Monday, November 27, 2006
There's a Jingle in the Air.
I hope every one had a their fill of Turkey and family, tight pants and indigestion, big laughs and clenched teeth, leftovers, dirty dishes and drives home.
And most importantly a day with family,yours, his, others or just a small gathering of friends.
I hope each of us stopped for just a moment and said Thanks for the things we have or are hoping for and even thanks that we made it through some rough spots.
Now , on to the important stuff.

Once home from my sister's and the dishes are done, pets feed and children and husband asleep, my favorite Thanksgiving tradition begins.
I make some hot tea, good black Russian tea.
I write out my list of those I need to buy gifts.
I begin my journey through the Black Friday Ads. Cutting coupons, noting Early Bird Specials and Doorbusters prices.
I gather coupons I received in the mail.
I then go to my computer and print out a legible and highly organized list.
Color coded and highlighted.
I go to bed a midnight, get up at 3am, leave my house at 3:30am, stop by the BP for a large cup of extra caffeine, extra sugar, extra creamer to go. I arrive at my niece(and great friend)'s house at 4am, she is ready and waiting and similarly armed.
The mall opens at 5am. We are parked and walking in at 4:40.
My adrenaline is pumping, palms sweaty , eyes sharpened for the hunt and body poised for the kill.
Our prey-Sony Handycam, NintendoDS, Disney Store before 10am HotDeals etc.etc.
My husband thinks I am crazy.Every year when I do this he thinks I am crazy
But to me it is more than the good deals. It is female bonding, no kids or husbands allowed.
This First Official Shopping Event is the Christmas Flare shooting off in the sky, giving me the go ahead to start Decking the Halls, singing the carols , decorating the tree and putting up outside lights.
It is the reading of the Christmas Story to my children and setting up the Nativity scene.
Polar Express at the IMAX and writing letters to Santa. The counting down of the Advent calendar and hanging our stockings we bought in Russia.
Oh and do not leave out.
The annual Christmas Photo for our cards.
The huffing and puffing, the knashing of the teeth, the kids crying and pouting and Dad remarking one too many times, "I am sure that one was good" or 'Is this worth it?" or "Why do we go through this every year" to "That's it just use one even if its bad"?
To which Mom(me) repeats, "Stand There, Not There, Hold This, Smile, Don't Smile too much,Be Still, Sit/No Stand ,Just Look at Me, That Didn't work, Not too Bad, Just One More,Just One More, Just One More..Now lets go Outside and get some.....
Thank God for Digital Camera's and the delete Button. I know you are saying why not just take them to a studio and get a Professional one made.
Family Tradition.
It started with my parents and their parents.
Then growing up my Dad did this each year with us or rather, to us. The pictures are sweet, funny and embarrassing now to look at and hold great memories.
So that is why I am now torturing my innocent family with this tradition.
Next Saturday is the day, I'll let you know how it goes.
I love this time of year and now that I am a parent,my children make it ever so much more magical.Seeing it through their eyes each year makes me feel like a starry eyed child again.
Believing in Santa and the miracle of Jesus birth. Melding the two together into a blessed and family event filled with love and laughter. Anticipation and Joy.
Wishes and lists, surprises and presents.
Silent Nights and Sleigh Bells.
Sugar Plums and Sugar Cookies.

I got home at 3pm, tired and sated, gas tank empty and shopping bags filled.

Mission accomplished. List checked off.

Christmas 2006 has officially begun for the Freeman Family of Four

This year Daddy Claus will be happy to hear that Santa is not bringing anything that needs to be assembled or battery operated.

Now if I can just untangle the lights for the tree.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Macy, 5 years old

Daughter, Sister, Grand-daughter, Cousin, Student, Friend


Artist, Writer, Ballerina,Swimmer,Debator,Master Block Builder


Funny, Mysterious, Sensitive, Thoughtful, Independant


Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Tribute to my Daughter
Sunday was the 5 year Anniversary of the adoption of our daughter Macy. I remember every moment of the journey to her and every moment since. For me, she was a dream come true that I did not even know I had wished for. For years (20) my husband and I felt perfectly content not being parents. Then when we adopted our son we felt wonderfully sated as far as our parenting appetite went. We had not once pondered having more than one child and our son was the moon and stars for us and we honestly could not imagine another child competing for our love and attention. We felt blissfully this way for the 14 months after we brought him home.
Then one mid January morning in 2001, I woke up with the smallest flutter of a feeling in my heart. As the morning progressed, I realized that the flutter had pink wings, girly wings , the wings of a daughter. By noon I was eating a sandwich and crunching numbers on how this could work. I had become a stay at home Mom a mere 4 months before so we were still learning how to negotiate on one salary. The more I figured we just could not swing another $25,000 for an adoption, the more I knew I would have to find a way. Some might find it a little odd that because as far as we knew we could have biological children, I never entertained that option. Just like when we became parents the first time around. Russia was our womb.
Around 2pm, Riley and I meandered down to the mailbox. Along with a bill or two and the ever present magazine was an envelope from my former employer. The hospital where I had worked for 17 years. It was a letter informing me that I needed to decide what I wanted to do with my $35,000 403B account I still had with them. Did I want to roll it over into something else or transfer it to another financial institution. I would say that it is about 150 steps from the mailbox to my house. That is how long it took me to decide just where I would roll over that money. Right into a daughter. It still gives me chills to think about how the night before ,I went to bed feeling totally fulfilled and within 24 hours I was committed to bringing home a daughter and had the cash in hand to do it. Talk about a life changing moment. No way it was mere coincidence that all of this came together in one day. I walked into my house and called the financial office at the hospital. They told me that yes, I could take the money out in cash with a penalty.
Penalty, Smenalty. My $35,000-$5000 in taxes and penalty left me $30,000 cash. Cash this time for an adoption. Cash. Cash that my employer had invested 100% in. Sorta like Found money. Now mind you this was not the IRA I had invesested personally. I had others.
I can still hear that choir singing, those angels trumpeting.
Have I mentioned that my husband was at work totally unaware at all of the earth moving that was going on at home. I had virtually made him a father again and he had no clue. We had never, not once ever talked about adopting again.
By the time he got home I had mentally turned our guest room into our little girl's room, figured out the logistics of who would care for our 2 year old so while we were gone and had started trying out girl names.
Let me say now that my Husband is one amazing guy. Incredible Father.
He walked in kissed us both Hello.
I said I wanted to go back to Russia and adopt a baby girl and I wanted to use the money from my employer IRA to fund it.
He paused. Asked was I serious. I was.
He turned around, picked up the phone and called our agency.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Our daughter was born that same week, thousands of miles across the ocean in Shahkty Russia.
On 9/11/2001 we got the call to go meet her.
On Nov. 19, 2001 She became Macy Leanna Freeman
5 years and 2 days ago.
To a mother, a daughter is unique gift. Like all mothers, I love my children passionately and equally.
But she and I have a bond that goes much farther than any genetics could build, it is hormonal.
She is a mini-Me.
We both love fashion, love to read, LOVE to talk and Really LOVE to have an opinion on everything and don't mind tellin ya whether you want to hear it or not.
Friday night is girl night in her bed that involves chick flicks or DR.90210 telethons, buttery popcorn, Real Cokes and lots of giggles and heart to heart talks. We can spend forever deciding on just the right toenail polish or hair ornament or the best flip flop for the outfit. You can find us side by side on the swing, me writing in my journal , her in her diary.
She shares my passion for swimming, for the jaccuzi tub and Sour Gummy Worms.
She will compliment me on my jewelry, my shoes and my house cleaning skills.
She will also tell me when I need to spiff up my wardrobe, my hair or my bedroom.
We can have the deepest converstions about life and death,
souls and heaven ,
tummy babies and heart babies
and McDonald's versus Chick-Fil-E
My Son Lights up my life
My Daughter adds the Technicolor.
I can literally bring myself to tears when I imagine how close we came to not being the parents of two children. How easy it would have been that January morning to have attributed my yearning for a daughter to hormones, or winter blues or baby envy. If my husband, in his right mind, would have discouraged me , I probably would have let the flutterings die away.
Maybe it was the look in my eye or the yearnng in my voice.
Maybe he also heard that day , calling from afar, Daddy's Little Girl. A sister for his son.
A daughter for his wife. A mother for a daughter.
He had 2 sisters. He knew how close their relationship was with his mother.
He knew how close I was to mine.
He had seen how I had shared my sister's bond with my niece.
Talk about high expectations.
My daughter has surpassed all of them.
All day yesterday I watched her and thanked any and everything I could for the blessing of being her mother.
5 years has gone by in the blink of an eye.
When she spontaneously tells me how much she loves me, that I am the Greatest and Bestest Mom or that she is having the best day of her Life (she seems to have a lot of these) or gives me the biggest Hug and a hundred kisses,I think how could I have missed out on this.
I think of her birth mother and wonder how she did.
She couldn't have know how amazing and wonderful this daughter would become.
Or maybe she did know. And that is the greatest gift of all.
My daughter.
It still sends a chill down my spine and I feel those butterflies all over again.
Not just a fluttering. But a strong loud beating of my heart for this blond haired blue eyed child that was sent straight from heaven into my life.
I can not fathom what the next 5 years will bring.
A son and a daughter.
The Moon and the Stars and Heaven and Earth.
Happy Anniversary Macy, we've come along way Baby.

Monday, November 13, 2006
Yes, life has recently gotten in the way of my blog. 2 school field trips and my Mom was here visiting for 2 weeks while my step Dad was in Hawaii on an all guys golf extravaganza. It was so great to have my Mom here and so touched my heart watching her with my children. I think sometimes in our quest to become parents we tend to forget that in the process we are also making grandparents and how that is also a wondrous thing to behold. I feel so lucky that my children have 4 grandparents and that they are close to all of them. My parents and my husband's parents were so supportive, encouraging and excited about each of our adoptions and that certainly has overflowed into their relationship with them. From the first day we brought our children home, I never underestimated the value, meaning and importance of their bonding with our families. Part of my "It takes a village" philosophy.
In the past 7 years that I have been a mother, I could not have made it through without these people in my life lending a helping hand, an extra set of arms and advice, both taken and ignored. My niece, Maegan, who is now 19 and away at college was one person who has always been at the top of the heap in love, attention and encouragement for my children and myself. She was only 11 when we started our first adoption. I could not have imagined back then that such a young girl would become key in our parenting journey. She is probably (aside from ourselves) the best role model and positive influence my children have had, and I hope that I have often and profusely told her this.
All this brings me to my feelings about this time of year.
Before my children arrived at my hearth, I always loved the holidays. Maybe that is because my parents also loved the holidays and made a big production of them. We celebrated the same when I was 23 as when I was 3. Since we never lived near any of our relatives, we would faithfully make the 6 or 8 hour journey south to our grandparents house and celebrate the holiday with a houseful of cousins, Aunts and Uncles and a roomful of sleeping pallets on the living room floor at night. Bedtime was always preceeded by a contentious discussion about who would have to sleep on the end, the middle being the coveted spot. The two days of cooking for Thanksgiving and the traditions of Christmas Eve and waking to Santa Claus' bounty. For the 17 years I was married but not yet a parent, I thought I was still getting the most out of the season. I decorated for Halloween, Turkey Day and to the 9th degree for Christmas. Coordinating and handmade wrapping paper and delicate ornaments on our freshly cut tree. Orchestral and acoustical Christmas carols playing the background,mistletoe and Poinsetta's hanging and arranged on every surface. Nightly drives to look at Christmas lights after a festive and romantic dinner out.
We celebrate the same now.
Well sorta.
Halloween decor still abounds the month of October.
We still cook for two days for Thanksgiving.
I still have a wrapping paper theme, but it tends to be Snowmen, or Santa or Disney.
No tree ornaments will break no matter how many times it gets dropped or thrown, or bitten.
Our Christmas music is now "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and 300 playings of Wayne Newton's "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" by our dancing Snowman.
I won't mention the carol singing Bass or the clock that plays a Christmas tune on the hour.
My mistletoe is silk and my poinsetta's are out of reach and(gasp) pink, since now my two little elves get a say so in the decorating choices.
We still have our annual night of driving around looking at Christmas nights. But now the meal is at Mickey D's or if I'm lucky TGIFridays. And usually about 30 minutes into the drive, an announcement is proclaimed from the back seat that "This is SOOOO Boringgggg!"
My closet under the stairs is already bursting with Santa's booty and I am itching to get my beautiful Martha Stewart artificial tree out of the attic. It will be glowing , not with the all white or all red lighting theme of back in the day. It is now merrily a celebration of every color and type of light that Target sells, because well, the old way was deemed boring.
As we move into this holiday season, I am once again feeling the blessings of my children. Once again Thanking God that I dreamed and held fast not once, but twice through the long and crooked road of Russian adoption. My children just make everything sweeter and give me reason to indulge my inner child. To relive my wonderful childhood memories. To carry on traditions and make new ones of our own.
I heard this morning on the news that "Christmas" was back.
The word, not the Holiday.
Funny, I missed the memo that it had ever left.