Friday, February 26, 2010

Part of this new world I'm entering in to is so foreign to me. In the world I'm used to, racism is something that happened in the 50s... not now. We all get along pretty well, and, with the exception of psychos, all races are treated fairly.

Know what? I'm finding out it's not true. Like I said a few days ago, we're hoping to adopt an African-American baby, and in preparation, I have immersed myself in reading "from the other side". Evidently, racism is alive and well, only usually more subtle and well-masked than the cross-burning days of the past.

Let me say this: I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm just trying to figure it out. So don't be frustrated with me or my ignorance... I'm not saying I'm a race expert all of the sudden. What I am saying is, if in the future I plan to be a multi-racial family, then I have to take a good look at what being black in America means. (Can I even say Black? Should it be capitalized?)

My online friend Kristen is the white mother of two black sons. Recently, they were rejected by a couple of small white kids, and Kristen wrote a really great blog entry (which is true of most of her blog entries) about racism and the problem of "just not talking about it". That's honestly been my approach thus far. I haven't talked to my kids about races, because I don't want to draw attention to our differences in a negative way. We buy all different tone baby dolls, and books about all races, but I've never really talked about it. What I learned this week was that not talking about is a big part of the problem... if we aren't supposed to talk about people's skin being black or brown, then that indicates that something is wrong with being black or brown.

I sat down with Toby last night and tried to open the conversation, about all of us having different skin colors... I feel like I probably did it wrong, and he's going to announce it loudly the next time he sees someone "brown". Then, I'm not sure what to do. But at least we're talking about it. Today I checked out a couple of kid's books about race, and skin color and friendship. So, we'll keep working on it.

Possibly, the baby that God lines us up with won't even be black. If that happens, I think I might be disappointed for a milli-second, like I was when Toby's ultrasound was a boy, and then I'll be excited and that moment will be over. Regardless, these are lessons I want to learn.



In fundraising news, no new donations today... we need between 1-2k more to be able to take the next step, which is submitting our application and beginning our homestudy! Thanks so much to all of you who have given- we are so thankful!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

First, I'll give you the adoption news- we made it over the $1000 mark today! I am so excited... I feel bad sometimes talking about the fundraising so much, but some people have said they'd like to be reminded for when their ships come in, so I'm gonna keep it coming. This $1015 came from 18 contributors, most giving 10 or 20 dollars. What a great, great blessing. Thank you so much. If you want to give, the link is over there in the left sidebar. We still need another $1k or more to be able to submit our application and start our homestudy.

I've been doing paperwork, and then paperwork, and then paperwork. If you had to do this much paperwork before... well, you know, then there would be very few children born. Anyway, it's a good thing I like filling out forms. Next up, making various and sundry copies of many many things, and then we have to get fingerprinted and then we have doctor's appointments. Anyway, that's the next couple of steps.



I spent yesterday afternoon forcing R2 to take sips from a cup of water and then spoon-feeding him enormous amounts of a slushie. We were lucky to break out of the hospital last night, after a doctor came by and asked me if I would feel safe taking him home overnight. I felt safe about it, plus R2 had gotten really sad when we moved to the new room- he had thought we were going home. So once they gave us the choice, we took it.

It was so nice to come home. I tried to talk to people but I was crazy tired. I went upstairs and stared futilely at my Facebook until 9 something, when I gave in and went to sleep. I slept solidly till about 8, and R2 (in my room) slept till like 10.

So there you go.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blogging here from the hallowed halls (actually, a hallowed PICU room) of Children's Mercy Hospital. R2 went through the surgery with flying colors, and did really well until he fell asleep around 11. Then, he decided to stop breathing. A lot. It went like this. Drift... off... to... ALARMS! BLEEP BLOOP LIGHTS ON NURSES AROUND drift...off... snore.... BLOOOOP BLEEEP TALKING POKING BLOOOP sleep.... and so on. All night long. The good news is, our ICU stay was not overkill. He actually needed to be monitored overnight. It's always good to know that we aren't racking up frivolous hospital stays.

R2 had such severe apnea, and such swollen tonsils and adenoids, that he hasn't been sleeping or breathing well for a while. So this surgery should really help, once his ex-tonsils stop swelling and blocking his airway even more. So last night was what they were afraid of, and I was relieved to have the help.

Being on the regular floor will be nice, since we can't use phones in here, and the bathroom is outside the ward, so it's a bit of a process, and there's a LOT of handwashing and scrubbing and signing in and out and no eating in the ICU at all (for parents) and so on.

He's pretty annoyed with all these doctors and nurses interrupting his movie to check on him and shine a flashlight in his throat. He has started waving goodbye as soon as they come in and address him. I am really enjoying this stay, except last night. But the rest of it is fun, with his little grumpy personality and then sunshiny moments after he gets some pudding or some drugs...



In adoption news, $50 more came in yesterday! Thank you! If you haven't donated yet and you want to, or you want to donate again, the link is right over there on the top left sidebar!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You might remember last week... in fact, you really should. If, by chance, you don't, you should probably get that checked out.

Anyway, last week, we took our special-needs guy, R2, in for a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy and ear tubes, and waited around in a cold, cold room for 2 hours before they cancelled us. The hospital had run out of beds in the ICU, which is really awful... R2 has to go straight from recovery to the ICU, because of how bad his apnea has gotten, and just because of his medical needs in general. So, they sent us home and gave us free meal vouchers. That might not sound like a good deal to you, but somewhere in my warped-God-picked-the-best-mom-for-special-needs psyche is a love for hospital food. True story.

They rescheduled us for today. So, in a couple of hours, we'll be heading up there. R2 is pretty cheery about the whole process, because last week, nobody stuck him. He just went to the hospital, put on a gown, played with toys and waited, and then got to eat lunch alone with Mommy and Daddy, with no "baby jaguars" biting his elbow or sneaking all his raisins off his plate.

So I imagine he will be in really good spirits today, until he wakes up with no tonsils or adenoids and holes punched in his ears. Then, he might be pretty unhappy. The good news is, well, one of the good things is that they're keeping us for at least 24 hours, so he can be drugged during that first day. The other good thing is, once this heals up, he will be able to really breathe freely for the first time in his life.

He is experiencing sleep apnea 38 times an hour overnight. As in, he stops breathing and wakes up every other minute or more. Poor guy. So, for that reason, I am really looking forward to this procedure.


In adoption news, the fundraising is going really well! We had 8 new contributions yesterday, taking our total donations up to $822.22! Please spread the word to your friends- tweet us, facebook for us, post the chipin widget on your blogs...

You can link straight to our fund page at http://www.tinyurl.adptfund

Or, back here to my "adopting" blog post at http://radiantjess.blogspot.com/2010/02/on-adopting-and-why-and-wherefore.html

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Feel free to forward/quote/retweet/repost/link/etc

If you're a regular reader on this blog, then this entry will be so last decade to you, as you are on the cutting edge of all things Yablonski. If, however, you are new here, lemme tell you about us, and adoption, and the combination of us and adoption.

In my heart, I started this process years and years ago. Our firstborn, Richy II, was born at 24 weeks in 1999. We decided after his traumatic birth and severe brain damage, that we were not going to pursue another pregnancy in the foreseeable future, and I remember Richy and I attending an international adoption orientation in what must have been 2002, but the timing wasn’t right. Still, it was a dream in my heart.

In 2004, we gave birth to the twins and spent a sweet 2 days with them before they died. A year or two after that loss, we began exploring adoption again, ordering information packets from all the agencies in a reasonable distance, and studying. One night stands out, when Richy was gone, doing ministry, and I watched Steven Curtis Chapman’s video “When Love Takes You In” and wept for the children.

There was something birthed in me that day, a pale and removed but still deep empathy for orphans, living in orphanages and on the streets, longing for families. It still wasn’t time, though. We were too young, and too broke to really be considered by most agencies.

Over the next two years, we fought hard and were so blessed with the premature but pretty healthy Toby and Brynn. Even with my arms full to overflowing, though, I knew we weren’t through. The dream in my heart and the ache for the orphans never faded. I studied and I prayed and I waited.

March of 2008, Richy and I flew to Alabama for theCall, and I wept uncontrollably as a woman told the story of a dream she had, where a tall young African-American man hugged her and called her Mama. She went on to tell of an emergency adoption that happened in the days following that dream, and then her husband held up beautiful 2 year old Jamaal. My heart was completely wrecked and I surrendered any desire for future pregnancies, totally content and free to give my heart to another woman’s child. I knew adoption had become my first choice, and not second-best in my heart.

In January of this year, we spent several weeks in Houston with pro-life organizations, praying and crying out to God for the ending of abortion, especially in minority communities. During that time, the last roadblocks in Richy’s heart came down, and we knew. It is time.

So, we have begun. Our hope is to adopt what has statistically become one of the most difficult children to place, an African-American male baby. We are months, maybe a year away from a baby, depending on finances. There is a lot of paperwork and homework to be done, and a lot of money to raise. I’m looking into fundraiser ideas and maybe even a part-time job.

The hardest part is the first $2-3000, for all the application process and the homestudy. Once we have an approved homestudy, we can apply for all kinds of grants and programs, but we need a lot of help to get to that point. We have raised almost $700 in about 4 days- an excellent start! So we are asking for your help. Even if you only have $5 to give, it adds up, and you are sowing into a child’s future.

Join us, and let’s take some destinies back. You can click on the Chipin link below, or email me for our mailing address.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm gonna tell you about storytime, but first let me sell my adoption fund a little. It's right over there and you can click on it and your money will go right into our adoption savings account, which is SO GREAT. We will use the money as soon as we raise about $2000, which will cover our application and homestudy starting fees.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program.

In line with my goals of getting the kids out of the house, today we hit up Toddler Storytime at the library. I've tried this various times in the past, and Toby has always been a force to be reckoned with. So I wasn't totally unprepared. At the Conroe library, though, he was usually in good company, with other male hellions jumping off stuff and turning their nametags into guns...

We arrived today to find 2 sweet little girls- as in, there were only TWO other kids there and they were like, 5 year old GIRLS. They were suspicious of Toby right off the bat, and Brynn got a couple looks too, especially since she was doing her Fussy Baby impression. Toby was thrilled, though, both to be out of the house, ever, at all, and also to be around other small people that could write their names.

The teacher was a fairly stiff sort, and not really quite ready for the blunt impact of Toby+Brynn. First, they sat on the wrong side of the ABC rug, right next to the teacher instead of across from her. The reason for this was Toby needed to sit on the T square, and Brynn does what Toby does. So they got scooted across to the A and the D, which was really disturbing to Toby because he doesn't even HAVE an A in Toby and there are some other books over there and can he go and get one and his nametag isn't really sticky enough and why is he sitting on the A again and so on.

Ms. Deb started a book about cowboys, and immediately T and B scooted across the rug to be close enough to see the pictures, which, hey, makes sense to me. Ms Deb then proceeded to read 3-5 words at a time before being interrupted by Toby, who was really, really excited. About everything. This disgusted Caroline, a lot, and was kind of interesting to Cerita, who was sitting exactly where her grandma told her to sit.

Brynn alternated from being a horse, galloping round and round the alphabet, to saying things REALLY LOUD to Ms Deb like, SEE? SEE DAT HORSEY? OH, HE SWEEPY. OHHHH. LOOKIT DAT HORSEY HE SWEEPING IN HIS BED. HEY, HEY SEE DAT? Caroline, who I am not judging, but suspect to be a treasured only child, kept throwing wide eyed grimaces back to her mom. Eventually Ms Deb sang some songs, and read some more stories, and then we made a horseshoe out of foil, which was the highlight of Toby's life, and then eventually Ms Deb sang the goodbye song and we got some books and left.

It was kinda lame, but it was free, and as long as I can get over being intimated by Caroline, I think we'll go every week.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I have recently determined that I live in denial, and think that I am going to get up in the morning and get my kids dressed and go to the gym. The truth is, I'm not. Because it is COLD outside, and also because I don't like mornings. But mostly because it is cold. Like 20 degrees.

In Texas, when we teach our little kids about hell, we tell them it's a cold place. A cold, snowy place. Keeps 'em right.

So my decision is, to stay here, in my fairly warm house, and eat stuff, and then when it gets warm outside, to go and get skinny then. We'll see how it goes.

So, no exercise. I have however, begun to make new friends. Or at least meet people. I went to a Pampered Chef party and a mom's group, both where I only knew one person of the group. You'd think I'd be a social butterfly and a party animal and all that, and I am. But only when it's people I already know, that already like me.

New people worry me a little. Especially, and primarily, women. Especially women around here, with the beauty and the scarves and the hair. I always feel awkward, with my sweater I bought at the thrift store and my awkwardness. So I tend to hang around the corners, and eat stuff and listen in on their conversations. (similar to a creeper) Then I laugh with them, and then they notice me standing there and kinda angle toward me, and then after a while, I can say, "You know what I like? Cream cheese." and there you go.

Friendship is hard. And then, there are certain people that I hit it off with, and we're friends. The end. Maybe we never see each other, because of my fondness for my own couch, but we like each other, and it's easy like that. Still, I see leaving the couch as inevitable if I do not want to be on Oprah via Skype, 700 pounds and ordering porcelain Chihuahuas in bulk from the internet.

(sigh)

Hey! I need to update my adoption of the week- I will put a new one up tomorrow- but in the meantime, I have set up my own little fundraising widget over yonder if Obama's been good to you and you want to share the wealth.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

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Monday, February 15, 2010

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

You may have noticed, I've been pretty deep lately, what with the introspection and the justice and the adopting and angst. I took a little break for SkyMall last week, just to give you a break, and I feel the need to give you yet another break, because, frankly, bloggerati, I don't know if you like to read all this stuff.

Let's say you wake up of a morning, and think to yourself, "What I need is a good, clean humorous toddler anecdote." And for YEARS now, I have been providing that kind of material for you. Maybe you got cocky, maybe you took it for granted, I don't know. And then, all of the sudden, your carefree tales of head-dives from shopping carts and eating from trash cans comes to a screeching halt and you are left with an existentialist beatnik with a Messiah complex.

Don't fear! I'm still totally shallow under this weighty exterior! Also, I still have a houseful of toddlers, doing amusing things! So, track with me. Cry at my poetry, donate to my adoption of the week, and then sit back and laissez les bon temps rouler!

And now, a moment of comedy gold with Toby. (Ignore the pile of towels in the background, the laundry fairy was mid-task when the joke inspiration struck)



video

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm just going to fall apart here for a minute and sound like I'm indulging in self-pity, and then once it's done I'll decide if I want to publish it.
I am not one of God's "special parents", so equipped with grace and strength that He looked down from heaven and chose me to be the parent of a special-needs child. It just happened, and however sovereignty works and the reality of a fallen world and sickness and sin, we got picked.

Do we love our frustrating, beautiful, funny, and exasperating child? Of course. That doesn't change the fact that sometimes, rarely but sometimes, I wish God would have picked some other saintly carrier of peace and grace, who would know what the heck to do with this kid.

Today, we went in for his pre-admissions testing leading up to his tonsillectomy, etc. next week. It was super-routine, mostly me answering questions and them getting his weight and such. Until the end, when they had to pry open his mouth to check his throat. He had strep twice last year, and has become totally resistant to opening his mouth for anyone, which makes toothbrushing a bit of a challenge... anyway. She ended up using the tongue depressor for a quick check, and I mean like, 1 second and then she was done.

R2 has a tendency to tantrum when he is scared or hurt, and his fits are really, really loud and violent- to himself. So he went into one of these fits, and I was holding him on my lap and crossing his arms in front of himself, just trying to keep him from breaking his own nose or bruising his face. So then he started kicking himself in the ankle. I crossed my leg over his and held his leg still, and then he reared back and hit his head as hard as he could on my shoulder. Eventually, he slid out of my grasp and sat on the floor, with me still holding his arms, and slammed his head into the floor. I picked him up again. All this time he is screaming, roaring, snot running down his face and totally out of control. I was trying to stay calm and answer the doctor's questions, because there was still information that she needed. After about 10 minutes, she suggested that we finish by phone and I took him, kicking and screaming, through the entire hospital and back to the car. It was exhausting, and humiliating, and just beyond words. By the time we got to the car, he was done. I drove him to school, waiting for the moment when I could break down and cry this out.

These fits happen about once a week, and the only thing we can do is ride them out and try to keep him from really injuring himself. When it's over, we are completely drained of energy and usually, feel helpless to help him. Then he'll be sunny and beautiful until the next time.

So, no, I'm not specially equipped for this. I am just a normal, brokenhearted, weak mommy, trying to love my kid.



In other news, if you haven't given toward Rylan's adoption fund, go now, read yesterday's post and donate- you know you could spare a couple dollars...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I will be beginning a new feature of the ol' blog today... spotlighting adoptions once a week. The idea is, to raise awareness of some good people doing great things, and to give you an opportunity to a)send them a couple bucks and b)spread the word and c)pray.

Remember, a few weeks ago, when I said,
"Maybe you can't do it. You probably can. But okay, maybe you really can't. Then contribute to someone who can, or get involved in some other way."

Here's another way. I will be listening for stories-people that are being God's hands to children- and I will be giving you that information when I get it.

Then what? Well, dig deep Americans. Skip Starbucks for a week and donate the $20 to a family trying to raise thousands of dollars. I am going to challenge you- every family I put up here will also be receiving a donation from the MOG and me- maybe 5 bucks, maybe more, but I'm in this too. Let's do some good.



Spotlight on Adoption: Rylan's family

I found out about this family through Storing Up Treasures- they tell a bit of the backstory there. To sum it up, this foster family cared for this little boy for a while- then his biological grandparents were given the opportunity to raise him and the foster family let him go. Now, 2 years later, the little boy has some issues that make it difficult for the grandparents to raise him, and the foster family will be allowed to adopt him, but it won't be a free adoption, and they need to raise several thousand dollars. This widget is from their blog, and it's an easy way to contribute to them. So, what are you waiting for? :)


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My grandfather died last night. The thing about people dying is, it sucks to be us. The dead have it good, assuming they were saved, which he was... but we have to face the fact that we didn't say the things we thought, and it doesn't matter to him anymore, because he's at peace, but it matters to US because we needed to say them.

Pappaw: You have always been a hero to me. You loved me so deeply; and you were so proud of my dad. Those two things have shaped my life.

I think it is inspiring that you never finished 8th grade, and yet, became indispensable at Dupont, doing what only you knew how to do. I loved being at your house as a kid, eating old people food and getting lied to, and then figuring it out in the middle of the night that once again, you had been pulling my leg. I loved going to Luby's on Friday night with you and Mammaw, and listening to you tease Mammaw for forgetting her teeth.

I should have asked you about life. I should have called you and I should have written you and I should have listened. I am the loser for not learning from you. You raised the best father I have ever heard of, and I never told you how much I honored you for that. I'm sorry. I'm sorry now, because, as Daddy would say, the bus has left.

There's a picture of you, holding me, when I was probably less than a year old. I have wide baby-eyes looking at the camera, and you are captivated looking at me. I'm sorry I never really looked back. I loved you too quietly.

So I am filled with regret, and at the same time, I feel a thrill because I know you are with Mammaw, and my dad, and your world is more right than it's been for 10 years. Goodbye, Pappaw. I really, really love you.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

So, an announcement of sorts. We are beginning paperwork for adoption. That shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone who lurks around Flotsam and Jetsom. I told you I was going to do something about it... :)

Now, adopting is something that we've talked about for years. At one point, post-twins, pre-Toby, we even ordered a zillion promo packets from adoption agencies, and I bought all the books at Half-Price on the subject, and starting reading adoption sites and birthmother blogs and so on. It came up pretty quick that not only was adoption insanely expensive, it was really really complicated and we weren't old enough, or deep enough, or wealthy enough to do it. So we shelved it in our hearts.

Until we moved to Kansas City, and made friends with some wonderful insane people. These insane people are also missionaries, also living on impossibly small incomes, also prone to move across the country and the world because of dreams. Our kinda people :) Oh, and they have been adopting, one, two, three, more babies.

I started dreaming again. If they can do it, then we can do it. So I've been praying, and waiting, and giving up hope, and waiting, and now it's time, and the MOG is ready. I don't know what is involved, totally, although I've read a lot. And I don't know what's going to be necessary, financially, and how it's all going to work.

What I do know is, we're going for it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I am not a germaphobe. In fact, I am not really concerned about germs. I mean, I would prefer that you not sneeze in my food, but the likelihood is HIGH that I have been kissing some little person with snot and only God knows what else on their face, so what the heck. Gesundheit. I've never been that germ-conscious, and by the time I had 3 kids, I gave up. Either I will avoid all other children, all the time, and we will stay fairly well, OR my kids will have friends and get sick. I'm not the type to walk around snatching sippy cups and spraying Lysol on people. So.

But... maybe you are. And maybe, when you travel, you are greatly concerned about germs. Maybe you lay awake at night, questioning the cleanliness of the lettuce you consumed at lunchtime. Maybe therapy would be helpful.


Or... you could purchase the Nano-UV wand!

For only $160, you could have this disinfecting light-saber of an awesome tool, which you could pack in your purse, nestled deep beside the Purell and the sanitizing wipes. Then, when your host served you lunch, or just handed you a cup of coffee, you could easily whip this sucker out and with a few quick zzzp-zzzzp-zzzzzzips, your food would be full of dead bacteria! problem solved! Go on, be the life of the party, charm hosts and make new friends! Especially new friends with Star Trek pins and stuff like that!

This lighthearted and completely meaningless post brought to you by SkyMall, maker of all things useful.
 
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