most of it is positive. Not too bad. Stick around. It HAS to happen soon, folks!!