Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Bulldog, The Social Worker, and the 4 Hour Job Interview

I've decided that the best way to control population would be to require a homestudy for prospective parents. Combine a self induced cleaning obsession, a crazy french bulldog, and a 36 year old 6 year old with no off switch.... a social worker's nightmare.

The doorbell rang promptly at 9:00 and Polli went from half asleep to deranged maniac dog in .25 seconds. I know now what parents mean when they say "she's never like this, I swear!" I was saying that, like a broken record, for the first half hour while Polli used our social worker as a trampoline. How embarassing!

Our SW Becky is a petite, quiet lady in her 50's who has "I've seen everything" written all over her face. I guess that's a good thing considering my dog had that crazy look in her eyes (while the devil parrot squaked endlessly from the other room). My only hope was that this was all completely normal. Lord give me strength!

She quietly observed as we set out coffee and settled Polli down. She made notes the whole time and I was praying that they were regarding my beautiful faux finished walls or thoroughly vacuumed carpet. Chances are, it was about the candles lit precariously close to magazines or tangled appliance wires strug across the room. I guess there's no hiding that we live in a childless home.

We did do a lot of bragging about how great Polli is with not chewing wires and not eating our shoes. Right on cue, Polli trotted into the room proudly clutching a shoe in her mouth. Again, how embarassing! Come on dog, don't you want a brother?

We gave her a quick tour of the house, all 1600 square feet, which doesn't take long. Upon showing her our backyard, she commented on our Buddha sculpture and screen of bamboo. It seemed to be with a lighter pen and a smile (finally) that she made notes at this point. Whew! Buddha is bringing us good luck already!

It didn't seem to bother her that the room for the child is currently inhabited by Gonzo, our parrot. Whose parrot has her own room AND DVD player? Ours does! She glanced briefly at our bedroom, but didn't see how well scrubbed the toilet was or how nicely folded the towels were. Darn it, that grout didn't scrub itself! I remember reading about people who cleaned behind the dryer or polished their mailbox... How ridiculous..... Now, where should I put this new fire extinguisher? Yes, I'm a perfectionist AND a hypocrite!

She started in with questions for Shawn. Basically, she was just asking for expanded answers to questions from our autobiographies. His answers were so long winded and she went into so much detail... I was starting to think that she would never get to me. Although our agency is not a religion based agency, as some are, she spent a good hour or more asking about how we will raise our child. Shawn, with a soured family experience with the Catholic church, did not sugar coat a thing. At one point, he even said "I'm just waiting for the day the Martians land". I wanted to crawl under the table. I wanted so badly to butt in and emphasis that we are not athiests! We both believe in God, we just don't go to church on Sunday. We believe in an inner faith rather than that religion is about guilt. To each his own, I say, but it really was coming across that we live in anarchy. Shawn, why don't you just shortcut this thing and show her your tattoos for goodness sake? Lady, go on to the next question already!

After about 2 1/2 hours of questions to Shawn (who frankly grew up with a Mayberry kind of life) she finally came to me. As she posed her first question, she looked at her watch and said "look at the time, let's wrap this up in the next 15 minutes". Almost 3 hours to Shawn and 15 minutes to me. Since my family put the "fun" in dysfunctional, I was relieved. It's not that everything was bad growing up, but I knew (and was right) that she would zero right in on my relationships with my siblings. Lets just say that if they had to do a criminal check on our whole family, we would be denied in a hurry. I don't have the best relationship with my sister and there's no glossing over our bad blood. I was so glad when those 15 minutes were up.

All in all, it went well. She was at the house for about 4 hours and still seemed interested in working with us when she left.

We were excited to hear that she was leaving the next day for China for 2 weeks. I can't wait to hear about her experience there. Before her car had disappeared in the distance, we were walking to the nearby Taco Del Mar for the highest calorie buritto money can buy. I needed cheese and I needed it now.

So, with that behind us, now we can begin looking toward the final pieces of our homestudy, which are the fingerprinting/background checks.

Once that's done, we can actually start compiling our dossier documents! With luck, we'll have the dossier to China shortly after the new year. Come on, buddha, don't fail us now!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Who's the Crazy Lady at the Mall Stalking Asian Kids?

I was at the mall the other day and saw an Asian little girl with a Caucasian couple. I practically followed them through the entire store before they got on the escalator and floated away. I wonder if they were trying to get away from the crazy lady staring at them from across the shoe department?

Was she adopted? Potentially. Was she Chinese? Possibly. Am I a lunatic? By the time this is all over, probably!

The mind is an incredible thing. When I bought my Honda Element, it was a brand new, crazy looking invention. People would practically drive off the road staring at me as I drove by, as though it were the Model T in 1909. Strangers would chase me down in parking lots or at the gas station just to ask questions about my car. I was an automobile rockstar....Albeit a rockstar sick of rattling off facts about gas mileage and why I chose Galapagos Green. Now, almost 4 years later, every other car on the road is an Element and no one looks twice, except to cut in front at the onramp meter.

I imagine international adoption the same way to some extent. The way I react to Asian children with non-Asian parents is similar to how people reacted to my car. I'm sure that couple in the mall whispered to themselves as I peered from behind a display of perfume, "Here we go again...another adoption newbie".

Just like the novelty wore off with my Element, I'm sure in time the same will happen with our "different from the norm" family...Until another lunatic comes along.

This all got me wondering how I would answer questions when people stop staring and actually come up to us. Everyone talks about how rude and naive some people are and how your child becomes something of a sideshow attraction, but I'm hoping that Shawn and I are right that we live in a more diverse than normal area. Drive by 1 Microsoft Way and it's not hard to figure out that a vast cultural revolution has converged upon western Washington. The blending of technology and culture has done great things to the diversity of our area and I'm praying this means that we're a more tolerant area for it.

So, getting back to my obsession with the Asian little girl, she's not the only one. God help me if a parent or sharp eyed security guard catches me staring at an Asian toddler boy wondering if he's Chinese? Korean? Japanese? Is he 2? 3? Will my little boy look like him? We he act like him? Will he be that hyper? That shy? If you're wondering if 30 minutes of staring has gone by, no. This all happens in about 30 seconds... but at the big boat in our mall, this could happen a hundred times over!

On the same note, recently a friend pointed out a cute little boy in Starbucks and I honestly said "what little boy" when he was right in front of us. I was looking for black hair and almond shaped eyes... this little guy had blonde hair and it was like I saw right through him. Poor guy. I'm sure his Asian parents love him just the same. ;-D

For those visiting this blog to find out where we are in the process, the answer the last entry. There's your answer!

We actually have an appointment for next Friday with our Social Worker for our home visit. Now, if I can keep myself from overcleaning we'll do just fine!