Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The hunt is over!

I was laid off from a job that I really enjoyed back in January.  I was pretty disappointed. At least I had the luxury of not having to find another job right away.  Last year, we made some changes to our budget because we thought we were going to have a child home with us in January, and I wouldn't be working as much.  Well, that didn't happen.  And God knew that wasn't going to happen, and He did know that I was going to lose my job.  We managed pretty well just on James' income.  I thought I'd have another job rather soon.  I'd been laid off before, and I was able to find a job the same week that I was laid off back then.  But that was 5 yrs ago.  The economy was better then.  Part of my severance package was a career coaching service.  I decided not to use it right away, I mean surely I wouldn't need that, right?

I began seriously looking for a job a few weeks after I was laid off.  I applied for job after job.  I went to interviews. I called a hiring manager that I knew. Nothing.  It became my daily habit to spend a few hours searching for jobs on sites like monster and indeed, apply for two or three, and not expect to hear anything back.  I probably applied for at least thirty different jobs. Even Walgreen's is having a statewide hiring freeze. I began to wonder if I should be trying to get unemployment. I got random calls about jobs that were either 90 miles from our home or clear on the other side of the state. If someone had told me that I'd be in this position three years ago, I would have laughed at them.  All in all, I had six phone interviews and five face to face interviews.  I got one job offer for a night pharmacist position at a long term care pharmacy in early May.  It was a 7 on, 7 off position.  You work a week, then you're off a week.  No vacation.  That's right - no vacation.  That was a deal breaker for me.  I almost accepted the position, but the more I thought about it, it made my stomach hurt.  I didn't want to say no.  I mean, I'd been looking for three months.  How long would it be before something else turned up?  I said no.  Shortly after I turned that offer down, I decided to use the career coaching service that was part of my severance package.  I kept applying for jobs, and I got two calls one morning about a couple of part-time jobs that I had applied for.  My interviews were a few days later.  The interview for the job that I really wanted was very brief.  I didn't know what to think when I left.  But, I got an offer from them!

I'm working part-time (which is what I wanted) at a specialty pharmacy that serves transplant and cancer patients.  I'll be working two or three days a week.  This was my first week, and it's been really good to be back at work.  I feel a little rusty.  This is extremely different from my last job, and I'm handling medications that I've never dispensed before, but I'll catch on.  I couldn't ask for better hours.  The pharmacy is open 8am-6pm, closed on weekends and holidays, no "on-call", it is not open to the general public, and in three days I haven't even seen a bottle of Lortab - much less had someone cuss me out because I wouldn't fill it 15 days early.  This still feels too good to be true!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Can I get a do over for this week?

This week has been challenging.  I've had two big headaches to deal with on top of being worried about what's going on with our little girl.

The first thing was getting our dog, Daisy's medication refilled.  Sounds simple enough.  Oh no.  I realized over the weekend that the pharmacy had probably shorted us when they filled it.  She takes 1 ml a day, and I had asked for a six week supply.  I was charged for a six week supply on 4/21.  She ran out of medication last night.  I was able to get only 27 doses out of a bottle that should have had 45 doses in it.  I called the pharmacy on Monday and told them what was going on.  Of course they wanted to argue with me and insist that they had given me a 6 week supply.  The technician even told me that they "overfilled" the order for 47 mls, just to make sure that I'd have enough.  There was a problem with that.  Her medication came in a bottle that was only big enough to hold 30 mls.  I asked him to explain to me how he got 47 mls in a bottle that could only hold 30 mls.  He got the pharmacist then.  She apologized profusely for the mistake and said she'd compound what they owed us and send it out that day via overnight UPS at no charge to us.  I was satisfied with that.  Last night, when there was no sign of UPS, and decided that I'd give them until noon today, and then I'd call the pharmacy back to see what was going on.  I called them today at noon, and spoke with the pharmacist.  Again, she was very apologetic, but they had dropped the ball again.  They never compounded anything for us on Monday and they didn't UPS anything to us.  Well, that didn't make this pharmacist none too happy.  I voiced my displeasure and she assured me that I'd have the medication today even if she had to deliver it to my house herself.  I thanked her, but I told her that I was going to let the vet know what happened, since it was the vet that referred us to that pharmacy in the first place.  They did make things right today.  Someone was at my door at 2:45 with what they owed us plus enough for another month, and a $10 gift card to Petco.  I was impressed.  This medication isn't exactly cheap, and it was generous of them to give us a whole month's worth at no cost.  I'm still probably not going to use them again though.  I don't exactly trust them after this incident.  If I worked at a compounding pharmacy, I'd fill it myself.

The other headache I've been dealing with this week is my mobile phone.  That is my iPhone in the photo, and no I didn't really smash it, but I wanted to.  It is 2 and a half years old, and I've been having issues with it for a while.  The last time I talked to my mother-in-law on it, she could hard understand anything I said.  My mom told me that it sounded like I was talking into a bucket every time I called her.  Plus there was the whole issue of dealing with itunes.  What a lousy program.  Wanna put a song on your phone that is currently saved on your computer?  Well, first you have to let itunes sync your phone, update the software, and back up the phone before you can do that.  You might have the song on your phone three hours later.  Ugh.  Why do people put up with this??  I know there are people out there who think apple and Steve Jobs hung the moon.  I used to be one of those people.  Not anymore.  Not after owning an iPhone.  I currently have no plans to purchase another apple product.

James and I went to the AT&T store to get new phones just before Mother's Day.  We both got Motorala Atrix phones.  James got a refurbished phone, and he is loving it.  However, I decided to spend twice as much and get a new phone.  I am not loving mine.  It randomly turns itself off and restarts itself multiple times a day.  I'm still having issues with the outgoing call quality.  I've had a number of people tell me that there is a lot of static or an echo when I talk.  I've made two calls to AT&T's customer support this week, and I'm going to replace the phone tomorrow at the AT&T store.  I hope the next one works.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another day with no news

It's 4:30 pm.  That means that our social worker has left the office for the day, and another day has passed without getting an update on Baby M or on the status of our case.  It's been just over six weeks since we heard anything.  It's been 9 weeks since we turned our acceptance papers in, and we still don't know if our case has been submitted to court.

Our agency has an online forum where the families can communicate with each other.  Not all of the families that adopt through our agency participate in the forum, but there are a lot of people who do. From the best I can tell, everyone on the forum who is adopting a child under the age of four has either recently received an update or found out that their case had been submitted to court. Except us.

One of the families who had recently got an update posted some words in hopes of encouraging those of us who are still waiting for news.  They said to remember that God is even in the bumps and delays of the adoption process.  I believe that.  I believe that God is intricately involved in the details of our lives and that he is in control of absolutely everything that happens.  However, that doesn't mean that just because he's in control that our lives are going to be happy, pain free, full of butterflies and rainbows.  Remember Job?  Remember Paul?  Ever read through Psalms?  David sometimes goes from "I hate my life, why am I not dead" to praising God for his majesty - all in one Psalm.  God promises that we will suffer in this life.  So it doesn't really make me not worry out the health of Baby M to tell me that "God is involved in the bumps."  I believe that he was involved in the lives and deaths of both of the girls that we lost.  God being in control does not equal a pain free experience.  It does mean that we have to trust his plan and wisdom when it makes no sense to us.

We've been in this place before where other families were getting information and we were left in the dark.  It wasn't nice the first time it happened, and I'm not enjoying now either.  We went through this time of silence with Baby D - the first baby we lost.  In that situation the silence was indicative of bad-awful-terrible news that literally made me physically sick once we finally received it. I can't help but worry that the same thing is going on now.  Our social worker and the staff at our agency's national office are going to get sick of hearing from us before this is all over.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Waiting for news

It has been a little over 5 weeks since we received any news on Baby M or our adoption case. We are really hoping to hear that our case has been submitted to court in Ethiopia very, very soon. If it is not submitted soon, there is no way we are going to get to travel for court before the courts close in August for the rainy season. The courts close every year in Ethiopia for 6-8 weeks. If we don't get through court before then, it will mean that Baby M will have spent almost her entire first year of life in an orphanage before we get to bring her home. While she is at a very good orphanage, it is still not as good as one-on-one attention from mom and dad. I keep trying to tell myself that all this will work out in God's time, but I've been telling myself that for two years now. I'm ready for "God's time" to be right now! Most of families that we know of who got referrals around the same time we did have found out that their cases have been submitted to court, so I hope ours is soon!

In case you are wondering why it takes so long for a case to get submitted, it is because there are a number of documents that they court needs regarding the child's history. The court just recently started asking for all this information.

We are also hoping to get an update on Baby M. Our agency has been sending updates out to the waiting parents around the first of each month. Well, May is almost half over and we haven't heard anything yet. I do know that May 1st is Labor Day in Ethiopia, so people were probably off of work for a few days. Hopefully we will get some information soon.  We made arrangements to have a family that is leaving for Ethiopia on Tuesday take some photos of Baby M for us.  Their child is at the same orphanage, and we are really thankful that they volunteered to do that for us.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Safe Families

I haven't posted in a while because we have been super busy.  On Good Friday, we had some bad tornadoes strike the St. Louis area.  We were at home, and I saw the sky turn green and went down to our basement to wait it out.  Here is a video from CNN about the damage at our airport:

There was a lot of damage done to several residential areas, although it was not as devastating as what happened in Tuscaloosa.  James and I are part of Safe Families for Children.  This is a voluntary program for families in crisis, and we just signed up to be a "Safe Family" a few weeks ago.  Basically what happens is you get a call from a social worker who has been working with a family who needs help.  Maybe mom is about to have surgery, and she doesn't have anyone to care for his child.  Maybe mom is about to be incarcerated and needs someone to care for her children for an extended period of time.  Maybe the family is on the verge of homelessness and they need to get their kids in a home where they will be fed and cared for.  The child comes to stay with you, the "safe family" until their situation at home improves.  The day after Easter, I got a call from a social worker wanting to know if we could take two young brothers for one week.  Their family had lost their electricity due to the tornadoes and they lost all their food. They were out of food stamps and it was going to take about a week before they could get anymore. We said yes. And then the adventure began.

We had a super busy week making sure no one was biting, hitting, marking on the wall, traumatizing the dogs, eating food out of the garbage, drinking dirty bath water, eating their toothpaste, punching the TV, fighting, jumping on the bed, playing with the neighbor's mailbox, on and on.  Whew.  The walls in stairway need to be repainted thanks to little hot wheels and dinosaurs running all over them.  We gave these boys Cheetos once, and we made them eat them in the kitchen at the table.  Well, I have found Cheetos crumbs all over my house.  By the front door, on the stairway, in the living room.  Resolve will get smashed in Play Dough out of your carpets, by the way.  The mini blinds in the nursery were a casualty of the week.  The little fella, who was two, was quite proud of his handiwork.  He came and got me and showed me what he had done to our blinds.  I need to find something that is toddler-proof to replace them.

Thanks to everyone who provided clothes, toys, diapers, and other items for the boys.  You helped meet a very practical need for us and for their family.

Redeeming moment of the week:  James and I had been praying together with the boys before dinner.  It was a bit of a battle getting them to do it, and it seemed like it was kinda a new concept for them. I was not so good about doing it if James' wasn't home.  Which is bad of me, I know, but I was a little scared to take my eyes off these little firecrackers.  The last day they were with us, in the middle of lunch - the little fella spontaneously bowed his head, closed his eyes, clasped his hands and began to jabber a little prayer for his family.  I heard him name all of his family members.  It was precious.  Then the older one asked me if I would pray with them both, so I did.

Lesson of the week:  Dogs are way cleaner and more obedient than children :-)