Thursday, April 16, 2015

Paris Arrival & Day 1

Heathrow Terminal 5
Eat where the pilots eat.
We flew Denver, London, Paris - got in late, figured out how to get a taxi (marshaled areas depending on your destination, all in English, once you got past the hawkers who looked like they'd just returned from a bar fight) and found our hotel quickly despite the peak hour traffic and, quite dully, went to bed.  It definitely worked to our advantage with jet-lag etc.  Although we did note, before we fell asleep, that our  hotel room had raspberry pink shag carpeting, and it was marvelous.

Next day, R doing what he does best directed us to a great crepe place here in the Marais - Breizh Café.

Breizh Café
It's modest appearance belies the fabulous menu.

They do the most amazing buckwheat crepes, savory and sweet. (Although with the number of plates of oysters we saw going out, buckwheat crepes are not their only specialty).  Like most popular places in Paris the owner was sending people away who did not have a reservation.  One of the waitresses who spoke a little English was about to turn us away sadly, but then the owner said wait, and snuck her a thumbs up when a table left.  I'd say that was pretty fortunate given that group after group were turned away after we were seated.

We started with charcuterie - a large plate of cured meats - one of which had a round, squiggly sort of appearance.  Quite frankly it looked like a thin slice of cured brain, but ehhhhhh - it was delicious.  Later on our food tour on Sunday, we discovered it was likely snout.  Not sure if you think that is better or worse, but I figure if I came all this way to eat, it's no time for sticking my nose up at things (that's some foreign foodie humour for you).

As for the crepes,  R's was an onion confit, mine artichoke - with ham, cheese and an egg cooked over easy in the middle that you could drag over all the other components.  Quite delicious, especially with the recommended cup of cider (which, after I'd drunk half a delicious cup, I realized was likely alcoholic but seems to be widely drunk at all times of the day here). We finished with a baked apple and salted caramel crepe with buckwheat ice cream.  Outstanding.

Of amusing note, there was a tan plastic bottle of Whole Foods 365 brand grade A maple syrup on the shelf behind the kitchen, and sitting next to us were three valley girls discussing their history of boyfriends.  It's certainly a place frequented by English speakers, but the food was absolutely worth it.


I'm taking back my pens.

Friday, April 05, 2013

on our way...

held over in Denver, FBI called in, appeared to be a possible child abduction???  broke my heart saying goodbye to my girls... each of them moved in different ways... oh how I miss them.  after our flight to London, a freezing, freezing terminal 5 at Heathrow.  one hour pop over to Paris, to a cheerily tooth-sucking taxi driver who insisted he didn't know any english.  if that is true I knew more french than he did english, which is highly suspect... but it didn't cost us as much to get to the hotel as I feared it might, especially given it was peak hour traffic.  sighted Notre Dame on the way in, which made me extremely glad.  I love this city, and I have waited so very long to be here with R.  sounds of the city outside the hotel.  deliriously happy and tired.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Do Overs

Ten years ago, I was getting married in two weeks.  I was a hot mess.

Back then I probably would have said I was "really really stressed out".  Being stressed out back then was kinda fashionable, you know?  Like how people 'round these parts say "I'm just so busy right now..." It's cool.  It makes you just a little bit more important when you can't squeeze another thing into your schedule.

But I wasn't cool, I was a hot mess.

A quick engagement, mad wedding planning, no availability for anything in town, a tight budget, and trying immigrate - plus being the first to leave the nest added a whole 'nother level of complication that left me sobbing and quivering and nauseous.  Plan A was for if we were able to fly home together, and Plan B was if I wasn't given a visa and he flew home while I stayed with my folks.

Now don't get me wrong, the guy was totally worth it.  Totally.  But when it came down to it, the getting married part, and then getting my visa sorted out was kind of a non-event.  In fact, once I realized that I shouldn't have worried about it at all and saw how much emotional wastage there was, I got a little light-headed and had to sit down.  Why had I put myself through all of that?

Well part of it was, I was young.  I'd never gone through anything like that before - and likely never would again.  And when you're dealing with international governments, a strict timeline and strict time limits, things get emotionally and mentally sticky.  If my visa got denied, it was on me.  That's a lot of pressure.  And a lot of money.

Fast forward 10 years.  We get the call to say, "get your girl"... and everything goes crazy.  I knew it would be hard logistically, but the emotional and mental strain that happened over the next few days knocked me for six.  Still, this time gave me strange dejavu.  Everytime something would go wrong, and the nausea would start to build, I'd harken back to the other time and think, "What can I do differently this time?"  And while this time, my hope was anchored far deeper, and my trust more secure, there was still moment where all I wanted to do was go to bed and shut the door and give up.  I felt like I couldn't go on, but didn't know how to disconnect my heart from my hope.  With a tight time frame, international visas, immigrating, and no availability haunting me again I felt weirdly out of touch with the whole experience.  Shouldn't planning an international adventure to get your daughter be fun?  Exciting?  Exhilerating?

I've come to the conclusion that, in adoption, those feelings are for the other people - the people who get to watch the adventure unfold.  It's sort of their reward for supporting you and doing fundraisers with you and listening to your story three fifteen twenty times.  They get the rush and the excitement and the goosebumps.  And that's not a complaint, I think that's ok.

It's just different on the other side.  Right now, I don't need the warm fuzzies, I need grace.  I need grace to lean on when I'm weeping from frustration.  I need grace to know my friendships will survive my absent mindedness, and grace to know my kids will forgive their mother being on the phone and internet so long.  And I need grace from my own sense of control and fear. 

Because eventually, I will get those other things too - I get a lifetime of being a mother to this little girl, and the idea is, she gets a lifetime in a family instead of being alone.  And when I'm laying in bed at night, with the shattered remains of my lists scattered through my brain, and I picture her little face, or what her hand might feel like to touch, or the first time I make her laugh, or even the first time she feels comfortable enough to receive a hug from me, I get the warm fuzzies too.

But I have paid dearly for those warm fuzzies over the last 19 months.  And you know what?  In a way she has too.  And will.  The excitement will come, for both and all of us, but when it does I have a feeling it might be tempered greatly by the fact that it was initiated first by tragedy.  Perhaps one day, hopefully soon, the sting will start to dull, and the thrills will be ours to relish.

Until then, the pleasure I find is in small, insignificant mothery things like going and buying her some shoes.  Brand new.  Her first pair.  Fashionable, cute, and impractical.  Maybe not a lot to some, but to us?  Fun.  Exciting.  Exhilarating.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

And to follow up...

Sometimes telling yourself things will get better is a bad idea.

Because sometimes things need to get worse...

These tickets were a hard fought battle, let me tell you.  And I'm not just talking about logistics, I'm talking everything outside too - kids, homeschool, international administrative "stuff" - that was the squeeze.

I was feeling faint of heart, but a good verbal shoulder shake by the hubby helped me dig deep, and well... guess what?  (Oh Lord, bless our poor travel agent!) We asked for a last minute add to our tickets, just to compare, and our ticket prices dropped by almost $500 a piece!  I was pretty floored.

Which was good because it's looking like the hotel we wanted is sold out.  You gotta laugh.

And take your kids on a spontaneous play date.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


My blog is pretty barren.  I have accumulated an interesting collection of ill-fated posts, unfinished due to an adoption-induced emotional congestion that did not improve with time.

In fact, in thinking about how things have gone over the last 18 months, I've been surprisingly uninspired.

Part of that is because of the dizzying bunny-hopping that happens - I've spoken of it before.  You wait, wait, wait... something happens... you wait, wait, wait some more.  Some of it is just so marvelously wonderful that you tuck it away in your brain and in your heart so tightly so that it will become a part of you and never leave you.

We finally got the news yesterday that seemed so dream-like.  Make travel plans.  Go get your girl.


Emails, phone calls, back and forth across the countries at a blistering pace.  Children in upheaval and showing it.  Straining communication over terrible phone lines, options, flights sold out, other options, Dad will be home late, time given up here or there, or some such thing.  What had seemed like such a straightforward itinerary was unraveling all the way around the world.  In the middle of it all I'm dealing with something viral, sickening... I want to put it down to stress or hormones or something fixed.  It's probably not.  Just par for the course when you are planning a major international trip that accommodates at minimum 5 major cities, and the activities of 6 family members...  Oh and the length of your trip is longer than the time you have before you leave.

It will look different in a few days, and that is comforting.  A little.  Tonight I am blitzed, and longing for bed and peace, and still have my lists... oh the lists.

I wanted to write this down, this rare moment of emotional clarity, because so much of the emotional journey of adoption is weird.  Indescribably weird.  Some mothers I know or have read can articulate with a certain fervor their sense of motherhood, family, and emotional bonds.  That hasn't been the case for me, at least, not out loud.  Heck, it took me nearly a year to use the name we gave her out loud.

I am supposing this is likely because for me, while the hormonal aspects of pregnancy were certainly there, most of the attachment and bonding of motherhood was the being, and the doing.

Do I love this girlie?  Oh yes I do.  Is this all worth it?  Oh yes, it is! 

This sick feeling I've had in my gut all day trying to get us to India is really only there because I want to be in the same space as this child... I want to breathe the same air she is breathing... 

And I want to be her mother.

Heart strained and body tired tonight.  Tomorrow a different view, a different taste. 

Saturday, February 09, 2013


So my littlest one, was trying to be grown up and say "See you later alligator... " but it just came out "Goodbye alligator" which she knew, judging by her expression, wasn't quite right. So she tried some others:

Goodbye crocodile!
Goodbye hippopotamus!
Goodbye a squirrel!
Goodbye lions!

(Still not right...)

Goodbye unicorn!
Goodbye dizzy flowers!
Goodbye chocolate trees!

Yes, that must be it. Chocolate trees. Thus satisfied, she left the room.

(The next time my kids say "see you later alligator" I am definitely going to respond with "goodbye a squirrel"!)