Monthly Archives: January 2011

Hey Here’s A Good Way to Help Some African Senior Citizens

I am a lucky lucky lady. A few months ago I started volunteering at the Africa House Senior Art Class. I have written about it a million times. I really love doing it. Seriously love doing it. These folks make me smile and give the worlds best hugs.

I think when we talk about international adoption its totally natural to focus on the kids. I mean its about the kids right? I also think its about the elders and learning from their history and trying to absorb as much as the culture as we can. Aside from the art class Africa House offers ESL classes, and provides much- needed resources to the community. The profits of this art work goes directly to helping the Africa House seniors.

Not everybody has the time to volunteer. BUT you can totally help the program by buying some of their art. Their wonderful, amazing, inspiring art. It’s not even that expensive – as far as art goes. Besides- wouldn’t it look awesome in your  or your kids room. So yeah- buy some art from these people. It will make your (and their) day!

I totally call dibs on the Lion for Davy’s room.

Here is the link to the etsy page!t

Out of the Mouth of Babes

The last few days have been a blur. We are having a party on Saturday to celebrate our new arrival. We went to Target to check out baby stuff. Holy canoli (trying to swear less now that I am a “mother”) kids need a lot of crap! It’s been good. We have been super happy. We can’t stop staring at her little face and giant piercing eyes. She is a beauty.

My husband has some software that turns photos in to a cartoon with thought and word bubbles. He totally did one for me and Davy. It made me laugh. I am bummed that I can’t post the actually photo but I will try to explain it. He used the photos of me on the phone with our social worker and our two referral photos. In one referral photo her tiny fist is up by her ear and she looks pretty serene. The second photo we have of her it looks like she was in mid gas- her giant eyes look surprised, her lips are pierced and she looks like well- like she just farted and kind of surprised herself at the same time. It reminds me of this video. It’s a really funny photo- that’s how you know she’s our kid. The photo was taken when she was 10 days old and she already has a ton of personality and attitude.

So here is the totally fictional conversation between me and my daughter:

Me (one the phone): Uh, Hello, who is this?

Davy: Who am I ?!? Lady you called me- who the hell are you??

Me: Uh, I am your mom

Davy (making her poopy face) Oh man, I think i just pooped myself a little bit

Me (laughing) Me too

 

Amazing, Amazing, Amazing

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I knew yesterday was going to be a good day because I woke up and turned on the tv exactly at 8 a.m and the movie Meatballs was on. For some reason I thought this was a good omen.

I spent the morning puttering around the house. The night before we had gone to Back Fence PDX (a storytelling event) and it was a late night. Andy woke up late and we watched a little bit of Meatballs together and then some of the news. He took a shower, I went to work in my craft room- again just dawdling.

Around 11 Andy and I went to New Seasons. I had a totally esoteric list of things that I needed Quinoa, Honey, Miso. I was joking that this list should have been on the website White Whine– because it was SO Portland.

I also shared a few texts with my former boss because it was her birthday. Now we will always remember that date.

Then I went to my friend Kirsty’s house. She has two little kids from Ethiopia that she brought home 5 months ago. We were just started chatting when the phone rang. I had just saved our social workers cellphone number in my phone- so I saw it was her. She had called the day before with a random questions. When I picked up the phone she said “Don’t get excited- i just have a question”. So when she called yesterday I thought that she just had another random question. I didn’t think it was “the call”. Instead she said “So if the baby’s room Pink or Blue”.

My mind went numb- I had to run outside and scream and shout. I didn’t know if I should ask the details or race home to Andy so we can hear them together. I also wanted to be the person who got to say “your a father.” So much was going through my mind. She said it was a girl! I flipped out. I had SO expected a boy. A girl- oh my gawd- what the heck am I going to do with a girl!?!?!? Andy totally wanted a girl!!!! I was screaming and crying all at once. I couldn’t breath. I was thrilled and so excited. Andy later asked if I threw up and pooped myself all at once. He knows me so well.

Four weeks ago- i thought that this would never happen. Three days ago I though this was would never happen. Monday I thought this would never happen. Then it happened. My friend thought to get her camera out and took some photos of me as I was on the phone with Kathie, our social worker. They are amazing photos- so funny.

My mom came over- we cried and hugged each other. We talked to everyone in our lives. All of our friends and family picked up on the first ring. They knew it was coming.

Our daughter’s name(feels CRAZY to write that) in Amharic translates to the word “Amazing” she is amazing. A survivor. We are going to call her Davy after my grandfather, also an amazing survivor.

We are going to take the next few days and feel elated, relieved, in love and excited. We know that adoption is a bitter-sweet experience. Our girl has had plenty of heartbreak in her short life. It feels selfish to be so happy. We are going to give ourselves a few days to feel good. The process of becoming a family for us has been so hard too. I know that we are meant to be together. That she is our daughter. All the hiccups and delays brought us together. She is amazing. Amazing. I also know that we need to be profoundly grateful. Adoption is so bitter sweet. After we are done with celebrating our daughter coming into our lives- we will sit back, light a candle and thank, thank thank her birthparents for giving us the awesome opportunity and responsibility to raise their beautiful and amazing daughter.

Somewhere in Ethiopia

Right now its 2:00 a.m. in Durame Ethiopia. We weather is warm there, according to the internet its- 82 degrees outside. Somewhere a million miles our kid is asleep waiting for us. Our kid. I will say it again the son or daughter of Lisa Weisman and Andy Beach. We are so happy and thrilled that things are moving in Ethiopia again. This week 7 referrals went out- one do my dear friend and sister in adoption. I called the agency today and we are officially number 2 on the wait list. It also means that our kid, OUR kid is already in the care center. He or she is going through medical tests and all the paperwork that will bring us together. I am just waiting for the phone to ring. Any day now any day…..

Andy’s Flying Monkey

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Last year Andy was at a conference and they gave away these hilarious flying and screaming monkeys. You fling them and they make this crazy screeching sound. My mother HATES that sound. She gets a hilarious visceral reaction from it. Of our dogs Georgia and Bella, of coarse love it. So every few months it gets taken out of the closet just to annoy my mother.

Last week my mom came over for dinner and the dogs found the monkey. While we were having a purely civilized dinner the monkey kept screeching in the background. Thus making my mother jump out of her seat. So when she left Andy put it in her bag. He was so proud of himself and couldn’t WAIT until she found it. We were having a good chuckle about it and he said “I can’t wait to be a father so I can mess with my kid that way.”  I can’t either.

Here is a video of the flying monkey. I got it off of youtube. That dude is NOT my husband!

Also- Andy wanted me to post this video because it makes us laugh and laugh. The pig totally reminds us of Bella


 

Stirred Not Shaken

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I am not remotely a spiritual or religious person. I consider myself a cultural Jew, but really don’t abide by any of the rules. I am obstinate by nature. If I had listened to the rules I would have never married Andy (who’s not Jewish) or tasted tasty tasty pork. Two of my favorite things, (Fortunately in that order)

I do think this whole process is making me ever-so-slightly rethink my belief in God. I keep saying this- and truly on days when all seems lost–that our kid is out there waiting for us and its meant to be our kid. Andy and I are so unique and such a funny brand of whack jobs that it is going to take a special special kid to fit into our threesome. If I am going to hang on to this belief I can’t take a little Devine intervention from above out of the picture.

I could say that government bureaucracy is bringing us to our kid and even if that kid doesn’t really fit into our family- we will make it work and believe that it works. I mean we could end up with a vegan or a shy kid or something. Oy Vey a VEGAN.

I don’t really believe this though. I have seen so many families bring home a kid that is the perfect fit for them. It might be nurture over nature. I don’t know (or frankly care). This is an amazing process. To watch these families become whole is- dare i say it? A miracle.

Oh please- I can see my old friends rolling their eyes (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE ERICA WIDES). I am not going to join a synagogue and start dovining every day. Hells no! I am just saying that my beliefs are being tested by this process, and maybe the results are good enough.

 

Just Fine

It hasn’t been that long since we heard from our agency and we are still waiting for any news or updates. I am still feeling sad, but a little better. I was explaining to my friend the other day that I was worried that maybe we weren’t meant to be parents. This path has been SO hard. Biology has failed us, and this adoption seems to allude us. My friend is also an adoptive mother and has been through this roller coaster once and is in the process of going through it again. She said she didn’t want to tell me it would be “fine” because she wanted to acknowledge that I don’t feel like it will be “fine”. It’s my feeling we are talking about- not necessarily the reality of our situation. I have never been pregnant or lost a biological baby, but that’s what it felt like when we had to put our adoption on hold a year ago and to a lesser degree this time. It’s only better because we are so much farther along in the process. Maybe just the month of January is really sucky for the Weisman-Beach family.

Logically, statistically I know we will get our kid in the end. But last week it was starting to feel like it isn’t in the cards. For the record, I am doing better. I am keeping busy. My mood has improved. I am so glad that January is half way over. I say let time fly.

When I told Andy that I was starting to worry that maybe parenthood wasn’t going to happen for us. He reminded me that nothing in our lives has been “easy”. We are major risk takers when it comes to life. We have moved a lot. We have had emotional and financial ups and downs. Our life has never been a straight line to happiness and security. I am so happy and grateful for that. Our life is interesting and unexpected. Consequently, when things are quiet and uneventful- Andy and I are really appreciative of that. We LOVE our lazy Sundays. We LOVE random trips to Target and Ikea. Andy likes to remind me of that when I get really whingy. So when I was complaining about the adoption he just said “Lisa, this is just one of those times, think about how much you will love and appreciate that kid when they come”. He’s a good man Andy Beach.

My Friend Marie

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I met my friend Marie years and years ago. We met at work and were both miserable. It was a large company and we were kind of drawn to each other. One day she sent me an email that basically said “hey, your funny and cool do you know any guys that you could fix me up with.”  My friend Marie has some guts. I did, in-fact fix her up with a friend of mine who turned out to be the worst boyfriend ever. EVER. At least we got a lifelong friendship out of the deal.

Marie is one of those people that you can call up in a pinch and she will make you laugh and cry simultaneously that you hick-cup for air. She will let me know when I am being neurotic or a bitch and I love her for it. There are very few people who can be so honest with you that they can say anything. I feel amazingly lucky that she is in my life. Yeah, we have each others backs.

When we both lived Brooklyn we were neighbors and hung out all the time. Marie (at the time) was a single mom to then 6 year old Madeline (who Andy calls Madge) and both of them became everyday fixtures in our lives. Young Madge was one of the funniest, silliest, smartest kids I have ever had the pleasure to know.  I have such a strong visual image of Madge cuddled up on Andy’s lap watching Bridge Over the River Kwai. Cool parents make really cool kids.

About 8 years ago they moved to Texas. Life has progressed for them amazingly well. Marie is remarried to a man who adores (and puts up) with her. Madge has blossomed into someone i can only hope our future kid can aspire to be. She is beautiful, talented, confident and worldly.

So when I think about the kind of parent I want to be, I think of Marie and Madge. When we started this process we asked Marie write one of our letter of recommendation.  Madge wrote one too. It is on our fridge and we show it to literally EVERYONE who enters our house.

Our adoption delays have hit me kind of hard and I have been feeling kinda blue.  On top of it today Andy and I got some really really terrible news about some dear friends of ours. I want to protect their privacy but lets just say it makes what we are going through look like nerf ball practice. After I got off the phone with Andy i didn’t know who to call until I thought of Marie. After we both cried Marie said the most amazing thing to me. She said “Lisa, nothing in the world makes you feel more vulnerable then becoming a parent.”

I love my friend Marie with all of my heart.

Adoption Cyclone

Coney Island Cyclone
My grandparents used to live near the Coney Island Amusement Park in Brooklyn. We used to go there all the time. When I was a kid my dad took me for a ride on the Cyclone. The Cyclone is an ancient wooden roller coaster. It’s not the biggest or fastest roller coaster but it might be the most frightening. You REALLY think you are going to loose your life on the Coney Island Cyclone. It rattles you around and gives you whiplash and there ain’t no way that little bar thingy is going to hold you in your seat. My dad loves to tell the story of the first time I rode it. We were slowly creeping up the big hill and the kid version of me said, “Dad, are we gonna die.” He laughed and said nope. My glass was half full of poison even then.

People use the roller coaster metaphor when talking about adoption all the time. It has so many ups (amazing and wonderful, make you dance kind of ups) and far too many lows. Things are changing in Ethiopia- policies, care centers, medical tests – it’s all in a state of flux. We are so close to that referral and found out today that it may be another 4 months. To make matters worse people going into the program are going to have to wait a year. This is really hard news. We have been so patient and are so sad and depressed that again this elusive adoption seems so close yet so far away. I had several beers and a few tears. Two days ago I blogged about how happy and optimistic I was feeling and today I feel like crap for even getting my hopes up. Hubris I say, hubris.

So this is what I need to do to keep myself up and not get too down:

  1. Reach out to all my friends and support system. Have lots of lunches, beers and coffees. Cry when I need to- but make sure I laugh more than I cry (easy for me). I’m not cheap with my laughs.
  1. Take care of myself. I need to find a way to make this time go faster. I feel like I have been in a form of suspended animation waiting for this thing to happen. Right now if things go as planned (and they never go as planned) we are looking at bringing our kid home in September or October.  I need way more structure in my life between now and then. I need to exercise more and get a freaking job.
  1. Take a step back- tonight was Ethiopian Christmas and there was a big celebration in our community. I didn’t go. Right now looking at happy, fully formed families is a little painful. It won’t always be. I am feeling petty and envious so I need to stay away from those things. I want what they have- I want to be a happy fully formed family. I want a beautiful and sparkly son or daughter. Jealousy is a really old and primal feeling- so by admitting it- I hope it goes away. Or maybe it’s just better to admit it, I don’t know.
  1. Travel. We have been so cautious about money and time, but frankly I need to get the heck out of this town. The rain isn’t helping. Maybe New York, maybe North Carolina, maybe Mexico, maybe Hawaii. Something. Need to talk to the husband.
  1. Enjoy the quite time. My mom is moving into her own apartment in a week. She has been living with us for the last 18 months. Andy and I have big plans of sitting around in our underwear and watching violent TV (probably too strong of a visual image- sorry).
  1. Create, create, create- I knit, quilt, and spin my own yarn. It’s very very helpful. The more streseds I get the more I need to rely on these things that make me insanely happy. It feels good to make something that has a tangible beginning, middle and end. And something that turns our beautiful.

So yeah, this week has sucked ass. I am trying, TRYING to be positive and take care of myself. I really don’t want this roller coaster to kill me (or even hurt me). I just want it to keep moving along (oy vey what a great use of a cheesy metaphor).

Thinking About 2010

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Well considering the fact that the beginning of 2010 blew chunks the last part of this year really rocked. A year ago Andy lost his job and it was one of the darkest times in our adult lives. I hadn’t wanted to move to Portland. The job that moved us here turned out to be a total clusterfuck. I was full of anger and resentment and uncertainty about our ability to continue on with the adoption. I read back on that blog post and I was so amazingly sad. There was no doubt that we would get through it- but at the time we really didn’t know what to do.

That was a complete year ago. It’s amazing how much life gets lived in a whole year. They say time heals- it really does. So 2010 started out sucking ass but ended really lovely and quietly. Ironically, 2010 may have been one of our best years so far. Mom always says life is peaks and valleys- so i want to talk about some of those peaks.

The Adoption- is amazingly on track. Yes we are still WAITING for that referral (currently number eight) but thankfully things are moving along in Ethiopia and our kid is coming soon. I keep thinking ‘what is another month or so of waiting when we have the rest of our lives to celebrate with our kid.’ Also waiting never seems a long when you are looking back on it. It’s only hard when you are in it. I am feeling good and feel like it coming.

The People- We have found an amazing and wonderful community here. Portland is slowly becoming a place that I feel very connected to and I really need to thank the people in my life for helping me with this. What would we ever do without our new friends? Who could I talk about the adoption and my fears at becoming a good mom without Laura and Chuck? Who can call on a moments notice and go fabric shopping without Gillian? Who would show us Portland and make us belly laugh without Ari and Anne?Who will feed me beer and PJ Tips on a major holiday day without The Rooneys? I want to thank all of these wonderful people for helping to make Portland seem more like home.

The Waiting Moms- I can’t say enough about the friendship and camaraderie  of this group of amazing women. This process is hard and having the love and support of these awesome women really makes it a whole lot easier. I am so grateful for this group of people. Eternally grateful. I can’t wait for our kids to play and grow up together.

The Kids- We have gone to the airport and have welcomed home Haptamu, Zeditu, Miles, Teriku and Porter J. We have seen these bewildered and exhausted kids exit the airplane and have had the honor to witness the love of them meeting their extend families for the first time. Powerful stuff.  We have seen them go from referral photos to whole, funny and very real kids. I can’t wait to meet our friends kids still in Ethiopia and witness this miracle time and time again. I can’t wait to meet and get to know E, L, S, and B. I hope you come home soon kiddos- your parents really miss you!

Andy Beach– after 10 years of marriage my husband makes me laugh hard everyday. He is the person I love and trust the most. This year has brought him tremendous professional success. There is nothing I love more than watching Andy play with kids. I can’t wait to see him with our own.

My Mom- It has been a hard year. After 64 years of living in Michigan my mom joined us in Portland. She is a very brave and funny woman. I I am so glad and grateful she is here to be on this journey with us. I hope that I am at least a half as good as a mom as she is.

Our Furry Babies- Sweet Georgia Brown turned 15 this year. She is full of spunk and vigor. I love her so much! Bella Monkeywitz continues to be my shadow and personal foot warmer. Both of these hairy beasts make me laugh and feel even move loved everyday.

Usually optimism isn’t my strong suit. Andy says my glass is half full- but its full of poison. I don’t want to put a Kenahora on 2011 but I am feeling optimistic. My hopes for the year are that my relationships -old and new- continue to grow and deepen. That we get to bring home our son or daughter. That we continue in good health and as always, good humor.