12:37 PM

Affording your adoption 102

The theme of this lesson is cross border shopping. So if you are an American or live too far from the border, you can skip this lesson.
The Canadian dollar has been at par (or near it) for more than a year now and I have been really taking advantage of the great deals, especially online, and the immense selection south of the border.
We just ordered Squeaker’s bed from the Walmart in the US and are picking it up this week in Buffalo. A similar bed would have cost me over $2000 in Canada. Granted that Canadian bed is of a much higher quality solid wood. But in this case I am looking for affordable not heirloom, and unfortunately only the US offered me the kind of choices I wanted.
There are some road blocks for Canadians who want to shop down south, but if you do the math it is really worth it. Shipping to a store in Buffalo (or whatever your closest American city is) is free but I will need to declare it at the border and pay the 15% duty. The bed was still less than $450 after NY tax and exchange rate, saving me over $1,500.Here are a few things I have learned about the process:
You need to use pay pal, they will not accept a Canadian credit card. Trust me I tried, and it got us in trouble with the fraud department at our bank … tee hee.
You have 30 days to pick it up after you place the order otherwise they ship it back to the warehouse and you get a full refund.
Don't buy too many things at once as they ship at different speeds and can cause difficulty with finding a pick up date since it is 30 days from arrival at the store not order date.
If you don't like it you can return it at the store. Check everything for marks, missing pieces before driving away.
Call the actual store that you shipped to confirm your order is there before you drive.
There are real deals to be had out there and the websites are amazing with tones of consumer reviews, you can really get an idea of the product even though you cannot see it. My friend got a new double Schwinn jogging stroller with MP3 player jack and speakers for $200!!! In terms of baby and kid gear you will find almost everything you need at 60%-50% less, and have I mentioned the variety!! Word to the wise though, American car seats even though they look identical are not legal in Canada.
I also shop at several American retailers for my own outfits. At home I need to go to specialty stores like Tall Girl (gag me with a spoon) to get pants long enough for me. Not only are those stores blah but they are very expensive. In America most stores carry a short, regular and long lengths on most of their items.

Expensive Version

My Version

These pants are from Wet Seal, a teeny bopper store, but don’t be dismayed, they offer a wide variety of sizes including plus sizes. My teenage niece declared that these jeans were in fact skinny enough to be classified as skinny, aka cool. I love them because they fit me, with a 36” inseam I can still get a little crinkle of jeans at my ankle, rare for this “tall girl”. Best part is the price though they regularly have a 2 pairs for $25 deal. So they cost me $12.50. I seriously would pay $40 or more for their glorious length alone J Oh Happy days! They are now shipping to Canada.
The top in this photo comes from my newest hidden jem of a store, Burlington Coat Factory/Baby Depot. Don’t let the name fool you, this store is not in Burlington and it’s not just coats and baby stuff. It is like a ghetto fabulous winners. Stuff is cheap! And stuff is glittery! Want to impress the mom group with the latest blinged out baby phat track suit? This is the store for you! In amongst all the apple bottom jeans and sky high stilettos is some really fun stuff. Some of my fav wow items have come from here, including a kimono type top and this one in the photo (cost me $15.00). Here is another tip, buy seasonless clothing whenever possible.
Now for the piece de resistance of this outfit, the boots! People will always tell you to spend your money on the classics. I respectfully disagree. A classic item will take you on the first class train to boredom. Being a mom, it is more likely that my clothing no matter what the price will be ruined by a stray red sock, diaper blowout or any other of the daily calamities a mom and her clothes experience. I am not spending big bucks on anything and most certainly not on something boring, er.. classic. Also classics require special laundering and (gag) ironing. You have got to be kidding me! You mean some people are taking on more laundry by choice!?! No Thanks!
These boots are 10 years old. They can be worn up (as seen) or slouchy. They are real leather, easy to walk in and cost me $60 on clearance at the time of purchase. They were likely in the clearance bin due to their unclassical colour. These babies add punch to any outfit and they have had more mileage than any basic brown or black pair. Happy Shopping!

2:57 PM


In my mind I am two MONTHS overdue, if this was a pregnancy some kind soul would have put me out of my misery weeks ago.
I am a stress ball. To date during this adoption I have lost a chunk of hair, sported a heck of a bald spot. This particular side effect to stress is the gift that keeps on giving because now I have a hunk of hair growing back that is like 2.5 inches long sprouting from the top of my head and it sticks straight up. It will not be tamed by product nor pony tail. (Look carefully in my photos below and you will see it waving at you.) I have a mysterious rash all over my chin and nose that has migrated around but none the less stayed with me for about 3 months now. I am currently having abdominal pains that may be the worst gas ever, or more likely just that I store my stress in my stomach, since it’s not.. um… passing.
Today is not match day. Hopefully next week is and hopefully China does not count that as the November list, and skip this month altogether. Just one more week you say? Try telling that to a women 2 MONTHS overdue!!!! She will bite your head off.
This is not my best moment. I know for my own health and safety as well as for others who are near to me, I NEED TO CALM the ^%&*#* DOWN. But again try telling that to a woman who is TWO MONTHS overdue!!! Near impossible. Even when that woman is yourself.

4:23 PM

Defending the indefensible

There is a video out there making a lot of waves. (I am not posting this video, I saw it by accident, did not know the content, and now I am having nightmares about it. I urge you to not view this video.) In this video a young girl is playing in a street in China. A driver in a van hits her, stops as she is under his car and then continues to drive over her a second time then flees. It is caught on security video. Then people pass by ignore her as she bleeds and struggles for life. Finally her mother rushes over and finds her and carries her away. Reports is that she is now in stable condition in the hospital.

There is a global uproar about the behavior of the driver and the citizens who did nothing. There is a lot of chatter about how “they” could have so little regard for human life. I have heard this accusation from adoptive parents, my own coworkers and of course the public at large. This assumption that something so terrible could only happen over there where “they” (read: uncivilized barbarian comies) could allow this to happen. Only they could be that uncivilized.

I am never going to defend those individuals who made those choices to ignore a hurt child and especially not the one who hurt her in the first place. BUT. I find myself in the position of needing to defend China. Firstly the legal system is vastly different; there can be extreme consequences to citizens who try to get involved. http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/news16675.html

Also this keeping to one’s self mentality comes from all the abuse that occurred during the cultural revolution where everyone was asked to watch and report on the behaviors of their neighbors, the results a witch hunt that took a civilization to its knees. So needless to say, the social norm is different, and the (non- existent) support of the legal system reflects that.

Still, taking that into account not helping the child is indefensible.

There is another story of an indefensible act I know, a story of a murder. This murder was oddly enough 2 years ago yesterday. Two years to the date that I unintentionally see this video of this little girl. This was the murder of my childhood friend. Who was attacked on the streets of Toronto, and then brutally run over by his attackers in their SUV. It is on tape. There were several witnesses, but most have never come forward. No one intervened, no one took note of the license plate while the occupants of the vehicle beat him up. No one in this story had any cultural conditioning or valid fear of authority as reasoning behind their lack of action. I guess they were just too scared. And I am not sure if put in the same situation I would have been fearless enough to have done anything to change the outcomes of that night. I like to think I am brave, but… I am humble enough to know that being in that situation is more paralyzing then you might think.

Follow up stories to the video of the little girl report that the driver of the vehicle is in custody, and the little girl is recovering in hospital. So at least in China there is going to be some justice. Nothing so kind has been given to the family of my friend. There are still no leads, and no witnesses coming forward, the case is at a standstill.

This is not the first time I have struggled with the need defend China. It is complex because underling racism and general misunderstanding regarding the world outside of North America bubble to the surface at moments like this, in people who I generally think are good, kind, smart people. I am just disheartened at how quickly every one turned on and judged an ENTIRE country because of this video. It is maybe partially China's fault that this happened, but things like this happen every where in every country, there are humans who do awful things to others. We are not immune, we are not better. I think China needs to improve it's human rights. But I think Corporate America is maybe equally but differently raping it's citizens too. I think humanity has a long way to go still in every country in every race.

I want to see change in China’s human rights; there are many things I wish could be different. Here is the kicker, if they were different, I would not be getting a daughter.

One of my favorite authors, Tom Robbins, discussed the theme of good and evil. Specifically how one cannot exist without the other. The world is kept in balance by an equal and opposite reaction to every action. I think this is the closest reasoning I have found to explain why these horrible things happen, even to good people. Because somewhere out there a equally amazing thing is happening. A butterfly affect of sorts, or a universal balancing act.

How can I defend the indefensible acts? How can I teach my child to be proud of her self, all the parts of her? How can I explain the chain of political and cultural events that lead her to be mine? How do I prepare her to be the one who feels the need to make the world understand that it’s just not that simple?

2:38 PM

The only thing more fleeting then summer is childhood

Well October is certainly flying by. I am so glad. You know what else is flying by? My babies’ childhoods. Each day I see my son do or say something new. He is on the precipice of being a big boy. Some days he seems so ready and asks for the big boy chair, the big boy bed, or to do things “By Self”. On one hand this is fantastic timing, I need the high chair and crib for Elora soon and I am glad we won’t have to be rushing him out of these things. On the other hand, I regularly look at my dining table and see an empty high chair. Since Squeaker is still back and forth on this grown up stuff, I keep both accessible for him to choose from. So every once and while, I will glance over my back while I am cooking and see my little family at the table, with one empty high chair and I get this emotion soup flood me. I am so proud my little baby boy is growing up, I am so sad that my little baby girl is growing up without us. I want to speed time up and get her home, at the table with us where she belongs. I want to slow down time or even reverse it and see a toothless baby babbling at me from that chair, how did he become a philosophical toddler already?
Squeaker tells me the strangest things, recently he has been saying that his face is growing and sometimes he says that a growing face hurts, other times, he tells me that it’s scary. The solution to this is to kiss his face all over. But we have this conversation about the growing face a few times a week. He is also using his toy robot to act out big boy activities. He will tell me that robot wants to sleep in the big boy bed or sit in the big boy chair. He tells me he is the robots daddy and that he will feed him and help him to be a big boy. As you can see I am not the only one in the house who is trying to keep up with the emotions of a babyhood that is slipping away.
I truly savor every moment with my family, the moments at work, not so much. But I am trying not to wish all my days away, trying not to live from one match day to another. But I guess what they say is true, time flies when you are having fun.

A Boy and his Robot.