Sunday, May 31, 2009

Susan Boyle cracks under the pressure

I almost can't believe I'm writing ANOTHER post about a show I don't like (because I resent how manipulative the editing is) and can't even watch (because it's not broadcast in the U.S.)! But this season of Britain's Got Talent just keeps getting more and more outrageous... not unlike the later episodes of Dynasty in the 80's when Krystal and Alexis threw each other into the pool.

Yes, not since the later years of Dynasty has a T.V. show come close to the levels of DRAH-MAH as BGT this season. Well, thank GAWD for You Tube or I would have missed the whole thing.

From Perez:
Reports are coming in that the YouTube sensation had a meltdown earlier this week at her London hotel because of some strangers deciding to "wind her up." Though no one is sure what the two strangers said to Susan, EVERYONE heard what Susan had to say back, as she began to yell and curse at her two antagonizers.

In a rage, the Scottish singer was heard screaming: "How fucking dare you! You can't fucking talk to me like that."

Her angered screams finally brought nearby police to her attention and they escorted Susan to the parking lot for further questioning. Witnesses revealed that Susan was noticeably upset, as she began to retell the story to the police through tears and hysterics. One of the officers said to her : "You are in the public eye, you must learn to expect this sort of thing."

After speaking to the police, TV producers rushed Susan back to her room for privacy, but one onlooker confessed it took a "long time" for her to calm herself."

Well, Britain's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan heard about it too and he thinks people should lay off and leave poor Susan alone! He told the Early Show that he was "feeling more supportive" of the Scottish singer and understands why she would react the way she did.

"You have to remember with Susan, she's a 48-year-old lady from a tiny village in Scotland who has never been exposed to anything like this kind of attention. And I think she's really feeling the heat."

He also revealed that Susan even threatened to leave the show because of the "sheer amount of pressure on her. Because of all the drama surrounding the Britain's Got Talent sensation, the producers of the show placed Susan Boyle in a safe house until tonight's finale.

But some people think she should just leave the competition all together, in order to
sustain her mental health. Professor David Wilson, a former psychologist for reality TV show Big Brother, took into account recent events and judge Piers Morgan's comments on Susan's situation and strongly suggested that Susan leave the competition: "If Britain's Got Talent was an experiment in any university we would have to draw a line on that experiment because ethically we would be putting the person at the heart of that experiment through emotional turmoil."

And then take a look at this video, showing Susan during the final results show, looking drugged. If I hadn't read about the mental health issues here before seeing this video I would have wondered why she looked so flat. Well, flat and anxious at the same time if that's possible. Until they announced the winner and then her smile looked genuine. She looks relieved frankly. But then to top it all of with a cherry, she performs a little burlesque show at the end of the results show... wth?? Has she lost it?

Should the producers have pulled her from the competition, like David Wilson said, because it's psychologically harmful to continue to put her in the public eye? Or should they have let her make up her own mind about what she can and can't handle?

In any case, I wish them all the best and hopefully this will be my last post on the subject of BGT! (at least until next season)

Why Ethiopia (part 2)

Ethiopia's orphans face life of hardship

by Jonathan Clayton

The Ethiopian peasant farmer and his wife shuffled painfully into the orphanage. They were in the last stages of Aids and had only weeks to live. However, they were happy. They had heard the Franciscan nuns had found a home for their three children and had come to say farewell.

“I am so happy, they are going to stay together,” the father, Solomon, whispered as he embraced a middle-aged Mormon couple from Salt Lake City, Utah. “Now, I can die peacefully. They will go to school in America and have a future. It is good they leave here.” As they embraced their two daughters, aged 8 and 6, for the last time the tears ran freely. Their four-year-old son did not appreciate the significance of the moment and ran off to play with friends.

Sister Luthgarder, a seasoned veteran of such heart-rending adoptions, explained: “It is sad, but it is so rare they are kept together and so I am happy.” Only a week previously a brother and sister were separated: one going to Norway, the other to Canada. “The new parents said they would take them to see each other every year, but inevitably they will grow apart,” she said.
Only a fraction of Ethiopia’s burgeoning population of orphaned children, now put at five million, find their way to Kidane Meheret Children’s Home. Even fewer leave and they are certainly the lucky ones.

A few miles away, dozens of children sleep in drains at night and beg by day at the sprawling central bus station. They face constant dangers.

“Some are forced into prostitution, some are sold by relatives after their parents die, they are kept as maids and often abused,” said Dagmawi Alemayeau who runs an organisation, Forum on Street Children, which tries to fight trafficking. Most of an estimated 50,000 children on the streets of the capital, Addis Ababa, at some stage pass through the bus station where he has his office.

“Traffickers go to the rural areas ... there are places where you can even buy a baby for as little as $1,” he told The Times. He always keeps an eye open at the international airport where so-called “uncles” can often be spotted boarded planes to Gulf states with teenage girls.
Across the rest of Africa, a combination of soaring populations, growing poverty and the HIV-Aids epidemic has led to a huge increase in orphans.

A UNICEF report estimates that in sub-Saharan Africa alone there will be more than 20 million by 2010.

Cash-strapped governments on the world’s poorest continent are overwhelmed. They can afford only a handful of government run agencies. Despite an increase in foreign adoptions, some well-publicised like those of Madonna and Angelina Jolie, who has adopted from Ethiopia and Cambodia, only a tiny fraction of these children find new homes overseas.

Organisations like UNICEF and the UK’s Save the Children Fund are opposed to foreign adoptions, advocating instead that the children be placed in extended families or locally adopted so they grow up within his or her own cultural identity. They encourage would be parents to send money instead to help look after the children in the country of origin. But they are often accused of a head in the sand approach to the abuse the child may face and ignore the fact that by so doing they often condemn the child to a life of grinding poverty and no education.

“Adoption is sad, very sad but the whole issue is sad, a life of neglect, and abandonment, grinding poverty and abuse is sad, adoption is often the lesser evil especially as the people who come here are good and very carefully checked,” added Sister Luthgarder who finds at least one new born baby a week on her doorstep.

This point was made by Malawi’s president Bingu wa Mutharika with disarming frankness earlier this week. “I wish someone had come and taken 10,000 Malawian children because then I would know that 10,000 Malawians would have better education and opportunities,” he told The Times.

(picture from "There Is No Me Without You" of Mekdes the orphan girl)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Super-duper interesting parenting question. Holy Steel: genuine distress or manipulation on Britain's Got Talent?

There's a debate going on one of the forums I participate in regarding the above clip of Holy Steel on Britain's Got Talent. Some folks feel like, as is the show's history, this was a blatant manipulation but this time on the child's part. They cite crocodile tears as evidence that she full well knows how to get what she wants. They accuse mom of being a pushy stage mom. One quote: "Do you think it sends out a dodgy message to children that if you weep and beg you get what you want, never mind the expense and inconvenience caused to millions of people?" which of course one has no choice but to answer "YES." Simon was pressured into rearranging the whole show to give her another chance, etc.

And then other folks are arguing that she is a little girl, that it was a genuine reaction to forgetting her lines and the pressure was too much. That the mother was only comforting her and supporting her to actualize her dreams.

I think they are both "right". At first, when she first forgets her lines, I feel tremendous compassion and dismay watching her. But then, once she is told there is no time for a repeat performance, and she goes into more of a meltdown... I start to feel the twinge of manipulation on the edges of my consciousness. Which, if she has been taught those skills will get her what she wants, she will use them when she needs to. It doesn't make her evil or anything. She does seem a bit of a princess though. Ugh, this parenting thing.... how am I ever gonna raise Charlie "right"? there are so many little pitfalls!

What does your gut tell you about Holly's behavior? Her mom's behavior? Simon's behavior ;-) ?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rut-roh.... spaghetti-o's!

In Ethiopia, being overweight is a sign of wealth. For who else but a rich person can afford to eat enough calories each day in excess to actually put on weight? So calling someone "fat" is not neccesarily an insult, like it is here in the USA. I imagine this is but one of the many cultural differences I will experience traveling there.

I did not write this... but I imagine my trip will be embarrassingly similar....

(This is reprinted from
By Hannah Vick

"Three Weeks in Addis"

Shyness is overcome quickly at the orphanage. In less than an hour of my arrival, I am surrounded by half a dozen giggling girls stroking my hair and my cheeks. "You!" they say, mouths open in smiles, "You are so fat - so fat and white!"

Peter leads me up the stairs, through the kitchen and into the courtyard of Layla House, a center for orphaned children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, run by an American adoption agency. He points at things and children, nonchalantly throwing out useful tidbits, like "Don't eat the pasta", and "That's Meron, she's going to Denver", and "Use the staff bathroom, the kid's are still figuring out toilet paper".

He does not mention my plus-size figure would be the source of constant delight and amazement for Ethiopians.

The children, of course, are wonderful in their optimism and courage, jumping over cracks in the cement, arguing over who will brush my hair. They babble in Amharic and look at me nose to nose. One girl concentrates, with her tongue out, as she combs my eyebrows. They hold my hand, wrap around my neck, sit on my lap and pinch my upper arms. More giggling and they say I'm beautiful. "Very beautiful," Marta says, concentrating now on my braids that have unwoven, "And very, very fat."

The Crown Hotel is the first of our obligatory touristy destination stops. It features traditional Ethiopian dancing and music. We arrive early for good seats, stools crafted from one tree trunk. The stools surround a mesob, a round table that holds a plate of injera — the staple of any Ethiopian diet.

The other volunteers are chatty and adventurous. Aaron is taking a hiatus in Addis after getting shot at in the Congo while teaching HIV awareness classes. He's young and bright-eyed, a recent graduate from a Canadian college, eager to change the world. Brett and Kara are the honeymooning vegetarian couple. Kara is a size two and directs a homeless shelter back home; Brett was accepted to medical school and runs five miles a day. They are, unequivocally, the nicest people I have ever met.

And then there's me. I'm from Wisconsin, where we all carry an extra 30 pounds to keep us warm in the winter.

Our guide waves to get my attention. "Look!" he says, holding up a stool from the other side of the room, "I got you a big stool. Big stool just for you!" He laughs and gestures for me to take it. My cohorts stay diplomatically quiet, but Brett reaches over and pats me on the shoulder.

Riding in a mini-bus in Addis is a terrifying, deeply religious experience. There are no discernable traffic laws and a distinct fondness for roundabouts. On the dashboard of this particular mini-bus is an icon of Mary, a picture of Bob Marley and a sticker of the rapper, 50 Cent. I consider praying to all three, to be on the safe side. The interior of the bus rattles, everyone bumps along in tandem.

Brett is chatting with his seat partner, Kara is smiling dreamily as we rumble past our destination.

"Waddatch!" I say, which I believe means stop, although I'm not entirely certain. I'm hot and uncomfortable. I feel overwhelmed by the city and its poverty. I have pangs of guilt constantly, the emotion is sharpened by the humbling contentment of everyone I meet. The people of Addis seem delighted, genuinely so, that I've gorged myself on American consumerism, obviously, food. The effect is stifling.

"Waddatch! Waddatch! Waddatch! WADDATCH!" I yell, raising eyebrows and turning heads. Kara asks what's wrong and I tell her I don't want to walk a half mile back to the volunteer house. The man sitting in front of us turns around and says, "You could use walking," he smiles and shakes his head gleefully, "You are so fat."

The boys at Layla House crowd around me almost as much as the girls, although with hesitancy. They're eager to show me their Kung-Fu moves, they jostle each other to clear a space, raising their voices and then smiling sweetly at me.

A ten-year-old dramatically assumes the classic Karate Kid pose, I bark out a surprised laugh.

"What did you learn in America class today?" I ask. The children take turns telling me — and pantomiming — the details of a typical American house. The class is designed to prepare the children for their new post-adoption lives in the U.S.

"Big, big houses!" a young boy says, straining on his toes to show me how high. "With a kitchen!"

"And what kind of things are in the kitchen?" I ask. "Is there an oven in the kitchen?" Yes, everyone nods that there is - and a refrigerator.

"No, no," one boy says, his forehead creased in seriousness, "In America, every room has refrigerator, not just kitchen. And one is full of meat!"

I try to dissuade him of this notion, I fail, spectacularly. I can only think of his adoptive mother's confusion at this undoubtedly un-met expectation.

I change the subject to something I think is very important.

"Listen to me!" I raise my voice over the ongoing refrigerator debate. "Listen! When you get to America, you must not tell anyone they are fat. Do you understand?"

No one understands. The boys are confused and they ask each other questions; some in Amharic, others in broken English.

The boy holding my hand says with an appropriate gravity, "You are very fat."

"Yes, I know," I say. "But you can't say that when you get to America." I forge on with resolution. "If you say 'you are fat' to someone in America, they might get angry." I show them my angry face. "Or sad."

Ah. The boys nod. They look at me with wide eyes and murmur agreement. I nod, too, smug and impressed with myself for saving them from overweight school-yard bullies.

A tall boy in the back raises his hand, "How much do you weigh?"

We take a Saturday to do some shopping in the textile district, or rather, the place where all the dresses are made. Arriving by mini-bus, we start peeking inside row after row of tiny shops, filled to the ceiling with clothes and scarves. Each shop is bursting with all sorts of colorful things, the dresses hanging in doorways look to be making a form of escape.

We stay at one shop, watching Kara try dresses, chatting with the two saleswomen. They're like most Ethiopians, gracious and eager to please, constantly smiling and ready to forgive our botched attempts at communication. They send out for coffee, which arrives in a steel warming bucket. They smile shyly when we thank them a disproportionate number of times.

The traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony is beautiful. I thumb through the ceremony dresses for one I like. "Do you have my size?" I ask.

"Oh yes," she says, rummaging around in the back. She nods to her associate, together they unravel the largest dress I've ever seen. It almost reaches from one side of the store to the other. "Just your size! It fit perfectly!" Smiles all around.

I shell out 65 Birr and am now the owner of a tent in the shape of a traditional Ethiopian coffee dress.

When I returned home and began digesting my three weeks in Addis, the adoption agency forwarded a letter written by one of the little girls at Layla House. It was seven pages of drawings, in neatly written sentences that repeatedly exclaimed my name, her name, Wisconsin and "I love you".

On the third page, near the bottom, she wrote in loopy ten-year old letters - You are so fat.

Slow News Day?

The family said they found the image comforting.

It may not be immediately obvious to everyone, but one family are convinced they can see the face of Jesus on the lid of a jar of Marmite.
Claire Allen, 36, said she was the first to notice the image on the underside of the lid as she was putting the yeast spread on her son's toast.
Her husband Gareth, 37, said he could not believe his eyes when he saw it.
Mr Allen, of Ystrad, Rhondda, said: "The kids are still eating it, but we kept the lid."
He explained: "Claire saw it first and called her dad to come and take a photo of it.
"When I first looked at it I wasn't sure, but when I moved it away from me it started coming out. I thought yeah, she's right - that's the image of Jesus.
People might think I'm nuts, but I like to think it's Jesus looking out for us
Claire Allen
Mrs Allen said her 14-year-old son Jamie had also remarked on the likeness.
She told the South Wales Echo: "Straight away Jamie said 'that looks like God', and my other boys (Robbie, four, and Tomas, 11) even said they could see a face.
"People might think I'm nuts, but I like to think it's Jesus looking out for us.
"We've had a tough couple of months; my mum's been really ill and it's comforting to think that if he is there, he's watching over us."

My take?

Marmite needs all the help it can get ;-)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Sin of Our Generation

"I believe that this could very well be looked back on as the sin of our generation. I look at my parents and ask, where were they during the civil rights movement? I look at my grandparents and ask, what were they doing when the holocaust in Europe was occurring with regard to the Jews, and why didn't they speak up? And when we think of our great, great, great-grandparents, we think how could they have sat by and allowed slavery to exist? And I believe that our children and their children, 40 or 50 years from now, are going to ask me, what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa?"--Rich Stearns, President of World Vision

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Charlie pics!!!

She's a munchkin! I don't know what else to tell ya!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hard lesson. R.I.P Exodus Tyson

Mike Tyson's 4-year-old daughter, Exodus Tyson, was pronounced dead on Tuesday.

The child was discovered on Monday at her Phoenix, Arizona, home hanging from a treadmill by its power cable. Fox News reported Exodus was found by her 7-year-old brother, who alerted their mother, who was cleaning in another room.

The horrible incident is being treated as an accident.

So sad.

This is one of those things where the mom will most likely say: "I only turned my back for a second". What a lesson for me... I hate that a little girl died, but it comes at a time that is making a huge impact on me as far as preparation for Charlie. I will go around and tie up every single cord in the house, including the ones I don't think she can get to. This kind of stuff is horrifically scary.

I feel for the whole family, including the 7 year old brother who will no doubt remember the moment he found his sister hanging for the rest of his life. Mike Tyson may not be my favorite person on earth, but nobody deserves to lose their young daughter.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Free Laser eye surgery with Susan Boyle!

I don't get the makeover? The main part of her appeal for me was how out of control frumpy she looked. Now she's still frumpy but they've got the frump under control. I think they should have made her look worse, like a cavewoman, so that when she started singing the effect would have been more stun gun-like.

P.S. Get your free Lasik eye surgery at 3:36 on the video. Or perhaps Susan Boyle is the Second Coming? What.Are.They.Telling. Us????

Being ready.

I remember posting, back around referral time, that I was confused by PAPs that had this IMMENSE LOVE for a picture. I thought for sure they were in love with a fantasy, an idea, and not really the baby in the picture.

Because, really.

Its a piece of 2-dimensional glossy paper. How can anyone love paper?

But I have to admit, going through court, getting many more pictures, seeing the video my mother shot, watching it over and over, it's more than a piece of glossy paper. Real emotions have developed.

I guess this is why bio-moms go through 9 months, and they make us PAPs go through a waiting period too. It's the process. The readying process.

Today I went to buy all the items needed for Charlie's trip home.

Total bill? $250.00. The amount only matters in that it shows how many items are needed! At Wal-mart prices each items costs about $2.00, so you can see how full my cart was. I printed out Chatty Cathy's packing list and got everything on there except the nipple brush. I'm using my pinkie and that's final! Anyway, nipples, bottles, liners, bibs, wipes, diapers, hats, toys, teething rings, orajel, pacifiers, spoons, bowls, socks, jackets, lotion, soap, cream, etc, etc, etc, later.... something sinks in deeply.

The care of this child falls 100% on me.

Everything she needs in this world... must come from me. I must supply it, arrange for it, buy it, provide it, make it happen.

And I feel prepared for that.

I have a few questions, such as situational wisdom items, but there are other moms around for that. I'm already finding that other moms seem very happy to help. I have joined some sort of club that I wasn't a member of 4 days ago.

I asked one mom in Wal-mart (Iknow, I know, I'm terrible for shopping there) about cereal and bottles and she informed me that nipples actually come in "cereal" size. She "got chills" when she learned about Charlie. Another two moms were happy to show me clips that would work in Charlie's baby hair and clips that would work in her hair when she was older. The cashier saw everything I was buying and started asking questions and of course I got out Charlie's pictures and she got tears in her eyes. "Her color don't matter one bit. If you got love in your heart, thats all that matters. I love all babies, no matter what color they are!" Ok thanks cashier lady. I know you tried. You meant well. (It is Wal-mart and it is the South.) It seems the world is happy Charlie is coming home.

I'm happy Charlie is coming home.

I'm ready.

But is Charlie?

Of course she isn't.

While I've been going through the mental and emotional process of bonding my heart to her over the past 5 months, she has been doing baby things 7000 miles away without a clue of my existence, or what is about to happen. This will be a huge change for her, with no prep time. I'm hoping I can make the trip fun for her, and that it will not be traumatic. I sense from the video she is a strong soul, but that doesn't mean she won't be fearful. After all, I'm taking her from the only 4 walls she's known, onto a plane for 20 hours, across the ocean, to a place she's never been, with people she doesn't know and who look different than all the people she's used to. I really hope some toys will ease the shock.

Ideas for the trip, moms?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Free Books! (Just comment).

"Releasing books in to the wild" is what Bookcrossing is all about. You assign your book a tracking number, scope out a release spot, leave the book there and wait. Sometimes a finder will journal on the book, sometimes its never heard from again. Sometimes it hops a plane to Paris, sometimes (to my great dismay) it gets rained on and thrown in the trash. It's a different way of thinking about books and book ownership. When I first heard of BookCrossing I thought: "Oh, no way could I EVER let go of my books! They are a PART OF ME!"

I collected books. I read so many, it was a type of pride to have shelves packed to the brim, double and triple layered. I "knew" where each book was, in each shelf, at least approximately. I log the books in a journal with a rating system.

Here is an "infinity bookshelf". My bookshelves aren't as stylish, but sometimes it felt like they held an infinite number of books!

And so the idea of leaving one on a park bench, with a sticker on it stating "I'm not lost, I'm free!" was a smidgen less than horrifying.

My virgin release: I tried releasing a book I didn't enjoy much, to see what it felt like, this "releasing books in the wild". The book was "Look Homeward Angel" by Thomas Wolfe, and I left it in the frozen pizza section of the grocery store. I had written all over it that this was a free book, take me home, etc. Oh the thrill! The adrenaline! I lurked at the top of the aisle, then realizing a watched pot never boils I went home. The next day I returned, it was still there, I moved it to the tomato bin. I never heard back. One learns. Stores are not great release spots. People think they are stealing. Employees throw out merchandise that doesn't belong there.

I've scoped out better spots by watching and waiting. Post offices, by the weighing machine? Great spot. Contrary to what one might think, crowded public places like festivals? Not optimal. Perhaps people are worried someone's watching them, and again, feel like they are stealing or are on Candid Camera. Doctor's offices waiting rooms? Wonderful spots!

Here are some journal entries from finders that prove this is a fun, educational, positive-karma type activity you can do:

I joined BookCrossing when my shelves got so heavy they threatened to break. I believed I would lighten my load by registering and releasing books. Lo and behold, after eight months of releasing books (I have released a total of 190 books) I have more books than ever. I guess that saying "you've got to give it away to keep it" is true. What happens is that other BookCrossers start sending you books. Boxes of books. Books on your wish list, books you've signed up to read on the website, books to welcome you as a newcomer, and books to release in your area. I cannot release them fast enough, nor can I read them all. My "to be read pile" is more like a mountain than a pile. I started going to library sales, yard sales and Goodwill's and buying cheap books just to release them and help with BookCrossing's mission to "make the world a library".

So in the spirit of BookCrossing, post a comment with your address and the type of book you like (sci-fi, thriller, romance, biography, memoir, literature, fiction, etc) and I will send you a surprise book. The only catch? You must "journal" it at when you receive it, and again IF you release it into the wild or to a friend. So two journal entries total. That's the whole "catch". BC is spam free, and you can journal anonymously without giving out any personal info. Of course, I will not post your address in the comments here either. At some point, when I decide I've spent enough in postage, I'll close the comments on this post. But not for awhile, I've got to make some space for Charlie. Oh yea, BookCrossers have decided to send Charlie children's books as a sort of "bookCrossing shower", so here we go again..... I love it! It's a great community. If you decide to join, tell them Mikavr sent ya.

PS BookCrossers have a great sense of humor:

Friday, May 22, 2009

O.M.G! Can it GET any better?????

Some seriously wonderful things have happened this week!

Of course, number 1 is passing court and becoming Charlie's mother.

Followed closely by, in no particular order of importance because I think all these things are EXCELLENT!

My mom gifted her frequent flyer miles and the two of us will be using 280,000 miles (yes, that's TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THOUSAND miles) to fly to Addis and back! Hurrah, Mom! Massive savings! My mom has been working as a tour guide for decades and I think we are using a large portion of her career miles here. Thank you, Mom.

And THEN tonight my neighbor Sally calls me to come over as her mother, Laurel (of this mural fame) has "something she wants to give you". So I walk over and....

Please click on it for details.

LOOK at this BEAUTIFUL quilted wall hanging that Laurel sewed! From scratch! I wish my camera was better with colors, it matches the mural and bedding perfectly. It's so gorgeous! I'm thrilled to the tips of my toes! Charlie is going to have the best nursery ever!

And THEN (wait It's not over yet!) Laurel presented me with this HAND-CUT (out of wood, she cut it herself) gorgeous mobile!

That also matches the nursery theme and she added a green dragon fly (I love dragon
flies) and a yellow bee, just to make it more interesting for Charlie when she's lieing underneath it.
I tried to take a picture of it, but it's really hard to get it all in one shot as it's a good size and moving and not hung up correctly yet. You can probably get an idea of what it's like.

It's like Disney World on a sunny day! It's colorful and bubbly and fun and moving and crazy and JOY FILLED! I'm just beside myself with gratitude. I must be the luckiest person on earth. To be Charlie's mom, to have a relatively free flight there and back, and to have (not only) talented but GENEROUS neighbors as well.

Stay tuned for more pictures of Charlie. Just because :-)

Orphan - the movie

"The tragic loss of their unborn child has devastated Kate and John, taking a toll on both their marriage and Kate's fragile psyche as she is plagued by nightmares and haunted by demons from her past. Struggling to regain some semblance of normalcy in their lives, the couple decides to adopt another child. At the local orphanage, both John and Kate find themselves strangely drawn to a young girl named Esther. Almost as soon as they welcome Esther into their home, however, an alarming series of events begins to unfold, leading Kate to believe that there's something wrong with Esther -- this seemingly angelic little girl is not what she appears to be. Concerned for the safety of her family, Kate tries to get John and others to see past Esther's sweet facade. But her warnings go unheeded until it may be too late... for everyone."



Anyone else think this might give adoption a bad name? Play on fears?

There is actually a line in the trailer that says “it must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own”.

From an email I received: "Without having seen the movie or read the script, it is hard to know if the entire movie is sending a ghastly adoption message, but the trailer certainly leads us to believe it is. This feeds the notion that older adoptees are very troubled and you should beware.... that's not an image any of us want the general public to have of our kids. It plays into people's deepest fears.There is a growing group pursuing a boycott of the film, sending out emails and posting on online bulletin boards. I urge you to forward this email to others personally involved in adoption, help disseminate the boycott message and write to the producers and distributors expressing your displeasure with the message being sent."

To complain: To complain by letter, here is contact info:
Time Warner Inc.
One Time Warner Center
New York, NY10019-8016

To contact the Board Members:
c/o Office of the Corporate Secretary
Time Warner Inc.
One Time Warner Center
New York, NY 10019

The only email I could find was for INVESTOR RELATIONS - but hey, it's better than nothing. If people want to complain via email instead of by letter, it couldn't hurt to send thousands of emails to investor relations:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Idol was OFF THE HOOK tonight!

KISS???? QUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kara in a bikini???
Black Eyed Peas, Carlos Santana, Cyndi Lauper, Queen Latifa, Rod Stewart, Keith Urban. Did I miss anybody?

There were some real surprises! Good job!

And Adam Glambert singing with KISS was as stroke of genius! You go with your glittery/leather/platform shoes/gay self!
Yes, he's GAY, and that's OKAY. Grr... I have been reading some blogs asking people to vote for Kris because Kris is CHRISTIAN and STRAIGHT and Adam consorts with the DEVIL because he's gay. One comment? "there are-unfortunately- pictures all over the Internet of Adam in drag, and making out with other guys. how he dresses on the show has nothing to do with it, or the fact that he's theatrical. he's a flaming gay man, which is fine, really... nothing worse about that than being addicted to alcohol, or porn, or gossip, or self-indulgence. the problem for me is that there is enough of that out there in Hollywood. we already have one gay american idol- we need a man that will stand out among his peers for his humility, not his attitude."

UGH! No! This is what following Jesus is about? Comparing being gay to diseases or a weak morality? What about how Jesus hung out with prostitutes and lepers and the unwanted and outcast? This kind of judgemental attitude is gross, in my opinion, would Jesus approve of this? Being gay is not a choice, nor is it something that needs to be "cured". I'm personally not gay myself, but if I was I would hope people would accept me for who I am and not who I'm attracted to. So yea, I can't read those blogs anymore. I won't subject myself to that kind of hateful vitriol nor be a part of raising their click-o-meters. If the commenter above was talking about a race, those comments would cause outrage and be clearly racist, but no ones says anything because it's about a gay person and falls under the catch all umbrella of "Christian values"? Phooey! Not cool.

I hope Adam knows there are more people out there that accept him as he is, than the rigid black and white repressed thinkers I've been reading lately. I love his "out there-ness", his attitude, his in-your-faceness, and his UN-APOLOGETIC gayness. Rock on glitter boy!

I hope I can teach Charlie to be open-minded and accept people for the content of their character and not their race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

I think it's actually better for Adam's career that he didn't win. He will not be locked in to the year long Idol contract, won't have to record that awful song Kara wrote and can start record company biding wars over him now.

Ha! Simon looked flabbergasted!

Congrats to Kris Allen! I love surprises!

Charlie's got a mother again :-)

Everyone, I'd like to introduce Charlize Izabelle Worke, my DAUGHTER.

I passed court! It took my agency an hour past what they originally told me because of the spotty internet in Ethiopia, but luckily my SW was smart enough to realize what was going on and asked that a call be placed. Court went smoothly.

(All photos are clickable to get a clearer and bigger view)

Referral picture, several weeks old.

Meeting her grandmother for the first time. Her grandmother will be called "Babcia" which is grandmother in Polish. Look at the bonding potential. This is the picture that sealed the deal for me (emotionally). I could see how well she would fit into my little family.

Just after receiving the yellow duckie, which would soon become her favorite toy.

Moments after duckie, look at the joy in her face. Sigh. Kids can be so full of joy. "Joy" (the emotion) is so fleeting as an adult, but kids have buckets of it, they overflow with it. Even in an orphanage. Amazing Charlie.

Some of the wonderful personality my mom reports Charlie has (smiley, easy-go-lucky, even-tempered) comes through loud and clear in this picture.

Aww, this is too cute, this picture. It makes me smile everytime I see it, which is several times a day. I have these pictures all blown up big and keep them taped up on the 4 walls of my office where I can stare at them inbetween each client. I basically live in a "Charlie box".

This is the Mother's Day photo my agency sent me, the most recent picture of Charlie. Notice she still has the duckie, weeks later.

Well, I am completely over the moon happy. I hate that expression, but that's what I am. More thoughts coming... I need to digest and enjoy this moment right now.

What do you think guys? Am I the luckiest mom in the world, or what?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Winner of the Waiting Contest announced!

And the winner is...

with a whopping 107.5 points..... JAYYYYYYYYYYYY-MOMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Woo!

Here is the YouTube video of "Do They Know It's Christmas" and as J-Momma mentions in her comments, it's worth a look-see just for Boy George. And nostalgia reasons. Interesting that Bono was already involved in African famine relief 25 years ago. It's also worth a glance at Sting, who was quite a hottie back then.

As far as J-Momma's win goes, I think we all saw the writing on the wall a few days ago.... but I can't think of anyone who deserves it more. You should check out her blog and you'll see what I mean.

The prize J-Momma will be receiving, to welcome her newest member of the family, is an Adoption Baby Book called "My Family, My Journey" which comes highly recommended by APs on Amazon and elsewhere. It has pages specific to adoption, which most baby books don't. Here's what Amazon has to say about the book: "For the growing audience of adoptive families, Chronicle Books is proud to offer a baby book that suits the wide array of experiences and choices that bring a family and their new child together. This lovely keepsake album contains sections to record all the joyful milestones and cherished family moments that mark a new baby's life, pages to chart the adopted child's unique journey, as well as a sturdy pocket in which to store important documents and memorabilia. Inside the pocket are over 60 stickers you can use to customize the family tree pages. As the pages of the journal fill with memories, My Family, My Journey will stand as a lasting testament of love for the entire family."

And the final tally of scores are as follows:
J-Momma: 107.5 points
Danicuz: 99 points
Michelle J: 72 points
Cathy: 50 points
Missy: 50 points
Single PAP: 47.5 points
Samir: 25 points
4EvaMom: 21 points
Camil2: 20 points
Tami: 20 points
Angela: 15 points
Kiki: 15 points
Bridget: 10 points
Chrissy: 10 points
Ruthanne: 10 points
Charmaine: 5 points
Danni and Tommy: 5 points
Sarah: 5 points
QueenDiva: 5 points

I think Samir earned a few extra points for his painstaking and torturous search for meaning in tha one line and perhaps he should return to University to complete a dissertation on the song. What do you all think? *grin*

And Dani, there is no "deep meaning" to why I chose that song, other than Bono sang that line and I had posted the U2 video "One" for my final waiting day. Well, and the link to starving Africans, of course, which runs through much in this blog. You were so close, so close! Maybe next time.

Yay! I had a lot of fun hosting this contest and I'm thinking about hosting Part Deux, to get me through 'til travel time. Anyone up for it?

So, shall I start a new contest, allowing everyone (except J-Momma who has stepped down) to keep their points? This time we can go to 200 (which should allow those with 5 points to catch up or new people to start playing) and I will post the winner on the day before travel? Please let me know in the comments if you are interested so I know whether or not to do this again.

Fluttery Heart Syndrome

I have a correction to the post below this one.

This morning when I was writing it, I was feeling calm and zen-mama-like. However, throughout the day I have been experiencing the weirdest symptoms of a fluttery heart, a compulsion to email my agency social worker (which I avoided up until 5 minutes ago), and a need to remind all the colleagues I crossed paths with that this time tomorrow I "may or may not be a mother" and asking them how to deal with that. "Umm..." was their usual response! Well, that is a tough question, especially when you may not have been thinking about it for the last 5 months.

So I take it all back. I am just like the other PAPs: anxious, worried, and tired of waiting.

Sorry for the misleading portrait I painted earlier!

Some judge has my heart in his hands. Be gentle, your Honor.

I also found out in perusing some blogs that at least 7 other PAPs have their cases being heard tomorrow. How many children get adopted each day??? I wonder how long each case is. How many judges they have? Hmm. Anyone know?

Oh, and don't forget, American Idol finale tonight! Here's a picture of Glambert as a blond. I think he looks MUCH better as a blond, what do you think?

Monday, May 18, 2009


Please take a moment to visit here and look around a bit.

Today an email arrived from my agency "sternly yet sympathetically" reminding us that passing court is not a given, that there are many things that can happen to delay, that a case might pass one day and a very similar case may not pass the next. Great timing! Basically, there is no way ahead of time to figure out if you will be passing or not. Recently court dates for a whole class of orphan have been indefinitely frozen. Any child found "abandoned" in Addis are not being adopted as of a week ago. There are concerns about corruption. Too many children being found "abandoned" by the same police officer or in the same location. I'm glad they are aware and looking into this, internatonal adoption needs to be 100% above board. But boy do I feel for the adoptive moms who thought their court date was tomorrow, and now have no idea when they will be picking up their children or IF they will be at all. And meanwhile the child remains at the care center, without parents, as they continue to age.

The email also warned us not to tell the whole world when our court date was "as that will make it so much harder if you don't pass and have to repeat ad infinitum why you didn't pass to everyone you know."

Wellllllll.....*backs away from computer surreptitiously* it's a bit late for that warning for me, innit? What with the countdown contest and all! If I don't pass, I'll have to blog and also verbally tell a hundred people and it will be awful. But hopefully whatever caused the failure will be resolved quickly. Who am I kidding, it will be devastating, but we get through things we have no control over. We have no choice. I'm powerless really. At this point, it's totally out of my control.

Up until now I have been pretty calm throughout this process. I've asked myself if this was a form of denial. But then I'm getting the nursery ready, I'm buying Charlie's clothes, setting up a registry, talking about the adoption to everyone who crosses my path, whipping out her pictures everywhere... So I'm not behaving like I"m in denial. I don't know where the relative calmness comes from, but I'm grateful as I read other PAPs blogs and some sound so worried, anxious, and at the end of their tether with the waiting. If I don't pass though, I do believe at that point I will feel anxious and impatient and sad.

A few days ago, while I was driving to work, I was daydreaming about the moment I get the call from my agency that I passed court. Initial thoughts of the way the message would travel to me: the judge tells my attorney who calls the agency who calls me. A message traveling through the airwaves, cell towers connecting, satellites perhaps, Internet. Good news or bad, it will travel thousands of miles over land and sea (and moutains on both ends) to get to me. How long will it take? Does the POA leave the court room and make calls after each family's case is heard? Or does he wait until the lunch break? And when the moment the news arrives, if it's good news, what would my reaction be?

Having been to film school for undergrad, I often daydream in "scenes", "cuts", "fade to blacks". So here's the scene:

Office, noon time: Phone rings or "You've Got Mail" voice pops up. Listen/read the news, run out into the hallway at work, yell out "I'm a mom!" and doors fly open with colleagues rushing out to congratulate me! There's tears and hugs and then everyone starts dancing and singing:
We go together like
rama lama lama
ke ding a de dinga a dong
Wait, the movie kind of morphed into the ending of "Grease" there! Ok, so it probably won't be quite so.... musical. I'll call my family first, then tell those around me, send off emails, then take a lunch break at the library so I can tell all you readers. I have it all figured out!

So after all that if I don't pass, it will be highly disappointing. But I'm a big girl and I will handle it.

Meet me back here tomorrow afternoon. If I pass, I will post pictures of Charlie!

Final contest question: 10 points, winner announced tomorrow after court. Who sang the line: ""Tonight thank God it's them instead of you" , in which song, and what was the meaning?

Careful, it's a 3 part question :-)

I'm thinking about having another contest where I would tranfer the points of people in the middle now, and let them keep what they've earned so far. What do you think? Interested in playing again?

Breaking the sound barrier

Ok, trivia question for the day, for 10 points, answer and points posted this evening:

What was the first man made inventon to break the sound barrier?

No Googling allowed! I will have to use the good old Honor Code for this!

(Clue: the picture is not the answer)

ETA: The whip is the correct answer. congrats to J-Momma (who is mere points away from wining) and Kiki. I'm thinking about having another contest where I would tranfer the points of people in the middle now, and let them keep what they've earned so far. What do you think? Interested in playing again?

Flights: Lap tickets or buy a seat?

What would you do for a flight that is four hours long, (but costs quite a bit) if you had a 17 month old girl? Someone recently told me there is no way she would carry her child on her lap because the child is currently fidgety to the extreme and to save her sanity would need his own seat. However, I'm very interested in saving money. Am I insane to buy a cheap "lap ticket" which means I have to carry Charlie on my lap the entire trip? This is not the 19 hour flight from Addis back home.. for that one we are going to try and get a bassinet in the bulkhead.

Waiting to see what type of personality she has was not an option (neither was waiting until the legal adoption to settle on her legal name) the tickets had to be bought even before court. So technically I don't even have a daughter yet but had to name her officially and had to buy a lap ticket in advance. I hadn't even completely settled on the name Charlie, but having to buy tickets will make you firm up a name decision pretty quickly. I'm not complaining as this will be a wonderful trip to which I'm really looking forward. I'm just letting you know in case you fall in the same situation where you are planning travel before your court date. It's a bit of a gamble. Luckily, the lap tickets are cheaper than adult tickets (10% of adult tickets in international flights, free in some national) in case something goes wrong with court, although I doubt they are refundable.

Four hours of possible tantrums in your lap vs. saving $$: your opinion?

PS Contest players, a 10 point question coming up as son as I can think of one :-)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Just the two of us, we can make it if we try..."

Two days left until court!

Who sang the title song, for 5 points?

Yesterday I spent my morning in a "Safe Babies" class. We went over all kinds of ways your child can kill itself. Yikes. I'm much more aware of the millions of things that can go wrong now.

Of course we went over the things that everyone knows, like how babies like to lick outlets and stick hard round pellets as far up their noses as possible. We also went over some things I would not have thought of and I'm going to share some of those with you today.

* Bath time: Obviously don't leave your child alone, but here are 2 interesting safety items that were not obvious to me. One, turn the "cold" tap off last so the faucet is not hot. Two, when you are checking the water temperature, move your hand back and forth through the water to check for hot spots.

* 911: You can use a land line to call 911 even if you don't have a land line active. I only have a cell, as many of us nowadays. 911 doesn't get an automatic address with cell phones. But if you have an old phone, you can plug it in to the socket and call 911. It's also good for when you have a babysitter, to have that added line to 911 just in case. This is handy and I might bring out my old phone just for emergencies. Oh wait, I just free cycled 4 old phones. Oops.

* Make sure electrical cords are out of baby's reach. They make lousy chew toys.

* Cook on back burners (you know, the clean burners?) and if you have to cook on front burners, turn handles to the back. Get knob protectors for stove knobs. (I already had these because my dog Boo turned on the gas one day when she was checking out the items on the stove.)

* Make sure kitchen cords, like to the toaster and Mr. Coffee, are not within reach. Those loops hanging off the counters are tempting and could result in a clonk on the head or a severe burn.

* Windows: Screens are made to keep bugs out, not to keep babies in. Only open windows 4 inches unless you want baby falling or climbing out. Roll up blind cords and hang them on hooks up high.

* Toys: The "3 and under" restriction on toys is not because your child is not smart enough to play with that toy. It's because somewhere on that toy there is a part that might be a choking hazard.

* If it can fit through a toilet paper roll, it's too small to play with. Choking hazard.

* Latex balloons, even fully inflated, are a choking hazard. Who knew?

* Toy chests should not have lids that seal shut. Kids like to hide in there, or make their younger siblings hide in there and sit on the lid. If you have a toy chest with a lid that seals shut, drill holes in the sides so at least the kid can breathe while his brother is sitting on top of him. The instructor suggested the best toy chests are laundry baskets. Portable, light, and full of holes already.

* Garbage cans: Try to get one that is tall and difficult to open (I already have $120.00 space age contraption that is completely impenetrable, due to my dog, Boo, who can open almost anything that smells like rotten food.)

There's a veterinarian in town who does a "Dogs and Babies" class that I'm thinking about taking. I'll post tips from there too.

Ok, contest for today: (5 points) What is the number one killer of children age 0- 14 in the U.S.?

(5 points) Out of the following plants, which is poisonous for infants to ingest? Christmas Cactus, Geranium, Forsythia or Daffodil?

Answers and points distributed at 8 pm to give everyone a chance to answer. good luck! We are getting close and may have a winner by the end of the day!

Three is the magic number

Here I am at three days until court. Time continues to pass, and actually pass surprisingly quickly. It seems like it was just Monday, and here it is the weekend already. I suppose that's good, as long as time slows down once I get Charlie into my arms!

My social worker said I should hear the court news around noon on May 20th! Since Ethiopia is 7 hours ahead of us, they will be in court while I'm asleep and getting ready for work. That is, IF I can sleep that night. If I pass, I will post immediately and load up some pictures of Charlie as well so you all can see what a sweetheart she looks like.

On to the contest. We need a winner by Wednesday!

Name this painting (3 points)

Name this place (3 points)

Name this band (3 points)

Name this animal (3 points)

Name this fairy tale (3 points)

Name this nursery rhyme (3 points)

This is De La Soul. Name their song that includes the number 3 (6 points)

Good luck! I'll print comments and add up points at 8 PM EST.