Every tree limb overhead seems to sit and wait, while every step you take becomes a twist of fate.
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road...

If you are new to our adoption blog please take a moment to scroll down to the archives at the bottom of this page and start with July 2009 post "Watershed."


12.18.2010

NEW BLOG LOCATION

This blog is no longer in use. Somehow the comments and links at the bottom became corrupted.
Please visit http://www.at-the-watershed-blog.blogspot.com/ to find my new location. Thanks!

12.15.2010

Edited

Update from Friday night:
I've played with the blog. I couldn't get it back to normal. But I think everything is still all here - now at the bottom instead of on the left side. Comments should be back to normal. Please write and assure me that I haven't lost my blog community!


Wednesday night:
Ok, we've had a little drama at the watershed blog.
I've lost posts. Most people can't comment. I lost my left side of the screen, blogroll, links, etc. I say "I lost" but really BLOGGER dumped everything. I don't know why or how. And I can't fix it. So I will have to export to another url to save my sanity.

Until then please save up your comments. Because what is a blog without comments??!!!
I hope to have things up and running smoothly by Saturday.

~A

Well THIS day of this year came a little too fast...

Last year I had an adoption mental health breakdown. Tomorrow is my one year anniversary of that mental break. I wrote this post the day after: http://at-the-watershed.blogspot.com/2009/12/here-is-where-i-confess-lot-of-crappy.html

I keep looking at my birthday (coming up on Saturday) out of the corner of my mind's eye. Twisting and turning it but keeping it at a distance.

I'm so thankful for how quickly the year flew by. That seemingly endless time between my 33rd birthday and being matched with Ariam is a distant memory. The rest of the year from March 1 - current day flashed by.

I'm thankful the pain and longing is far behind me.
But not so thankful to be standing at the edge of my 34th birthday.

I don't have a lot of time to face it, consider it, and come up with something poetic. But I think there is value in considering where to go from here given the information I received last year. Without stopping and evaluating from time to time I can see how life might just take wings and fly by now that Ariam is home.

So. Last year I found out that J and I together are "infertile." Separately possibly not. But together definitively so. And I can't tell you how insulting and irritating I find it when I hear "oh but now that you've adopted you'll definitely get pregnant." Sure, that may happen to some people. But it is not as if there is a magic correspondance between the two.

If we want to get pregnant we have to pay for it. And it is easily as expensive as adopting another child.
I'm not sure what we are going to do. I don't feel any panic at all about it. (Thank God!)
But I do realize that time continues to tick by and that my next birthday will be here before I know it. I don't think we'd try any fertility treatments after I'm 35 or 36.

So what to do? How do you make these decisions? Have any of you tried IVF after adopting?

I can honestly say that I would happily complete our family with another adopted child. It isn't about the child I'm raising. I think for me it is about the experience of pregnancy. It is something I've always wanted. It is something a woman's body is made for. I feel...incomplete? Maybe I won't always feel that way, and I don't feel like I'd be incomplete never raising a bio child. But right now I still have daydreams about that moment of seeing a positive pregnancy test. Of cravings. Of the big annoucement. I have daydreams about holding a teeny tiny newborn.

Sigh. I am plain old too tired to think about this very much or very often. Which may mean I have my answer. Who in her right mind being as tired as I am would enter into invasive, time consuming, exhausting fertility treatment? For now the answer is obvious because we don't have the money. But I think it's something that needs to be settled and either attempted or grieved by this time next year.

The End. No tears. :)
No panic. :)

And now we return to our previously scheduled Christmas glee and yuletide cheer.
This Sunday WE light the Advent candle up front at church. I get a little giddy thinking about it.

~A

WW - Come Hither

video

PS. WHERE did the left side of my blog go?? And what happened to comments? Anyone have any ideas for fixing this?

12.03.2010

Milo's Story: A Long Journey for a Little Dog

On February 19th, 2007 I arrived in Bang Niang. A small sandy beach town one hour north of Phuket.
I was excited and nervous and hot. Very very hot. Like 100+ degrees in the shade hot.

I stepped out of my little gold rental car in front of the office and received an overwhelming welcome! 40 pounds of black flying fur, wiggling, waggling, licking and dancing around in front of me. A dog! A shiny black dog with love in his heart.


2007

We made friends instantly. He was a tsunami survivor who had adopted the office and the volunteers and employees it housed two years before I arrived.

I snuck him bites of cake and sausages. I made sure his water bowl was full.

I worried over him and reminded people to feed him.

On night 4 he followed me to a restaurant, across an extremely busy street (I looked away to avoid seeing him smooshed by a truck), and proceeded to charm scraps off of tourists.

MILO. Named by someone for his chocolatey resemblance to the instant Thai coffee drink.

When I left that July Milo was still shiny, happy, playful and if not owned individually, at least well cared for communally. I heard he was still rotating homes for the night depending on who was in town and who was on home leave or vacation.

A year and a half later I happened to see him in a photo on face.book. A thin and scrappy version of himself. It was suspicious to me but I chose to believe that the people he loved and trusted for a span of 4-5 years would continue to take care of him. It was beyond my imagination that when they all left for their various countries and closed the office doors, they would just leave Milo sitting alone outside.

I am embarrassed to say that another year passed. I saw another photo of Milo on facebook.

Now a shell of his former self. Eaten by mange, tail drooping, gray faced, homeless, ribs poking through dehydrated skin.

The details are massive. Saving Milo was a process that lasted from January - September 2010.

I put myself at odds with former officemates over this. But I simply don’t care. A dog is a pet. A dog is not a wild animal who can be cared for and made dependent and then left to his own devices on the street. A dog does not “like to roam” never knowing where his next meal might come from. Never experiencing a loving stroke from an owner. Slinking from shade tree to shade tree. Painfully pulling his wasted body to the scarce puddles on the side of the road.
I called Soi Dog Foundation last January and they picked Milo up outside his former "home." Long ago closed up and fenced off to house a daycare. The photo below breaks my heart. For almost five years this was a safe place for Milo. A covered porch to shelter him from rain or sun. A bowl of fresh water. A driveway of cars filled with friends to bring him food and affection.

Milo’s story is one that has a very painful middle but a happy ending. One story for all of the millions of heartbreaking dog stories in tourist destinations all over developing countries. Stray puppy is born because careless owners did not spay and neuter. Puppy’s mom is hit by car. Puppy finds high season long-term tourist to beg from and becomes accustomed to being “owned.” Tourist leaves eventually. Puppy/dog has no survival skills. Rainy season sets in. Dog becomes covered in mange. Dog either dies a slow painful death from skin disease and hunger or is hit by a car and left for dead in the road.

Milo somehow survived these cycles. Barely.

On top of the mange and dehydration, Milo was suffering from liver damage. (Caused by the questionable things he was eating to try and fill his belly.)
But....
Milo's story just came to a close!! His family found him!

Rob and Sandra were Milo’s first best friends. Tsunami volunteers who knew Milo for a full year before I ever even arrived in Bang Niang. They too had assumed that years later, when the office closed, someone would take him or arrange a home for him.

This fall Milo took a big journey. The biggest of his life. He moved to England to live with his family. To stroll the country lanes, chase balls on the beach, and monitor sheep.

It didn't take long for him to learn about the couch and adapt to a family life. The wonder of walking with your pack. The soothing peace of regular meals. He is finally what he was meant to be – a pet. Somebody’s beloved pet. A pet who is once again young and glossy and full of life. He KNOWS he is a pet and he waits diligently by his garden gate to watch whenever anyone goes out.



I played a part in this story. But so did others. First a wonderful Thai woman who cared for Milo for his first few years and then Soi Dog Foundation who looked beyond the fact that Milo was “just a dog” and cared enough to get involved. Finally Rob and Sandra who spent a lot of time and money to get Milo home.

You can adopt an animal to almost any country in the world. Bringing an animal home to the U.S. is the easiest scenario. Island nations like the UK are harder, but it can be done. Please don't travel to another country, earn the love and trust of an animal, only to leave him/her to a slow and painful death on the street.
If you are in Thailand and need help getting your pet home you can contact Soi Dog Foundation.

~A

For Rob and Sandra. Thank you. I wasn't sure I'd see a happy ending. Thank you for being wonderful human beings. Milo deserves you and you deserve him. You restored my faith.

Real Life Seriously Impeding Blog Life

Dear House, Leaves, Groceries, Husband, Child, Career, Facebook, Friends, Dexter on Net.flix, Sleep, Dogs, Weather, and Holiday Cheer:

You are seriously getting in the way.

I mean, how am I supposed to blog when I have to pay attention to all of you all the freakin time?

If you really loved me you would let me lounge on my couch, under the good blanket (you know, the one fresh out of the warm dryer - that someone else washed and lovingly tucked over me), with a bag of gummy bears (Haribo please), Gilmore Girls lightly tuned in in the background, with a warm toasty fire roaring. Blogging of course.

How is it that you are keeping me so busy that holidays just fly by without even a single blog mention?

Don't you know that I have a load of photos to post?

A hair product (tangle teaser) to review?

A winter vacation to mull over?

Daycare updates to write?

Deep thoughts on national adoption month, race, and AIDS that must be shared?

Have you forgotten that Bridget is waiting for her "what not to do during the last days of your wait" post? It is written on the backs of business cards for goodness sake. I need those cards out of my wallet and off of my mind!

Don't you remember what bad shape I was in this time last year? That absolutely must be blogged about, sniffled over, held close, coddled and released before my 34th birthday and Christmas come swooping in together.

I'll have you know that my bloggy relationships are being strained. YES, strained.

Let me know when you come up with a solution.

Until then I am on strike.

~A


11.24.2010

6 Months

Thanksgiving as a holiday is drawing near, but thanksgiving as a way of life is 6 months old!

December 1st is the 6 month anniversary of the day we became a family.

We celebrated with a post-placement visit from our social worker yesterday. She asked me whether or not we still "check in" with each other on our little check list of attachment questions. You know what I mean, whether you ask them out loud or just internally, I think most adoptive parents run through the little list early on:

"Do I love her yet?"
"Do I think she loves me?"
"Would I give my life for her?"
"WHO is she?"
"Does it feel like she's been with us forever?"
"How would I feel if she suddenly were no longer here?"
"Do I long for how it used to be?"
"Will life ever feel normal again?"

Ok, is it just me?
Well, if it is, that's fine. I can be honest. These were the questions we asked ourselves and each other a lot in the first few weeks. It's an odd feeling when you get home (I think particularly if this is your first child) - to be floating on a cloud of thrill and relief, celebrating externally, dizzy with exhaustion and semi-paralyzed with doubt internally.

SIX MONTHS though. Things have changed. Things have stabilized. I can't remember the last time we asked any of the questions above. A new normal has solidified. A dorky, cheesy, straight from the sitcoms storyline. You know the one: new parents, drunk on love for their child, never go out on a date. When they finally get alone outside the house all they can do is talk about the baby. Her sparkly eyes! Her new way of turning her chin up and looking down on her subjects like a queen! Her newest word! How much she ate that night. Was it enough? Could she be hungry and need us to come home early? Was her forehead slightly warm? Should we be washing her hands more often? On and on and on. Until date is done and we rush back to stand over her crib and stroke her little sleeping face.

Yes, we can both remember the good old days (grocery shopping at midnight, sleeping in until 10am, staying out past 6:30pm, spontaneous date nights) but we'd never want to go back to being just two. What did we TALK about back then??!! ;)

I am so thankful for a holiday season filled with this little face. A face I can't fathom living without.

~A

About Me

My photo
J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.

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