About Jennefer

Jennefer is already a mom to three sons (ages 7, 11, 13), and she's waiting for her daughter to arrive in Maryland — she's in the process of adopting a little girl from Russia.
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I just couldn’t resist an Angelina Jolie story for my Adoption Blog

In the year 2000 I saw a large cut out cardboard poster of Angelina Jolie.

I did not know her name. The poster was promoting her movie: Gone In Sixty Seconds. All I saw was this lady with really big lips. I had never liked MY full lips, so I instantly did not like HER. This poster had actually made her lips BIGGER than they really are because I guess they thought this was attractive.

I forgot all about the poster and I never saw her movie.

Later on in the year I started going to this particular Blockbuster store. M and I would drive up and I would run in and get the movies that we had decided on beforehand. The store was usually pretty empty. After I got my movies I would go up to the checkout guy to have them rung up. Then I would get back in the car and M and I would talk about how much the movies cost.

(If you are wondering why I was always the one having to run and get the movies while M sat in the car, this is a good question)

Back to the story: M would say, “This isn’t right. He way undercharged you. You have at least two free movies here”. I didn’t think much of it; maybe they were having a sale today or something.

The next week I went in and checked out again with the same guy. The same thing happened. The third week - the same guy. This time he spoke to me.

He paused, holding my movies and looked up at me and said in a somewhat creepy, slow, drooly type of way,

“You… look… like… Angelina… Jolie.”

I was taken back and did not know who she was.

“Who?”

There was a girl worker standing near him who tried to help me. 

“You know… She was in Girl, interrupted.”

Blank stare. “I haven’t seen that movie.”

The girl smiled. “Don’t worry. It’s a good thing.”

I don't know what the guy was expecting from me at that point.

"You... look... like... Brad.. Pitt... Let's get married?" I don't think so.

I quickly darted out of there with my severely discounted movies and relayed this conversation to M.   

“THIS IS WHY he has been giving you free movies! This guy is a psycho. We aren’t EVER going back to this Blockbuster again” (Notice how M didn't just volunteer to be the one to get the movies from now on? Hmmmm).

So I went home and Googled her and discovered I DIDN’T LOOK LIKE her AT ALL. It was the lips I decided. Guys are like that. Two women with big lips? Oh, must be twins.

And the point of this vain and shallow story was to introduce this one:

How to Shop for Kids the Brangelina Way

Any bets on Angelina’s next move?

What do you all think of her and what she has been doing?

Think she gets special treatment when she adopts?

Think she had to wait as long as ME for a referral?  Think I should remind my agency that Angelina and I are twins?

Happy 4th of July

Last night our family watched a brilliant fireworks show that shot up over the Chesapeake Bay and reflected in the water as we sat on the beach. 

As the show was in progress it was easy for me to imagine the British ships bombarding Baltimore, Maryland, shooting off bombs in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812, which is what the “The Star-Spangled Banner" was written about.

I couldn’t help but run these words through my mind:

“And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Francis Scott Key

It was so important for those Americans to see that our flag was safe and to know that the British had not destroyed it. It was still flying.

It is interesting to think about this in light of all of the talk about the Flag Burning Amendment and how it is our right to burn the flag.

In my opinion, why are we even talking about this? It should just be a given that an American wouldn’t want to burn the flag- and if they do they are not criminals necessarily, but they are idiots.

My favorite Flag Burning article is here.

My husband is a doctor in the U.S. Army and works in Washington D.C. he sees the young soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan who come here with missing limbs, he sees the wounds and the heartache, and he sees the soldiers that don’t make it. It is hard to not feel their pain.

I remember him coming home one day and telling me about a young marine whom he had talked with in the hospital. This man had multiple wounds to his internal organs.

In Iraq, he and his fellow soldiers had come upon a suspicious vehicle. One of the occupants of the car threw out a grenade. He knew it was too late for him, but in that instant he knew he could save his friends. He took off his helmet, covered the grenade and then lay on top. He saved his fellow soldiers.

He did not survive his injuries.

These soldiers are fighting the Terror War as we speak. They are working to protect Americans. They represent our country.   

…and here we are at home fighting for our right to burn our flag.  I know this post has nothing to do with adoption and being a mom to three boys, but at the same time it has everything to do with it. I want to raise my kids in a country wherein the citizens honor and respect their country and have pride in their heritage. I want them to love this land that I love.  I feel that our flag is a symbol of that pride.

I want to say Thank You to every one who has fought for America’s rights and freedoms over the years and Thank You to the soldiers who are fighting today.

“Freedom is not Free”.

Please visit the Hall of Heroes to see the marine mentioned and some of his fellow heroes:   http://patriotfiles.org/HallOfHeroes.htm

....and Faith rides in

I think I need a big spank.

I have been complaining a lot lately about our adoption delay and everything in between. If you haven’t figured that out from my blog, than just ask M.

I really don’t want to be like that.

I can just imagine my funeral someday.

Guy #1:  “Good riddance, man.”

Guy #2: “Yeah. What a crabby patty.”

Guy #1: “Let’s hurry up and dump her, so we can go home.”

Guy #2: “I’m with you there, man.”

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS is what I want:

(Everyone is hugging and crying and arguing over who gets the privilege to give my tribute speech)

Guy #1: “She was the epitome of patience.”

Guy #2: “Let’s erect a statue of her in the town square.”

Guy #3: “Yes! Then we can all look at it and imagine what we all could aspire to.”

(The crowd cheers)

Cool.

O.K. here is what I need to do. I need to imagine the adoption process as a marathon.
The first part is like this tricky obstacle course. The second part is this long, straight road that goes through a desert, nothing exciting to see on either side, and the journey is really long. The problem is when you think the road is shorter than it actually is. This is when you crumple into a little ball of bitterness, pointing an accusatory finger at everyone and anything and losing all faith that there really is a Finish line at all. You start imagining that the whole thing is a big trick and the road really leads to nowhere.

But then FAITH  rides in on its majestic white horse and saves the day.

This is when you start hearing the Chariots of Fire theme song in the background.

People start cheering the Olympic motto from the sidelines:

Citius (Swifter)

Altius (Higher)

Fortius (Stronger)

And you start to realize that you can finish this race gracefully. You can endure to the end with your head held high, giving everyone around you the benefit of the doubt.

And knowing, just knowing that Finish line will come.

Housecleaning Tip Day

God didn’t think I was keeping my kitchen floors Shiny enough.

Story: Maryland has just finished going through some major rainstorms that lasted over about three days. On day numero two I went to pick my kids up from camp. It is a downpour. We are talking flooding. Of course I was late, so I forgot to bring an umbrella. I just rushed out the door.

I am electing myself into the Protesting Stupidity Campaign for neglecting the umbrella. Like is ALWAYS the case, the place where you park and the entrance to the camp is a far walk. I make a dash for it and am drenched in two seconds. When I see my kids the first thing out of their mouths is:

“Where’s the umbrella?”

“I forgot it.”

How could you FORGET the umbrella? It is the biggest rainstorm of the year.”

“Come on. It is really great out there. The water is warm!”

Strongly disappointed in their unbelievably RIDICULOUS mother they head out into the storm.

Now that I am drenched two times around I look completely pathetic. My kids are very unhappy with me in the back seat.

We get home and go inside- So relieved to get out of the rain.

But no… wait!! It is raining INSIDE our house too. Our kitchen ceiling has formed these little crack lines all over the place and water was coming through.  The whole kitchen was flooded. There were not enough buckets in the house to cover it.

“O.K. God, I get the message. I need to mop my floor better.”

So, after the storm ceased I dried and cleaned up the mess and I had THE shiniest kitchen floor that you have ever seen. You could eat off it. I am serious (oh yeah and a roofer is coming on Monday to fix the roof- no worries there).

So, now that I am in the cleaning mood I am looking for cleaning advice. I found this here, which was a good start, but I need MORE.

First, I will give you my two cleaning tips and then if you guys have a tip, PLEASE leave it in the comments.

1. When you sort your laundry, if you wash your towels separately from the rest of your clothes you will do less laundry loads overall. I came upon this discovery when I was doing laundry at a community laundry place and had to pay money for each load. You really start to pay attention.

2. If you have any mold stains in your shower and they don’t seem to come off with products you have tried then you need to try Tilex. A real estate agent gave me this tip. She said you just spray it on and you don’t even have to scrub it- Just wait a few minutes, rinse it off and PRESTO. It really works!! But don’t breathe that Tilex in. I swear it can burn your lungs. So, hold your breath, spray it and run out as fast as you can. (Note: Tilex is NOT paying me for this plug)

Have a good tip or resource?  Share it.

Crazy Lady Jumping on Couches

Remember my post about “the waiting room”?

Well now is the time when I have talked to the help desk and they didn’t say, “Oh no. I had no idea you had been waiting so long. We will tend to you IMMEDIATELY. I am SO sorry. You shouldn’t wait A MINUTE longer.” No, instead they told me to go back and sit in the waiting room and they will get to me e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y. There is nothing they can do.

So, now is the part that I go a little loopy and instead of sitting back down and waiting quietly, I put my Ipod on and turn it up really loud and start dancing and grooving around the waiting room. And everyone starts telling me, “Don’t worry they will call you in soon, just please sit down and behave nicely,” but I don’t listen because I have gone a little crazy.

And so I start jumping on and off the waiting couches cause I am so fricken bored. (Fricken is a hick word I learned growing up in Utah where nobody swears).  And then I start throwing the magazines around like Frisbees and saying woo hoo and acting like a total fruit loop.

Oh and did I accidentally hit someone who works in the illusive back room? Whoops.

You know what bugged me the most about my conversation with my agency? It was the way we were discussing referrals. Like they were things; a medical record, numbers on a database sheet. Not individual, beautiful children with souls. And it also bugged me that the whole process seemed so Willy-Nilly and haphazard. I want deliberation. I want prayer and fasting to go into my referral. I don’t want the next child who comes up on a list. I want a direct path to the right child- The one that was meant for us. So I couldn’t stand talking about referrals in such an empty, desperate, un-inspirational, and illusive sort of way. 

So, the whole thing has gone to my head in a bad way. Anyone else willing to get up and dance with me? Come on, don’t let me do this alone. If we don’t act like we are having a party, we will all start wallowing in our own tears, or the tears of our waiting friends. We need a stress reliever. We need to open the windows and get some fresh air in this stuffy room. We need to turn up the volume…

So who is with me?

More on Promises and My kids are Intelligent

Today my kids were going to be outside for the day, so I thought they should be protected from the sun. We were in the car. I am driving and they are all in the back seat. I grabbed some Blistex and told them to put that on, stating that it had sunscreen in it.

After awhile I turn around and notice they have been applying Blistex to their face and legs. I take the Blistex away noticing that the entire tube of lip stuff is now gone.

My boys look really super shiny.

They are smiling and proud.

Me: “So, no one needs the sunscreen lotion now?”

Them: “Nope. We’re good.”

Me: “Awesome.”
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More About Promises

I have still been trying to work out what I think about promises. 

A few weeks ago, I had decided that IF my kids did “this certain thing” that I wanted them to do they could have a special breakfast. This special breakfast did not include Link's favorite cereals; it included Ego waffles with special syrup and Poptarts. O.K I don’t want to talk about how I should NEVER give my kids sugar foods, or else a “taste for intense sweets will follow them for the rest of their lives”. Because it is WAY too late for that.

So Link wanted to be sure that I wasn’t going to take away his favorite cereals and add them to the “special breakfast” that needed to be EARNED.

So, he followed me around saying, “You promise, you promise, you promise.” (This is like me with my adoption agency)

I replied in my please stop bugging me voice, “I hadn’t planned on doing that.”

BUT now after realizing my kids needed more motivation to do the thing I wanted them to do. I CHANGED MY MIND about his favorite cereals and included them with the “special breakfast” that had to be EARNED.

Link: “But you PROMISED mom. You PROMISED!”

Can you change your mind about promises? Or are they always written in stone? Do you think it counts as a promise when the other person is begging for the promise? What if circumstances beyond your control change your ability to keep the promise? What if we just don’t want to do that promise anymore, I mean we did at the time, but now we feel differently?

Did any of you have parents or friends that made promises they didn’t keep? Did you understand? Did this happen a lot? How did it affect you?

I could hear my adoption agency whispering to me, as I echoed the same statement to Link,

“I never really, actually PROMISED.”   

Promises

Now that I am blogging for ClubMom I expected to magically transform into a good writer.

I waited up late for the magic writing fairy to sprinkle her inspirational fairy dust on me, but the anxiety fairy came instead and kicked me in the gut.

The truth is that I am just not that funny or inspiring or even a writer for that matter. In fact I am just an ordinary person. I guess that is why I was chosen to blog here, so I could be the ordinary voice. We all get tired at times of too many rich and famous figures in the adoption world.

We need some reality thrown in.

I hope all of you exceptionally brilliant readers will support me with lots of comments. You guys always offer me great advice and support.

Thanks for the Congrats!

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So I have already put myself in a corner.

My rules (that I just made up today) are that I have to exercise, shower, clean the house, read something inspiring, and plan dinner before I can blog.

Yet, today I have checked my emails, read some blogs, exercised, showered, gone to a meeting at my church, called my adoption agency where I got some bad news, updated some of my previous posts that got screwed up in the transfer, and did not clean my house, read any books or plan dinner, yet here I am posting.... And needing some advice.

What do you guys all think about promises? Do you think that promises are promises or do you think they are more like a Yes, for now or a Hopeful maybe? Should we all just realize that promises are a Truth for that moment alone? Is a promise when someone just says something (their word), or do they actually have to say “I promise”? Or does it have to be a signed contract in writing?

See, I felt like my agency had “promised” that referrals would come in six months. If you can say that the information in their monthly newsletter is a promise. Yet, there is no word in sight. Is it time to start whining? I think so.

I called my agency today and they said that if we don’t get a referral BY THE END OF JULY they are going to move us to another region. They said they haven’t been receiving a lot of referrals out of the place where we are registered (only 2 boys in the last 4 months) AND another one of their families who is also registered in the Bryansk region is AHEAD of us and ALSO waiting for a little girl.

They were very sympathetic and acknowledged that we had been waiting a long time. However, we were told there were things in our homestudy (too religious and believe things the Russians don't like) and problems with our homestudy agency (they refuse to sign certain forms that the Russians want) that have contributed to the delay.

This is enough to make my head spin into a tizzy. We are talking exorcist spin. We are talking my stomach got kicked again and I am starting to feel sick.

I know it isn't their fault...But they promised.

It's Alive!

I can't even remember the last time I had a job. Can you call this a job?

I think ClubMom read my last post and this post and wanted to help me out. They put their sympathetic little heads together and said, "Lets help out this loser Mom who has nothing to do and give her something to tell people she does".

Thanks ClubMom!

So, I come before you a respectable person with a sort of job and want to introduce myself to any new readers.

We are in the "waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting.... did I say waiting?" phase of our Russian adoption process. My bloggy nickname for our new daughter is Pineapple Princess.

Here is a little bit about our beginnings.

This is a bit about me.

I hope to meet a lot of great new friends!

Warning: Long Whiny Post Ahead

I am realizing that it was really super stupid of me not to go to school this semester.

How things were supposed to work is that I would be too overwhelmed with three kids, traveling twice to Russia and running around doing all of this paperwork, and then, of course, I would have a new little toddler that would have to adjust and spend every second with me. There was NO WAY I could also handle school.

The reality of it is that my kids are in summer camp from 9-3:45 every day. There are no pending travel plans, paper work or toddler in my immediate future. I am home alone doing nothing. Really. O.K. I do a little housecleaning, reading, a little secretary work for my church and� Oh, I try to get some exercise in between blogging. So basically I am a total loser. Thirty four-year old loser who does nothing. This is the peak of life here. I should be at the top of my game. Living my dreams.

Maybe the problem is that I don't have a handle on what my dreams are exactly.

My first dream, when I was really young was that I wanted to shun society, live in the woods and just travel all day, residing in a tent eating berries. (I still think this sounds pretty good sometimes especially when doing taxes). It really bugged me that we were born and then someone else decided that we had to obey laws like attend school for 12+ years. What happened to "Born Free"? I told my Dad about this dream and he told me that I would someday change my mind and that lawlessness was not a good thing. It is funny how Dads can be right.

When I got a little older I wanted to be an actress. I had performed in a lot of plays and so I had a good resume. I even had a real agent at one time. I did some auditioning for TV shows, but I never got a part. One time I did make it past the first cut, but then I crashed and burned when the director wanted to know if I had anything to say after my audition and I responded with, "What am I supposed to say?" The disappointment in me was apparent. Soon afterward, my agency went bankrupt and closed down.

Next I wanted to be a school teacher. I took a few teaching classes right after high school. I thought my music for elementary school teacher was super spaztic about little things like the proper way to hold hands when playing ring-around-the-rosie. She wanted us to be just as hyper as her as she would skip and sing really loud in the circle. Worry was creeping in. I then tried out some substitute teaching gigs and I decided to put my teaching dream right in the trash... "Come, on be nice to Miss Jennefer, she's new."

I always dreamed about marriage and family. Although it somehow looked different in my dreams where in my husband was caring for the kids, cooking the meals and kissing me feet.

Later I made the decision to finish college by getting a degree in Information Systems. This was after meeting such a graduate who swore to me she loved her career-was actually addicted to it and needed therapy to unloose herself. After knowing way too many people who hated their job, this sounded like the path for me. I started this up, but as I explained before, felt like I should put it on hold for the adoption.

It isn't like I haven't tried to do something over the summer. I actually sent in a volunteer application to the Ronald McDonald House near us, but I haven't heard back from them. I figured I was safe with another volunteer position because they would HAVE to work around my adoption schedule. I guess they didn't need me though.
So there you have it, how I am a thirty-four year old sitting around doing nothing.

The truth is that I just didn't go to school this semester because I was disillusioned with the idea that the adoption would come quicker if I didn't. It just hasn't happened. I guess I have a lot of time to makeover Pineapple's room (Thanks for the great ideas!)

Any other ideas to pass the time, so I feel like I am getting something done? Lauren recently emailed me with this same question and I just didn't know what to tell her. I already tried everything on this list that I could afford or was interested in. Oh� and please don't suggest to read another adoption book. I feel my head is so full of adoption information that it will esplode any minute!

Extreme Makeover: Pineapple's Room

Margaret had a great idea to help me out with Pineapple's bedroom, she said:

"Ask everyone to do an Internet search for the perfect girl's room item (a comforter, wall art, lamp, pillow, whatever) then leave the links in the comments. Hopefully from there you'll find an inspiration piece and you can take off from there!"

So, go to it guys- Give me some inspiration. If you can't locate a perfect item, then just pick a decorated whole bedroom picture and point out what you especially like.

Then I am going to do an extreme makeover on Pineapple's room. My mom said she is going to help out too (thanks mom!).

Be patient. It might take some time, but when I think the room is perfect I will show you all a video or at least several photos of the makeover!

Thanks for your help!