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Thursday, February 26, 2009
Adoption Fraud
One of the things that was important to Jim and me when adopting was going through an ethical process. As much as we wanted to adopt, it had to be a process that was thoroughly vetted. We felt very comfortable with the China program, so we proceeded. Since then, we've learned that the program wasn't as spotless as we'd thought, but the incidents seem to be isolated rather than the standard.

This morning, I'm sitting at my classroom desk and listening to a morning news show on the TV. It's very foggy outside, so we have a delay. Students won't be arriving for another two hours. They reported on the resolution of a case from Utah that I must have missed hearing about earlier.

It is appalling.

A now defunct adoption agency in Utah "recruited" families in Samoa to give up their children. They promised them a good life and education in the United States, and they promised the children would have continued contact with their families. They then took these children and adopted them out to US families who were told they had been abandoned. From the television story, they reported that most of the children were toddlers. These toddlers were extremely upset and told stories of loving families that did not jive with the stories of abandonment and fostering the parents had been told. One father has since flown to Samoa and returned his daughter to her birth family. The other families are trying to negotiate a compromise where they fulfil the original promise of caring and educating the children while allowing them to maintain contact and visits with their birth families.

There are so many children in the world who need loving homes. There are so many loving homes in the world that need children. Getting them together shouldn't be this hard. Children shouldn't suffer through years of abuse and neglect by birth families or a broken foster system. Birth families shouldn't have to choose to abandon their children to get them health care, education, food, or to avoid breaking laws.

These birth families were victimized. These adopting families were victimized. And, most importantly, these children were victimized.

The perpetrators? They get probation. Oh, and they can't work in the adoption field anymore. Duh!

Now, I've read this article. I understand the grounds of their probation.

It is not enough.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Next Time Won't You Sing With Me?
Sera playing and asking me to take her picture

Sera loves the ABC song and Twinkle Twinkle and Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus and the ducks going out to play one and...

Well, you get the idea. Sera loves to sing. She's been singing her own version of the ABC song for at least a year. She starts with ABC then jumps to QRS and wraps it up with WXY and Z.

Yesterday, she was singing in the car, and I confess, I wasn't really paying attention. I was listening to a story on NPR. As her song ended, she broke out clapping and cheering, "Yay Sera!" She started her song again, so this time I paid attention, and she made it through the entire song, three times in a row. Now listening, I cheered with her.

Sera's daycare/preschool, whatever you want to call it, is definitely a huge addition to our budget, but it is so worth it. While I would love to stay home with her, I have to admit that she is getting so much from being there. I'm a high school teacher and I don't have other children, so I don't really know when she should be hitting many childhood milestones. I do know that she can count to ten easily, twenty sometimes. She knows her shapes, even that our downstairs bathroom mirror is "oval, like a big egg". She definitely knows all her colors. She can count to four in Spanish (thanks to Dora). She also knows that arriba is up and abajo is down. Ni hao is hello, and xie xie is thank you. She now draws mommy, daddy, Shadow, and herself. We're all big round blobs with eyes, nose, mouth, two stick arms, and two stick legs. She adds hair to the top, and on daddy's picture, she put hair on the bottom, too, for his beard. She's also learning to play with other children and to share. She's still not great with that at home, but we're working on it. She thinks sharing means she gets to share with whatever mommy or daddy have, but if it is her's, it is her's...unless it's her idea to share with you, and then you must take what she is offering no matter what. Yes, we are working on no, thank you.

I recently put together Sera's lifebook with pictures and her story ending with our arrival in Chicago. It was amazing to look through all of our pictures and see how much she has grown in two years. This project really made me sit and reflect on this time. I can honestly say that every day with Sera is a joy. Don't get me wrong. She's not perfect. There are definitely moments when she drives me crazy, and I love every minute of it.


Sunday, February 22, 2009
Picture This
Jim tagged me for a meme. That's one way to get me to post something. Honestly, I have at least three posts in my head, but just can't seem to write them.

1.Go to your pictures folder and open the sixth one.
2.Post the sixth picture.
3.Tag six people

Daddy & Daughter Drawing

I went to my sixth folder, but it only had four folders inside of it. Since the fourth was pictures of students that I cannot post, I chose the sixth picture from the first one instead.

I tag Marcia, Jessica, Kati, Theresa, Sandra, and Tammie.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Backseat Driver

Until recently, Jim and I carpooled to work. Since we usually go places as a family or one of us stays home while the other goes out, Sera has gotten used to daddy being the driver in the family.

Yesterday, I picked her up from school, and we went to run some errands. I needed to stop by the bank and grocery store to get a bell pepper and some onions to finish dinner. I told Sera that if she was a good girl in the store, we'd go to the toy section. She has that $10 she received the other day. Any money she's received in the past, she's put into her piggy bank. Now that she's getting the concept of buying things, we decided to let her spend this money.

I'm driving down the road after leaving the bank when Sera tells me, "No, Daddy do it this way." She has her hands up in the air and she's moving them like she's steering a car. I move my hands up to to the 10 & 2 position, and she announces, "that's better." It made me laugh, but I didn't really think more of it at the time.

We pick up the few things I need in the store and head over to the toy section. We went down every aisle twice while she considered what to buy. She finally narrowed it down to two items. I had wanted her to pick out a play-doh activity set, but the selection stunk. Her first choice was a princess bag with a blowdryer, flat iron, curling iron, comb, and brush. Since she's never seen a flat or curling iron used and her hair has only been blowdried once after a haircut, I wasn't sure she really understood what it was for. I asked her what she wanted to do with that toy. She told me she wanted to use it to comb my hair. She's really gotten into combing my hair lately. Since we have the tools, a comb and brush, to do that job, I didn't want her to use her money on that. Instead I encouraged her second choice, a dress-up set. She was torn between Snow White and Cinderella, but Cinderelly won out in the end. In the car, she pulled the box out of the bag and held it on her lap. At home, she could barely wait until I took it out of the packaging before putting on her new outfit. That tiara stayed on her head until it was time to wash her hair. She even wanted to wear it to school this morning, but I convinced her to leave it at home.

Oh, and one more thing, as I went to back out of the parking spot at the store, I was informed that I didn't have my right hand in the right place when looking out the back window. I knew there would come a day when Sera would start telling me how to drive. Somehow I thought the day would be further away.


Sunday, February 15, 2009
Uh Oh, We're In Trouble Now
Yesterday's mail contained a Valentine's card for Sera from Grandpa John and Grandma Dee. Inside was a strip of stickers and a $10 bill. This is not the first time Sera's received a card, even a card with money it it. It is the first time she yelled money when she saw it.

She's been very interested lately, since Christmas in fact, about everthing she has. She's always asking her gave her something or who bought her something. If the answer is daddy or me, we get immediate thank yous that are very heartfelt and repeated. She recently received a box of gifts from my sister, Marcia, so she guesses her name for a lot of things.

When we've been in stores, we've emphasized that something can't be opened, eaten, or played with until after we pay for it. She's fine with that now and will hold it until she can place it on the belt.

She took her $10 yesterday and asked when we were going to the store. Then she put it aside and played with her stickers. Thank you, Grandpa and Grandma Dee.


Friday, February 13, 2009
Favorite Ingredients Friday - Mardi Gras Edition
I loved living in New Orleans. I miss many things about living there. I do not, however, miss the giant bugs or August humidity. I do miss Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras has quite the reputation around the world. There's a very different side to Mardi Gras that many do not know about. For most New Orleanians, Mardi Gras is a family-friendly event. Families get together and share lots of great food. Blankets and chairs are spread around the neutral ground as you get set for the day. If you're lucky, someone you know will live within a few blocks for easy bathroom access. Children sit in special seats built on the top of ladders and everyone is in a good mood.

When I've lived in New Orleans a few times. When I was 20, I moved into a wonderful apartment on Prytania Street with my cousin, Kim. It was the best apartment I ever lived in. The building was a huge antebellum mansion that had been turned into apartments. Our apartment was in what would have been the front parlor. When you entered the main doors, we were to the right. We had 20 ft ceilings. When you walked in to our apartment, you were in the living/dining room. If you opened the closet door, you saw the kitchen. It was a tiny U-shaped alcove with the stove on the left, the refrigerator on the right, and sink, counter, & cabinet directly in front. Only one person could step in at a time, and you couldn't open the refrigerator and the stove at the same time. In the back was a huge bedroom that held two full sets of bedroom furniture and a huge walk-in closet. Kim and I shared this room. In the corner of our living room, there was a spiral staircase leading to the loft. In the loft area, we had a small bedroom and bath and a small loft space. That's where our rotating third roommate lived.

Since we were in the front of the house, the outside wall of our living room was huge windows that opened like doors on to the front porch. It was wonderful for parties as we could just open them up and increase our floor space.

Prytania is one block off of St. Charles Avenue. St. Charles is one of the major parade routes. We could literally sit in our apartment until we heard the music and still make it to St. Charles well before the first float.

Mardi Gras is about two weeks worth of parades which culminate in non-stop parades on Mardi Gras Day. We stocked the refrigerator with beer and soda. I made a big pot of red beans with sausage and another pot of rice. Everyone who visited that day brought a dish, and we all drifted in and out of the apartment stuffing our faces and enjoying the parades. No one even showed their boobs.

I don't really have a red beans recipe. It's more a list of ingredients. Soak your beans overnight. If you want to be authentic, you need to get Camellia beans. Early the next morning, get out your biggest pot. Saute diced onions, green peppers, and garlic. Add your favorite sliced sausage. Andouille for the real deal, kielbasa if you live anywhere else. Add the beans and fresh water. Don't use the water you soaked your beans. Put enough water in to cover the beans by a couple of inches. Simmer until beans are soft. Once the beans are cooked through, add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. These are really best the next day when the beans start to break down. You can also take some out and puree them to give it that creamier texture. Just mix the pureed portion back into the pot and stir. These are served over white rice. Red beans and rice is a traditional Monday lunch. Just about any New Orleans restaurant will be running a red beans and rice special on Mondays. The tradition came about because Monday was laundry day, and no one had time to cook. You could set a pot of beans going in the morning, and they'd be all ready for you at the end of your day.

Another Mardi Gras tradition is King Cake. King Cakes are basically a giant circular danish covered in icing and sugar colored gold, green, and purple - Mardi Gras colors. Hidden in the cake is a plastic baby. It used to be a bean. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby has to buy the next King Cake. King Cakes are everywhere during Mardi Gras, but don't look for one on Ash Wednesday. They're all gone. Most offices have King Cakes on Fridays. With everyone taking turns bringing one it, depending on who got the baby. As a child, I remember going to King Cake parties.

It was fun travelling down memory lane. Happy Mardi Gras!

King Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

½ cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
½ cup plus
1 tsp. sugar
3 ½-4 ½ cups unsifted flour
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter, cut in slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons
1 egg slightly beaten with a T. of milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tiny plastic doll (not more than 1")

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 8-oz. package cream cheese
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a few drops of milk
Cream all the filling ingredients together with a mixer and spread onto the rolled-out dough before rolling it into a ring. This filling is optional.

Cake Directions:
Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes, then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for 10 minutes until yeast bubbles up.

Combine 31/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt and sift into a large mixing bowl.Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and using a wooden spoon, combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture.

When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to beat 2 minutes or until dough can be formed into a medium soft ball.Place ball of dough on floured surface and knead, gradually adding up to 1 cup more of flour.

When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a heavier kitchen towel and allow dough to rise in a warm place for about 11/2 hours or until it doubles in volume.

Coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside. After the first rising, place the dough on a floured surface and punch it down with a heavy blow. Sprinkle cinnamon, then pat and shape the dough into a long 'snake' or 'cylinder'. Form a twist by folding the long cylinder in half, end to end, and pinching the ends together. Then twist the dough. Form a ring with the completed twist and pinch the ends together.Place the completed ring on the buttered baking sheet, cover it with a towel and allow it to rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in volume.

After the second rising, brush the top and sides of the cake with the egg and milk wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and hide the plastic baby inside the cake (or just place on the top of cake to avoid someone biting into it).


Colored sugar:
Green, purple and yellow coloring paste
12 T. sugar
Divide sugar into three portions (for green, yellow and purple).Add a tiny amount of the coloring paste to each sugar portion. Try mixing the sugar and colored pasted between your palms for best results. Set aside.

Poured icing:
3/4 c. confectioners sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
3-6 T. of water
Combine ingredients until smooth, adding more water if it's too thick. Spoon icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle on colored sugars, alternating between the three colors. Serve in 2"-3" pieces.

Be sure to visit the Favorite Ingredients Friday home to find more great recipes!

Past FIF recipes:
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Clam Chowder
Amish Friendship Bread
Ice Cream in a Bag
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
Chocolate Pudding Fudge Cake
Pasta, Pesto, and Peas
Basic Beef Starter, Plus
Pineapple Upside Down Biscuits
Tomato Chicken
Greatest Hits: Enchiladas de Pollo and Old-fashioned Peanut Butter Fudge
Almost Cabbage Rolls
German Chocolate Pie
Carne Asada & Sour Cream Tortilla Casserole
Dorito Salad
Shrimp Stuffed Potatoes
Apple Cake
Vegetable Beef Soup
Stuffed Cabbage Soup
Raspberry Pie & White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie
Breakfast Granola
Shrimp Creole
Lazy Man's Lasagna & Apple Cake
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Jim's Favorite Jelly Cookie
Eye of Round Roast
Mozzarella & Tomato Sandwich
Marcia's Taco Soup
Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Cajun Baked Catfish
Jim's Snickers Pancake
Crawfish Monica
Grilled Meats and Vegetables over Saffron Orzo
Crockpot Red Beans
Better Than Almost Anything Cake
Fruity Sangria
Outrageous Brownies
Enchiladas de Pollo
Catalina Chicken
Croissant French Toast
Corned Beef
Sloppy Joe, Mac 'n Cheese Casserole
Shredded Chicken
Baked Bean & Burger Casserole
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Crab Rangoon
Sausage con Queso and Ro-tel Cheese Dip
Blueberry Multigrain Coffeecake
Banana Bread
Bananas Foster
Old-Time Beef Stew
White Chocolate Snack Mix
Gorilla Bread
Ginger Shrimp
Roast Chicken
Tex-Mex Chicken Taco Soup
Shrimp Mold
Pasta Puttanesca
Pork Milanese
Pumpkin Dip
Oven-fried Chicken
Best Bundt Cake Ever
Hot Dog Casserole
Chicken & Rice
Peanut Butter Fudge
Omelets in a Bag
Shrimp Boil
Apple Cheese
Pulled Pork BBQ

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Thursday, February 12, 2009
It's Only Pwetend
The other day Sera dragged out her dress-up box. She wanted to be a ballerina. Ballerina is her term for anything beautiful as well as dancers. She picked out the purple fairy dress, the wings, and the shoes. After we had her all dressed, I handed her the wand.

She started waving it around the room while chanting something I couldn't quite make out. Then she looked at me with concern in her eyes. "Why not work, mommy?"

It broke my heart to have to tell her that the magic in her wand was only pretend. She looked sad for a moment, only a moment, and then continued her play.

I'm still a little sad.


Monday, February 09, 2009
We're Famous, Uh Yay?
I don't usually get into detail about where we live other than Indiana. Since the town where Jim and I teach is all over the news today, I feel like I need to say something.

The excitement was palpable in school today because the President was in town. While he wasn't at our school, we did turn to our local channels and watch the live feed.

Our little town is hurting right now. Unemployment has tripled in the last year from below 5% to over 15%. The county is at 15.3%, but the actual city is at 17%.

I have a very strong interest in seeing what happens to education funding and local stimulus expenditures. People are leaving town to find work. The migrant community has already dwindled. My department is an elective, and I am the one with lowest seniority. If our numbers drop too much, it's a very real possibility that there will be some layoffs. I've been quite worried about having a job next year. I was recently reassured with some news, but I'd be naive to think there wasn't still a chance.

Even though their parents are unemployed and suffering, teenagers still live in their own little bubble. I've tried explaining to them that when they hit the workforce in a year or two that they are going to be competing with their parents, and everyone else, for the few jobs in the area. They aren't worried. They're still planning to

win the lottery
be drafted by the NBA
get a full-ride scholarship (though neither their grades nor their athletic skills support this)
marry rich
record a best-selling rap

And yes, these are actual answers I've been given.


Mine's the Best
As you may have gathered from my lame attempt at humor the other day, I had a rough few days last week. Without boring you with details, let's just say that this month was a doozy. I actually went back to bed Saturday morning and slept until noon after taking four ibuprofen. Sleeping is how I deal with pain. Poor Jim was on his own all morning. I got up just as he put Sera down for her nap.

Yesterday afternoon, he ran to the grocery story to buy some ground beef. Shadow has been having a really rough time lately, and he's very worried about him. Jim asked me to make a pot of ground beef and rice. It's easier on Shadow's digestive system when he's sick. And he's been sick, a lot.

While he was there, he decided he wanted to buy me a treat. Something to brighten what had been an off weekend. He spotted something in the produce aisle that reminded him of one of my favorite things in the world. Something I don't get often. Something he figured couldn't really be hard to make.

He found these huge luscious strawberries and a bar of Ghirardelli's dark chocolate. Then he came home, melted the chocolate, and dipped the strawberries. They were (and still are) amazing. Sera loved them just as much as I did. I had to convince her to let me put them in the refrigerator and save some for today. I couldn't believe he found strawberries in February that had so much flavor.

As wonderful as they tasted what made my weekend was his thoughtfulness. Thank you for always thinking of me and doing things to let me know you love me. I love you, too.


Sunday, February 08, 2009
Sometimes Opposite Is Best
When I first went back to work after Sera came home, I was very nervous about how I was going to get us out the door so early every morning. Logic dictated, as well as the advice of every working mom, that it was best to get yourself up and dressed before getting your child up.

I did that all last school year. When school started this year, I went back to that plan. It worked, but I hated mornings. It was stressful and almost always had at least one meltdown.

A couple of months ago, I decided that maybe it was time for a change. If Sera wakes up on her own, she's cheerful and ready to go. Unfortunately, she doesn't usually wake up on her own on school days. When I wake her up, she's whiny, clingy, and wants to go back to sleep. In fact, she's just like me.

I started thinking about how to slow down her morning, yet still get us out the door by 6:15ish. I decided to defy conventional wisdom and wake her up first thing. When I wake up, I go to her room and get her. We go back to my room where I have her clothes and my clothes on my bed. She'll lay on my pillow while I dress. She isn't being rushed and gets to decide when to put her clothes on. She usually chooses to get dressed right after me because I made a new rule. She likes to help me put my makeup on. She'll stand right next to my vanity table and hand me things. The rule is she has to be dressed first. She also gets to choose whether to dress herself or have me help her. She likes to put her own panties and pants on, but still needs help most of the time with her tops. The only part we still struggle with is brushing her teeth. She wants to do it herself, and I always let her start. If she brushed more than her lower left back teeth, she could do the whole thing. Unfortunately, I insist on the rest of her teeth getting brushed, too.

Our goal is to get downstairs by 6:00 am. She gets to watch Angelina Ballerina while I pack my breakfast and lunch. I bring her a snack, get her shoes on, brush her hair, and try to get us out of the door by 6:15.

Our time has been shortened by 15 minutes in the last week. We used to leave by 6:30, but Jim has taken an afterschool teaching job. Because of this, we now have to drive separately. It's harder on all of us, but frankly, we need the money. He's not getting home now until 5:30, so my goal is to have dinner ready. This gives us time to eat and have some family time before the bed/bath routine begins at 7:00.

I need to become a whole lot more organized with the dinner thing now. When we both came home together, one of us could entertain Sera while the other made dinner. Now, I'm on my own with dinner and Sera. It's time to quit talking about meal planning and start doing it because sometimes opposite isn't best when it comes to listening to advice.


Friday, February 06, 2009
Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Mirror

Ignore the last post. It was my lame attempt to be humorous. Obviously not my forte. I want to be a funny, slightly snarky writer, but I just don't have the gene.

Anyway, I'm good. It wasn't even a bad day.


A Cranky Fairy Tale For A Peri-Menopausal World
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess. ::screech:: Okay, make that a haggard crone. ::screech:: Okay, that's too far. Let's just say a woman in her 40s. Fine, fine, late 40s.

She went wandering through the forest (school halls) filled with fearsome creatures. These creatures were sometimes referred to as teenagers.

She came upon an empty room and decided to make herself at home. There were stacks of papers to sort. Grading to be done. The filing appeared endless.

Soon she noticed that the names were repeating on the papers. As she sorted them, she found papers for...

and, finally,

They all took turns coming to visit her in this room. Each singing its own special song. One day, she had a new visitor. This one brought her a shining red apple that looked too good to be true. You know what they say? If it looks too good to be true, it is.

Knowing this, she ate it.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Thoughts To Remember
One of the things that I accepted as part of my responsibility when choosing to adopt transracially was to educate myself as much as possible. To that end, I follow half a dozen blogs of adult transracial adoptees. Sometimes they're hard to read, but they're always informative.

One of the blogs I follow is written by Paula. I so admire these bloggers because they are often blasted by fearful adoptive parents for their thoughts. Sometimes what they say isn't easy to process. And sometimes what they say sparks a little fear in my heart, too. I know that we will not be perfect parents, but I also know that we will do whatever it takes to give Sera a good life. After that, I can only hope that our best was good enough.

I read this post by Paula last week and wanted to share it with you. I heard from her today giving me permission to share it with you.

Twenty-Three Things This Korean-Adoptee Thought About as a Child

1. That many times I was embarrassed and ashamed of my birth culture because it was so profoundly different than that of my family and my friends. That too often it served as an easy and irresistible source of teasing and fodder for others - strangers and classmates alike.

2. That despite my parent's unconditional love for me, I couldn't help but feel that I was the last option for them to finally have children.

3. That phrases like "Thank God we can always adopt" or "Well, at least there's a world of unwanted children we can adopt from since we can't have kids of our own" only fed into my belief that adoption truly is, for virtually all couples, the very last resort by which to create a family.

CLICK HERE to continue reading.


Sunday, February 01, 2009
Who Are They For? - UPDATED
Today is a very special day for me. Two years ago today I was a nervous wreck. I was avidly refreshing the Rumor Queen's blog for the latest news. I was in emails with about half a dozen friends and running to the front door of my school looking for a cell phone signal to talk to another. We were all anxiously waiting for news. Rumors had it that referrals would be arriving that morning. We knew that our date was either going to be the end of this batch, or we'd be skipped and would wait another month.

Our coordinator with our agency wasn't allowed to tell us anything before official calls were made that afternoon. I begged her to find a way to just let me know if we were in. The timeframe calls came in were right about the time we got out of school and headed home. I told her we needed to know if we should rush home or take care of our usual errands after school. I was in the middle of an ongoing email exchange with this friend when I got an email from my coordinator telling me to go straight home. Colleen was actually the first person to know that we were officially in the batch. I sent a quick email to Jim and then to all my friends who were in my travel group. Our paperwork was with the same agency, and we all had the same log in date.

I don't even know how I got through that afternoon. I'm sure my students thought I'd lost my mind, but I actually don't remember any of it. Jim and I raced home. We sat at the dining table with the phone and the laptop waiting and waiting and waiting. When that phone rang, my heart stopped, and I began to live.

Don't get me wrong. I had a great life pre-Sera, but it just can't compare to life with her. It was a landing in Oz moment. Suddenly, my life was filled with colors I hadn't even realized were missing.

We wrote down everything we were told in that first phone call. We then immediately started Googling her orphanage and her town. We looked at maps and figured out where our daughter was living. We made phone calls to our parents and my sisters. We then just sat at the table and stared at the map. It was real. We were parents. We were also filled with adrenaline, ready to go, and there was no where to go and nothing to do. Sitting at home was no longer an option, so we jumped in the car and headed out to a Chinese dinner. It seemed appropriate for that night.

It would be a few more days before we actually received her pictures, but she had already stolen my heart.

The answer to my question varies. For some anniversaries are not important. For me, this is one of the most important anniversaries of my life.

Update - By the time I got to the end of this post, I didn't do a very good job of explaining my blog title. I guess I got too caught up in the nostalgia of the moment.

The title came from me thinking about anniversaries. How they vary in importance to people. Some couldn't care less. Some remember every special moment. This anniversary is for me. It didn't change Sera's life that day. The anniversary that really has meaning for Jim comes up in April. When we celebrate anniversaries, who do we do it for? This time around, it's for me.

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