Friday, February 26, 2010

The end of a legend

          I'm writing this now because Adi is napping and I have a quiet minute, although I think it would be better if I let this all marinate a while. I'll do my best to do justice on this write up.

       It seems as though this has been a week of new beginnings. A few friends have given birth to new beautiful lives, then there was all the excitement of court dates and traveling and possibilities for our new life and a fresh start for Bay. And in the midst of this, one life has been slipping, quickly and quietly away. But instead of calling this an end I'd like to add it to the list of new beginnings.

Grampa Died this morning, Mom and Gramma had stepped out of his room to go down to gramma's apartment for a minute, and he left this world while they were gone.  It was 11:45 am. My oldest sister had flown in from LA this morning to say her goodvyes, but due to snow in NY she was delayed. She was supposed to get in at 11:00 and the airport was just minutes from the nursing home. They would have been there by 1130, just in time to say goodbye.  Grampa new better than to let this happen.  He slipped away while no one was looking.(he knew she would be here for her mom, like she would so badly need in the immediate aftermath  ). You'll often hear this from others who have experienced death of a loved one, or social workers and nurses who work in hospice, and it sure does hold to be true!

Grampa is the captain of his ship! always has been, and even until the moment he took his last breath. He made sure his wife of 66 years was all moved and settled into her new apt, yet he didn't stick around long enough to force anyone into having to make an impossible decision for him.  Mom had been struggling with whether or not to place a feeding tude or IV for hydration in the last few days.  She was suffering knowing that he was hurting from hunger and thirst, but also knowing that his body was shutting down the way nature designed it to.Grampa took care of it on his own.  We all knew he wasn't going to live this way for long.  A man like grampa doesn't sit in a wheel chair in the hallway of a nursing home being spoon fed ice cream. A man like grampa drives around in a mini cooper, works out at the Y everyday, rides his bike, walks his dog, tells jokes and stories from the past.He has lived his life to the absolute fullest and died with dignity.

As a nurse I am tempted to write about all the specifics of how he died, which systems shut down, how his heart problems lead to kidney problems, etc.. But instead I will say that his body gave up at 87 years old and he died a short while after.  He has had a bad heart for a while,  began to show signs of dementia back in November, and last Saturday he has a lot of edema (swelling) and his wedding band sure looked tight. 

He and gramma were married for 66 years! Now grampa is reunited with his beautiful, youngest  daughter Ann (my wonderful Aunt who passed away in July after a 2 year struggle with pancreatic cancer), his dog Jacques (who passed away in oct 2007 after being hit by a car, the morning of my baby show for adi) His dog Beau,( who passed a little while back, not exactly how or when, but he is buried in their old house's back yard) and probably many many more dogs that I never knew. The man loved his dogs.

The last few things he said to me was that he was "going to see his parents" and when I mentioned that I never did get to drive that Mini cooper, he still managed to make me laugh (although he was serious)"my heart bleeds for you" he said. I love you grampa, and I miss you so much.  May your journey to your new beginning be beautiful.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

bad news

We didn't pass. One piece of paper was missing from the minestry of womens affairs. They are training new staff so they didn't get to it, is my understanding. Next court date it march 12th.
feeling sad

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

twas the night before court

tomorrow is the big day.  While we sleep our case to be Bay's official parents will be heard in Ethiopia and when we wake up we will either have good news or bad news... well bad news really could mean a number of things.  Some paper work could be missing, the right person might not show up etc. So in this case they would reschedule us for another day this week, or next week or possibly even next month. If and when we do pass court we are about 6 -8 wks from traveling to pick up our son!

So tonight I am praying hoping and wishing that we pass and are able to travel at a time that will work out for us all to be able to go. But I am also praying and thinking a lot about his mother and family. The impossible decision to give up this beautiful baby boy and the gift we are receiving.  We are by far the lucky ones in this arrangement.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

felt like spring today

           but I know its just a tease.After this winter I'm happy to have the tease. We went for a walk to the park and played hard once we got there. Then on the way home we stopped to see the goats and sheep at the nature center. I even lay(sorry dad, I still don't know the proper way to conjugate that word)  in the hammock. We went to see grampa yesterday. His health has diminished significantly in the last few week.  He was sitting in a chair though, which surprised me. Gramma is all moved into her new apartment which is at least a relief for mom.  They were about to move here before grampa got so sick, and I was looking forward to being a part of their care taking.  I know it is better that they are by mom because she can be with them 100% and I couldn't.  But in what may be his last few weeks I really wish he was here.  I don't know if I should rush down to see him every chance I have or not.  Adi is my first priority for now and I'm thankful mom and dad are with them.

Adi has had pneumonia all week.  Andy's wonderful boss has been out of town for the last two weeks leaving him in charge.(so he couldn't take any time off to hang with the sick kid).  And if I'm gonna try and go to Ethiopia before I graduate then I can't take any time off from school. Preschool doesn't like a kid with pneumonia. Friends with kids don't want a kid with pneumonia at there house. Gramma's were out of town. So it was a hard few weeks. I kinda feel like I'm drowning.  All the while in the back of my head all I can think about is this court date on wed and how and when are we traveling. And how are we going to pull this off.

We planned the best we could for our second baby.  When it comes to kids in general, planning doesn't work.  We knew we wanted them close in age, but also knew I had to finish school. And I wanted to be somewhat distracted by this processes.  I knew if i was just hanging with Ads all day then it would take forever to get Bay home. So, yes, this was all part of the plan. But I am STILL DROWNING.  Just hoping to catch my breath in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

1 week

1 week until court! I am nervous and excited. whatever will be, will be.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


  I wanted to make sure Adi and Bay are able to look back and see what big things were going on in their lives when they were just wee ones. So heres a little bit about grampa.
 Grampa is sick.  He is 87 yrs old and until a few months ago lived completely independent with my gramma in their own house, with a boat, and a bunch of cars,cameras,guns, and other "toys" (including a mini cooper, we never quite understood why he needed this), traveling the world with his wife. He got up and drove himself to the YMCA 6 mornings a week where he worked out for a full hour, riding the bike, walking on the treadmill, lifting weight. He developed adult onset diabetes in his 70's and ever since has carefully watched every bit he put in his mouth. He has had heart problems for years as well, but after numerous by pass surgeries and finally an implantable cardiac device (an internal pace maker and defib), he hasn't had too much trouble. Until a few months ago. He declinded rapidly and was moved from his home on the NC coast to a nursing facility in charlotte, where my parents live, so my mother could take part in his care.  Maybe he had been sicker that we thought, but since they lived such an imdependant life for so long, this move took us all by surprise. 

Grammpa is the family Patriarch. He always has been, its the kind of man he is. He makes all the decisions not only for his wife, but for the rest of us too. He always does the driving when we are together, he takes us out in his boat, he takes the pictures with his fancy cameras, he took his daughters on a cruise around Greece and Egypt a year ago. He is in charge. and we love him for it. So when all of a sudden his mind slowed down, and body got weak, we all got scared.

When your grandparents are in their late 80's, you have to know that their time in this life is running out. You try to think that its not a sad because they have lived a long life. But suddenly, when it's my grampa coming to a stop, I get sad. It's hard for me to imagine life without him. He is the funniest man I know and since I was just a little girl, I always had a special place in my heart for him.  He wasn't the type of grampa who let you sit on his lap as a child and read to us, or played with us or babysat for weekends while our parents went out of town, in fact we might have even referred to him  from time to time as (and we meant this with all the love in our hearts) "grumpy grampa".He wasn't like the other grampa, the "jolly, round bellied, huggy"grampa. Frankly, he preferred the company of adults.
But there was alway something  else about him, a deep deep love that I knew was in there somewhere.
Grampa walked me down the aisle with dad. And he told me on my wedding day that I was his best friend! I'm not sure why he said it, but I said it back.(and I think we both meant it)
When Adi was born, grampa came to meet her and when I forced her into his arms, he told me it was the first baby he's held (maybe not even before his own children?! seems unlikely, but cute none the less) I managed to snap a photo of them. Not sure who looked more upset. 

Back in November mom, Adi and I went to see them on the coast.  This was when we realized that a move needed to be done sooner rather than later. I had the pleasure of driving my 87 yr old grampa to the YMCA and work out with him for his last time there. For a few days later he was in route to Charlotte in bad shape. I like to think that he'll be able to move into grammas new apt in the retirement home and get off the full care floor. And that he'll be able to shuffle down to the workout room and pool to excersize.I know he won't, but I hope I'm wrong.

Adi and Bay, I want you two to know what a great great man your great grampa is.  Adi, I hope you have more time to get to know him and Bay, I hope you get to meet him.

Friday, February 12, 2010


We got our court date assigned this morning. It will be feb 24th! only a week and half away.
Andy got the call while I was in class ( it was an optional class, and I opted to go , don't know why, guess I thought learning oncology would be easier if I wasn't teaching myself, but I would have learned more at home, ugg) I was so elated but couldn't celebrate cause I was stuck in a 4 hr class. By now I over the moon!

I am also trying not to get my hopes to high because it seems pretty impossible to pass ocurt the first time (although our coordinator told us it was a 50-50 chance) If we do pass we will then either travel for an Embassy Date in Ethiopia April 7th or April 21. Either way, BAY IS COMING HOME IN APRIL! (hopefully)
The week of April 7th would be superb because that is both Andy and my spring break.  It is the later date I am cutting it close.  Its not the time away Im worried about, its if I or the kids get sick on the way home, I will have to stick it out and go to school anyway for a few more weeks before I graduate.  We really thought there was no chance we'd be traveling in APRIL! but it shall work out how it needs to I guess. We can't plan life!

Hopefully so soon I can plaster this Blog with photos and videos of Bay and reveal his full name!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Adi Kenya

Today sweet Adi Kenya turned 2! Has is really been 2 years already?

Adi was born at 3:21 pm on a sunny, beautiful,cold, sunday.  The night before, around 10 pm my contractions began. It was a long night of tossing around in bed in what I thought was pain. By 9 am we headed to the hospital  .  By noon I thought I was gonna die, and by 3pm I was begging for an epidural. But by 3:21pm Adi came splashing into the world (it was a natural water birth)after 15 hr of labor. I swore, as I climbed out of the tub, that I'd never do it again, at least not without drugs. That was a lie, I wouldn't have done it any other way.
ok, i wanted to find a picture of Adi when she was first born, but this was the best I could do. can you tell whose who?
                                                          Ok, I found some

This day started by us waking her up singing happy birthday. She chimed right in and sang with us.
We have made a tradition(all of two years) of taking Adi to Toys R us on her birthday and letting her pick out a present. Last year, on her first birthday, she picked out an Elmo sleeper sofa. You know the kinds that fold out to be a bed with a sleeping bag, then fold back into a mini couch. It was the only thing in the store she wanted. This year...brace yourself...an Umbrella! yes, the child decided that of all the thousands of toys in the store, all the princess dolls, and dresses and jewels, she chooses an Umbrella. Grant it, it was a princess umbrella, but still. What 2 year old chooses an Umbrella? Well I guess she is practical, as my sister pointed out, "she'll be ready for spring."

The day ended by coming home to yes, you guessed it. NO POWER, for the 800th time this winter. We had fun playing with the umbrella with head lamps on. Adi was really excited to have her own head lamp on, but called it crown. The power was back on after not to long. And all in all Adi had a great day and sang herself to sleep.
February is a month of birthday in the Cross family. A lot of wonderful celebrating, and tomorrow we shall celebrate Apa (grampa).

Now, onto adoption.  Nothing new. Waiting, waiting waiting.  Waiting for a court date now. Its been one month since we accepted a referral and court dates typically assigned 6 weeks after. So we are hoping to hear soon of when that will be. We have now gotten 2 short videos, and a few new pictures. I really wish I could post them. Soon, I hope.  I can say that he is so cute, he smiled and waved to the camera. He is small too, but with big eyes and ears and lips, but a tiny nose.I miss him already.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Another storm

This time we have an ice storm. Not so fun or pretty.  On the adoption front, we at least have some new picture to stare at. (Thanks families who took them for us) He is even cuter in these pictures, if thats at all possible.

I've been thinking a lot about traveling to Ethiopia lately. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.
I would consider us(including Adi) to be "well traveled" and by well traveled I don't mean cruises and resorts in the Caribbean. I mean weeks and months spent in under developed countries, sleeping in treacherous conditions, and months spent in the wilderness out in the elements. We have all spent time in Africa, so I don't think we will have initial culture shock.  But I am still a bit nervous about this.  We plan on taking Adi (who will be 2 1/2 and my mother in law. My Mother in law, Ama, will be in charge of Adi while we focus on Bay.  We have gotten some mixed feeling and opinions already on bringing Adi.   The reality is Andy and I have only spent 1 night away from Adi so far, and 2 nights apart since we've know eachother. We are that couple who just prefers to be together than apart.  Neither one of us wants to miss this and we can't really imagine not having Adi with us. So thats that. But I'm still nervous and would love advice from anyone who has done something similar.