Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy 6th months little man

Van is 6 months today. We had hoped that we would have him by now but alas there are no travel dates in sight at all. On the up side, yesterday I opened my yahoo to see an email from the family that are over in Vietnam now adopting a baby girl from the same orphanage. This family had offered to take pics and video of our little guy so we were counting down the days until January 20th. We were not disappointed!!! She took 4 pictures and 2 short videos. It was so very wonderful to see our little guy. He looks great!! He even had on the little outfit we had sent and his nounou was holding the stuffed toy :) The family also told me in the email that he seemed very happy (laughed a lot) and healthy. So thank you Nadia and family for taking the time to do this and as a result giving us such an amazing gift!!!

Any adoptive family will tell you how hard the wait to travel was and how important updates are, especially updated pictures. It is unfortunate that we have to count on each other to get this information as opposed to getting it from our agency but that is the way it is and you have to accept it. At least we do have each other. I hope that when the time comes we can do the same for another waiting family!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010's first big change

In 2000 I graduated from law school and decided that I wanted to travel and work overseas before jumping into my profession. I figured my profession would always be there for me and a 2 year hiatus would not matter. I eagerly departed for a 2 year stint with the JET program working as an assistant language teacher in Japan. While there I was able to immerse myself in another culture, learn a bit of a new language, travel through some of South East Asia (including Vietnam), make great life long friends and generally have a great time. When I returned to Canada in 2002 I thought I would be able to jump into my profession and before long be on the path to a fulfilling and successful career. Well things have not turned out as I had imagined. It started well...I took a job as a legal researcher at a great firm in Halifax. Unfortunately they didn't offer articling (legal apprenticeship required to be called to the bar) so I took an articling position with a refugee clinic that I had been volunteering with. Here is the perfect job for me I thought. The work was incredibly interesting and fulfilling, everything I had hoped for. Unfortunately the director of the clinic was a megalomaniac (possibly borderline psychotic) and I could not stay when my contract was up (sadly the clinic has since collapsed as a result of this person's issues). From that point on I have bounced from crummy small firm to crummy small firm working with some of the weirdest and most unprofessional people one could imagine. All of the stereotypes of the legal profession were in front of me on a daily basis. I contemplated changing careers, moving countries etc. Nothing about this career choice seemed to be working for me. I wondered if going to Japan as opposed to articling right away had been a mistake. Most of my fellow graduates were either partners in their private firms or were secure in a cushy government position. What was to become of me I wondered. I am not one to spend time self wallowing in regret. Life is what it is and you have to move on. I refused to regret the wonderful time I had in Japan. It is a part of who I am today. I figured something would come along eventually. I didn't know how long it would take or in which form it would come.

Well today something did come along and after a lot of soul searching I have decided it is in a form that I can be happy with. A bit more background...Last year I accepted a job as a contract lawyer with a large Canadian firm's Ottawa office. I had a wonderful time there. There were no petty office politics as with small firms, mainly because they had an HR department. This was quite a novelty to me. It was a professional and warm environment which surprised me because I had always thought large firms were soulless factories and therefore not for me. At this firm I was treated with respect and appreciation, something I had rarely felt at the small firms where I had worked previously. Sadly my contract ended and I was once more thrust into the uncertain world of unemployment. This was a difficult time as we had the adoption proceeding but little stability. We were contemplating having to move. Well, last month I heard through a friend that the firm I had so enjoyed working at last year could be looking for a law clerk to fill a role that required a level of experience that a lawyer would best suit. I contacted them right away. I wrestled a bit with the knowledge that I would essentially be working below my education level but in the end the reasonable hours and job security won out. I felt that this job was the best fir for me, my husband and Van. This is what our little family needed right now. Time to check the ego at the door as it were. So today the call came and I without hesitation and with tears in my eyes (happiness I assure you!) accepted their job offer! The terms of the contract are better then I could have hoped for and I feel like a gigantic weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

My one sadness is that I will not be able to stay home with Van. However, Pat is eager to fill that role and be a stay at home dad for the first few months. I think in the long run it will all be for the best. I can look forward to being the one to stay home with the next little one. At least I will have job stability, normal working hours (a rarity in my profession) and we will be able to stay in Ottawa...yay...

The first change of 2010 is a good one. I can't wait for the next big change!!!


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Of lengthening time lines and lack of pictures

Well it has been a bit of a disappointing few days recently. I am an avid snoop of any adoption related info that could shed some light on our process. Part of that snooping means that I religiously check another agency's website to see what is happening with their Vietnam program. This agency, also located in Ottawa, publishes biweekly updates of all their programs and every second Friday I am on the site eagerly reading their Vietnam info. The updates include where in the process families are and what is happening re: time lines. This past Friday I dove in hoping to read that this agency's post-referral families had received their travel dates. Well, they haven't and, sadly, some of them have been waiting 7 months! There are also now some families with our agency that have been waiting for more that 7 months. It therefore appears that this is the new standard of time. If that is the case then we cannot even hope to travel until at the earliest March and perhaps even April. When we were first matched to Van he was only a couple of weeks old. We thought we would be for sure meeting him at 6 months or younger and prepared accordingly. It now appears he will be 8 to 9 months old. This may mean we will have to reassess his whole wardrobe, baby car seat etc. One of the many difficulties of adoption I suppose. On the up side, we are very lucky that he was so young when we were matched to him. There must be families now who prepared for a baby but will be ending up with a toddler. I can say from all of the research I've done that there is a big difference between welcoming a baby versus a toddler both in terms of home preparation and emotional preparation.

On another note. I received an email from a family that did a home country visit to Vietnam with their two children in December. While there they visited Hoa Binh as that is where their son spent the first months of his life. The family gave me and other waiting families the link to their shutterfly account in case our children are in some of the photos (they took a bunch of pics of the orphanage and some pics have some of the children in them). Well I eagerly went on and scoured the pics but alas little Van was not in them. This is the second time we've received a batch of pics from Hoa Binh. Unfortunately neither batch produced a much hoped for pic of Van. So we continue to wait for any updated pics so that we can see what he looks like now and so, frankly, we can see that he still exists! We have placed all our hope on the family from our agency who leave for Vietnam next week. They should catch sight of our little Van on January 20th. We can't wait!!


Monday, January 4, 2010

First Post of 2010

Happy New Year everybody! We sure hope that this year brings everything we've been waiting so long for! Hopefully the year we finally become a family.

Well, on the news front there is absolutely no news...nope...not a thing. We are very happy for a the families who have received news. We know two families who should be traveling this month. One family is waiting for travel dates. They were meant to travel the 11th but have been postponed until further notice. Apparently there are procedural changes being requested by the Vietnamese government that are delaying things a bit further right now. The director of our agency is over there now (on a trip with high school students to do volunteer work in the orphanages) and is trying to sort this latest glitch out. It should all be sorted by the time we go though.

The other family is traveling January 17th. Their little girl is at the same orphanage as Van and they have generously volunteered to take pics and maybe video of Van. We cannot wait!!!! This is what we are looking forward to now as travel seems to far in the future. So roll on late January!! We've also decided to sent a little care package to Van via this wonderfully generous family! It's always hard to figure out what to put into a care package. We sent one in November and included a new outfit and a couple of toys. This time we're sending a casual outfit and a little stuffed doll (that we slept with for a couple of weeks to pick up our scent. I know that sounds weird but apparently it can be very helpful for adopted babies). Here's a picture :)

It was difficult to choose the clothing. We picked out a few things then when we got them home decided they were too cute to part with. It is likely that the clothes we send will get left with the orphanage when we pick Van up so we tried to find a balance between cute but no so cute that we will regret losing them when we get him home. Once we get to Vietnam we plan on doing a bunch of shopping at local markets for clothes for the orphanage. We'd really like to make some donations.

Anyway, that's all for now. Hopefully the next post will be filled with news of some kind or another.