Thursday, June 26, 2008

The fungus among us.

When Sasha had his vet appointment last week, our new (excellent, board certified and quite intuitive) vet hadn't seen him yet, and, as it was time for his annual check up, took blood and cultures and swabbed his bitey little mouth. It seems that the rescue from whence we adopted him is the Moby Dick to our little Pequod home. Poor Sasha is the only one of our four birds to have an avian disease called aspergillosis, which is spread by the inhalation of mold spores of the genus Aspergillus, and is usually found to be not harmful in normal, healthy birds kept in clean environs. However, the conditions in which we found Sasha at the rescue were best described as fetid: ideal to further the spread of infection and cause even the hardiest of birds considerable stress. The crusted droppings, the lack of clean water, the dust and grime, the dog feces and constant barking presence of the feral pack of dogs around the birds' cages, the cross-contamination of dozens of animals all kept in a confined, unventilated space, the being passed from foster home to rescue to foster home again, the incessant noise from birds not given enough activity, all would weaken even as strapping a bird as Sasha.

I'm certainly glad that the vet was thorough enough to not only culture the swab from Sasha's mouth, but send it to an independent lab for confirmation. I'm leaving it to Christian, though, to administer the liquid medication. I would have to towel Sasha to get near enough to his beak to get him to take the meds, and I just can't bear causing him any more stress. Poor pooper.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Drilling into my soul.

Yesterday, when Christian was doing the laundry, the floor drain that connects to the main water line from the kitchen and bathroom and connects with the sewer line near the driveway googed forth a geyser of poopy water, flooding the area in front of the basement door with sewage and used toilet paper.  Swell.  Christian used the shop vac to suck up all the poo and sucked the drain as clear as he could until the plumber could come to snake out the pipe.  We didn't want to pay an additional $200 bucks for the emergency call when we could wait until morning, so we made an appointment for today, when they came and cleared the clog.  Alas for us, when the extremely expensive plumbers used their equally exorbitantly-priced equipment to give our pipe its videographic fifteen minutes of fame, they found that their camera reached a point in the pipe where it was halted, coincidentally, right under the spot in the concrete floor where Christian had drilled down to anchor a shelving upright and had to stop because the hammer drill encountered resistance.  He, however, didn't stop drilling until the bit became irrevocably stuck.  Yep, Christian drilled right through our sewer line.  With a really big bit.  The plumbers are still here.  So, now there are jackhammers and new pipe fittings and $1,200 of credit-card-paying-off monies all floating around in the filth down there along with my good will.  And I chose last night to drink rum.  Foolish girl.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Drunk Blogging

Well, I'm not actually intoxicated anymore, but slightly-tipsy-and-mildly-sleepy doesn't quite have the same rebellious cache to it. Drunk on a Sunday night!  However, now all I want is a toothbrush as my teeth feel hairy.

Shelly and I had to watch the Tony Awards to make fun of Patti LuPone's jaw spasms and see which plays and musicals we should sob over not being able to see live as we live on the wrong coast and touring companies suck by the time they get to Seattle and all the really good stuff happens in New York, although Bartlett Sher won a Tony, and Cheyenne Jackson performed a scene from Xanadu, and I actually KNEW him when I was still in Spokane, as he is from around there and we have/had some of the same friends.  

Seeing someone to whom you used to serve coffee at the cafe where you worked the early morning shift during your last semester in college sing and dance on the freaking Tony Awards gives one a feeling that the world is a shockingly tiny place where anyone who is astonishingly beautiful and obscenely talented can make a huge career for themselves and have an entire website dedicated to their thighs alone (you have to log in to see the glory that is Cheyenne's quads, apparently).   And I can say I kind of knew some of his friends when.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dawning Understanding

We met with our new lawyer, and were very happy with the outcome.  She was helpful and had excellent suggestions, so we've started making contacts with agencies and individuals who could possibly help us.  However, we seem to keep running into the same problem.  Very few agencies do domestic adoptions.  Most strictly do Asian and Eastern European adoptions of children six months and older and those that do work with domestic adoptions mainly place older children.  Even Catholic Community Services, who, on their website, lists domestic adoption among the services they provide, are not accepting anyone into their program, and have no plans to do so in the near future.  It was recommended that we contact CCS of Eastern Washington, but I was told today, in an upsetting phone call conducted entirely in emphatic negatives, that they simply cannot help us because, well, they don't want to.  I told them that Western Washington CCS's domestic program was closed, that we hoped that we could get someone here to do the home study and post-placement evaluation, but the person I was speaking with didn't want to hear possible solutions to what she seemed to believe were insurmountable problems, seemingly couldn't wait to end our conversation and expressed no interest in answering my questions.  Her final parting statement was that domestic adoptions are rare because of birth parents changing their minds.  Now, I believe that to be the real reason behind the problems we are already beginning to face.

It is estimated by "Adoptive Families" magazine that 25,000-30,000 children are placed domestically for adoption per year, and that number is more than all international adoptions combined.  However, the proportion of agencies offering international vs. domestic adoption does not at all reflect this estimate.  It is rapidly becoming obvious that the possibility of birth parents changing their minds casts a heavy and challenging pall on domestic adoption.  In what seems to be an effort to minimize changes of mind and heart, all of the agencies that I've researched advocate completely open adoptions where the adoptive parents and the birth parents choose each other, have extensive personal contact before the birth and continue that relationship after the child has become part of his or her new family.  Upon speaking with our lawyer and family and friends who were adopted, we do not believe that this is a route we wish to enter into the GPS.   The idea that a birth mother would continue to play an active role in our child's life after the termination of parental rights gives me great pause.  As many (indeed, most) young mothers who place their children for adoption are from impoverished homes with little or no familial support and equally minimal education, the maturity level required to maintain appropriate distance would likely be lacking.  We would like to be able to raise our child in our family without the constant specter of jealousy or competition and without the fear of inconsistency from the birth mother and confusion to the child.  I would have no problem with providing the birth mother with photos, but actual contact would not be terribly desirable.  To be vulgar, it would feel far too much like I was playing mother to another woman's child while she watched from the wings. 

It will be difficult to not succumb to the pressure to adopt a child whose parents are not only not in the scenario, but likely not even known.  However, we want this child from the very first second, to be the first person he or she sees, and to be the only mother and father this child has ever known.  I feel as though we are being made out to be quite selfish, but this is what we want.  I hope there will be those who will help us achieve this.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Step One

We are meeting with an adoption attorney tomorrow morning.  We have kicked the ball and it rolleth.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Missing crucial information.

Many things about advertising anger me. I dislike diet pill ads where the before and after pictures are the same one, but the guy is just standing up really straight, I hate commercials for late night chat lines that show idiotic, giggling girls who would never be at home on a Saturday as they'd be out getting drunk with her friends from the nail salon, I loathe daytime ads for things like the toxin removing foot pads that were proven to only turn brown because of foot sweat and apparently smell like poo and that damn screaming guy who sells everything from kitchen cleaner to garden tools can die in a fiery crash. However, the one that makes me the angriest is the ad for the cervical cancer vaccine. While it is an excellent product and I would love for every girl to get vaccinated, the ads are hugely misleading. They state that the vaccine doesn't prevent all kinds of cervical cancer or other types of HPV diseases and that those vaccinated should continue to get annual checkups. All fine, you would think, but HPV is a sexually-transmitted infection and the risk of contracting it can be cut hugely buy advocating condom use. But, do you think the word sex is anywhere in the ad? Do the vaccine's manufacturers say that safe sex practices should be taught to avoid the risk of contracting the disease? No. And why? Because we're a country of puritanical hypocrites who alternatively vilify and glorify sex. All we want is sex until we're in our 30s and then all we want to do is stop everyone else from having it. And it would be unimaginable to talk about it rationally instead of treating it as an embarrassing, shameful act, but then turn and behave as though that act drives our every decision. I wonder what a difference it would make in the choices of younger people if they were given a realistic idea of sex and the consequences of it, instead of being deliberately kept ignorant by parents too afraid to admit that their child has grown up, too indifferent to care or too permissive to try and place responsibility on their children's shoulders.

The last time I was at the gynecologist's office, I picked up the brochure for the vaccine to see if any information about transmission and prevention was included, and it was not. And I'm really pissed.