Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lonely, Sushi, a new Friend

Here I sit at the Charlotte airport, away from my wife, away from my son :(

I am such a home body. I hate traveling for business, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. This past weekend I've spent four days in San Antonio and have learned something quite poignant: you can miss two people in completely different ways at the same time.

The conference I attended was on San Antonio's Riverwalk. If you've not been to San Antonio then the only way to describe the riverwalk is to imagine your favorite romantic walk and then stretch it out for 6+ miles. Gently flowing water, lush vegetation, gurgling waterfalls, soft background music, and picturesque dining tables everywhere you look just begging you to sit down with your sweetheart and hold her hand... but I'm in Texas... and my sweetheart is in Ohio :(

And then the phone rings, and I answer and hear: "I rode a horse and touched a snake!!!!" The wrenching feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear my son's precious little high-pitched voice is about enough to make me tear up through my smile.

Two different relationships; both so different; both absences felt full force... simultaneously. Will I ever get home?

On Sushi:
The millions of sushi lovers couldn't be wrong, could they? Turns out... yes.

I've eaten California rolls in the past. Once or twice at different functions they've been served as hor d'oevres and I figured I'd try them and, to my frustration, they've always tasted just as nasty as they've looked. So anyway, a business colleague had a hankering for sushi and after filet mignon two nights in a row I figured "why not?" I like fish, I like rice, I even like soy sauce a little. How bad can it be? Besides, all those nasty California rolls were served at hotels and, like many other foods with which I'm more familiar, the hotel versions probably don't do justice to the real thing.

Things I've learned:
  1. There is a very good reason we cook and season our fish. That would be because it's gross when consumed raw.
  2. The salmon colored, thinly sliced food on your plate between the... er... salmon colored salmon and the... er... salmon colored yellowtail is actually ginger. Just because it is more thinly sliced and easier to pick up for the novice chop-stick user, and just because it's on your plate, doesn't mean you should eat it. If you do your mouth will taste like you just ate an entire flower shop... and a Bath and Body Works store.
  3. The little blob of avocado colored gunk on you plate is actually wasabi. Just because it looks like guacamole, and just because everything in San Antonio is served with guacamole, and just because it's on your plate doesn't mean you should eat it. If you do, your head will feel like you ate a volcano.
  4. You can ruin perfectly good smoked salmon by smooshing it together with cream cheese, bland rice, and wasabi colored avocado and then wrapping the whole mess in seaweed.
  5. Just because a place can't pull off the main course doesn't mean you should rule out dessert and coffee. This was quite good and pulled the experience from F- to a solid F.
A new friend:
I boarded the flight from San Antonio to Charlotte feeling very lonely and ready to be home. God arranged for me to be in a seat next to the sweetest little lady; she was reading her one-year Bible and her name is Vivian. Vivian was widowed 20 months ago and is still working through her grieving process. She was visiting San Antonio for a 45 year college class reunion -- her first time out in 20 months. We chatted from take-off to landing. Over two and a half hours. I didn't feel lonely once. Thank you, God, for a friend. Anyone reading this, please say a quick prayer for Vivian and ask God that he would comfort her.

Time to board for CAK. This blogger needs to go home.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Finally Moving Ahead

At last! The State of Ohio FINALLY completed our child-abuse checks - after ONLY 104 days - and we are moving on to the last stage of our homestudy. A few weeks ago our agency decided to make an exception in our case that would allow us to start our social worker interviews while they were still waiting to hear from the state. I was so glad that they did...while I understand completely the point of waiting for a family to pass all of the legal hurdles before allowing a social worker to visit their home, in our case it seemed a little silly. Stacy, our social worker, had visited us to complete her final post-adoption report on Yikealo ONE WEEK before we applied to our agency for this second adoption. Obviously, she knows us well, and she knows that we're not child abusers! Anyway, we heard this past Tuesday that we had passed with the state, and on Thursday evening we met Stacy and her daughter at the Ethiopian restaurant in Cleveland for our third and final interview.

By yesterday, she had already turned in her report to her superior in the Ohio office for review before it gets sent off to Oregon for approval. Once the Oregon office approves it, they will return it to Stacy for notarization, and then we will receive copies of the completed report. We have to send one to USCIS along with our application to bring an immigrant into the country. One gets sent back to our agency as part of our dossier. Once our dossier is reviewed and approved, we will finally be added to the waitlist! I'm hoping that we'll make that by the end of October, but we'll see. At that point, our dossier will get sent to Ethiopia for translation, and USCIS will give us a fingerprinting appointment. Once our fingerprints are approved by the Department of Homeland Security, we will recieve a Favorable Determination Letter (FDL), which will allow us to bring an immigrant into the US. At that point, we will be able to actually recieve a referral for a child, although based on the current waitlist, it will probably take a while longer. This is all new terrritory for us, as with Yikealo's adoption we received his referral before we had our dossier completed, before we ever received our FDL, before we ever made it onto a waitlist, before we even knew that our homestudy had been approved! There will be lots more steps this time, which all goes to show what we've been saying all along: God knows His plans for us, and He controls the timelines. Everything will happen precisely when it's supposed to happen - even though the waiting can seem hard at times. At any rate, it feels good to be moving forward after several months of absolutely nothing!

The Yikealo-ism for the week: As he was getting ready for pre-school on Wednesday, he suggested that I do his hair while he put on his socks so that we could see "who is the faster." I agreed, and then he continued: "Mom, if you win then I will be your slave, but if I win then you will be my slave." about NOT! Besides, son, even setting aside your overly competitive nature and the whole problem of slavery, I think that you are imitating the wrong guy in the David and Goliath story!