Monday, October 24, 2011

An Interesting Night

Here's the rundown of my evening:
  • Got home from work.
  • Played Lego Indiana Jones with my youngest son.
  • Had dinner with the family.
  • Watched a Charlie Brown cartoon with the kids (It's Magic, Charlie Brown).
  • Skipped soccer practice for my daughter because she's not feeling well.
  • Read Harry Potter to all 3 kids, who were paying rapt attention.
  • Put the kids to bed.
  • Couldn't find the cat, so I spent the evening walking the neighborhood calling for her like an idiot, posting signs all over the place, only to have her show herself right when I walk through the door in exhaustion.  Then I had to go out again and take down all the signs.  Glad we found her, but ...  Stupid cat.
  • Now my wife is downstairs blow-drying the bread she made tonight.  (Don't ask.)
Yeah, weird night.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Geobraking

I was reading an article on some of the progress made when studying the samples from the Genesis spacecraft. One sentence made me snort (yes, actually snort):

On September 8, 2004, the spacecraft's sample-return capsule came to rest in the Utah desert after executing what might euphemistically be described as a geobraking maneuver when the parachute failed to deploy.

I'm well-acquainted with aerobraking, having helped with the aerobraking operations for both the Odyssey and MRO spacecraft, and as I was actually in Utah watching the Genesis return (see here) when it performed this so-called geobraking maneuver, this new word just made me laugh.

Gotta love it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Adopting Another Child

My wife and I have been trying to have another child for about 5 years, with no success.  We were able to conceive a few years ago, but that ended in a miscarriage. Since then, things haven't gone well for us in that regards.  My wife's hypoglycemia has continued to monkey with her biology and though she remains quite healthy, her reproductive system appears to no longer be functional.

So, we've elected to adopt.  This isn't a new thing for us ... we've actually been contemplating and researching this for several years.  My wife's brother adopted a baby boy twelve years ago through LDS Family Services when they believed that they couldn't have any children after their first son was born.  (And there they now are with two more biological children, for a total of four!  Go figure.)  Having watched their lengthy and sometimes painful experience, we have no illusions about how easy this whole process will be.

Even so, we feel that it is something we should do.  Our family of three children, which is wonderful and which we greatly appreciate and love, just doesn't seem ... complete.  There's no way to really describe it and -- for those who aren't in tune with their spiritual sides this won't make any sense -- we have felt for a long time that our family should have at least one more child.  We're open to two more children, if that's how the adoption process works out, but we'll be happy with just one more.

Our children are delighted at the prospect.  Our daughter, in particular, is keen on having a little girl join our family, but she knows that the sex of the baby is completely outside of our control.  Yesterday I caught her (the mighty 10 year old that she is) cuddling a baby doll in her arms and carrying it gently up the stairs.  I said nothing, but she bashfully smiled under my bemused regard and went on her way.

There are many options for adopting a child.  The one that seems to be the "easiest" is to go with an international adoption.  This approach, however, is prohibitively expensive for us.

A second option is to go through Los Angeles county's adoption services.  This approach, however, is coupled with the courts system, which implies that any baby that we might get would likely come from an abusive or drug-exposed home.  In addition, the county is more interested in keeping families together than in placing adoptive children.  To make matters worse, the training and "certification" programs are designed around first-time parents and are very lengthy and intrusive.  We already have a family that needs my wife and I here in the home, not spending many weekends off at some ineffectual training course.  Neither are we interested in a "special needs" child (fault us in this regards, if you must).  The uncertainties in the court process, however, was the killer for us -- we don't want to have a baby in our home for up to two years, only to have it yanked as some judge decides to return it to the birth mother.

A third option is to use LDS Family Services, as my wife's brother did over a decade ago.  We began looking into this and were refused help due to a recent policy change that declines to provide services to couples that have more than two children.  So much for that.  However, they did say that they will help us with the legal stuff if we were to find our own adoptive mother.

(An aside: The policy actually reads that they won't provide services to couples who have more than two biological children.  We grumbled at the fact that we noted prospective adoptive couples on their website who have mixed biological and adopted children who number more than two, and it was clarified for us that the policy is for all children, biological or adoptive, and that those couples on the website who have more than two are "grandfathered" in -- implying that they've been waiting for a long time to adopt another child.)

Which brings us to option four, which is to find our own adoptive mother.  This is the path that we've elected to take.  It has only a small chance of success, but we figure that given everything else, it's the best option for our little family.  To that end, we've begun reaching out to everybody we know.  Some years ago, I joined Facebook as an experiment to see how many people I could friend from my past ... I was stunned by the magnitude of my results, but now find that my connection to all those people is a great and wonderful thing.  We'll see if it works out.

The crazy and ironic thing about this whole adoption thing, which is intended to be a virtuous and noble (albeit somewhat selfish) endeavor, is that we seek to take advantage of somebody's misfortune.  We're looking for a young woman (though we'll take a not-so-young woman, too!) who finds herself pregnant without desiring to be so (though we'll take a woman who simply likes to be pregnant, too!).

Despite the circumstances of this woman's life, we hope that this woman will respect and love her unborn child enough to care properly for herself so that when the baby is born, it will be healthy and strong, even though this birth mother would not be the one to benefit from the effort it takes to do so.

We equally hope that this mother might see within my family a place where her child can be placed with confidence that it will be cherished and appreciated, loved and adored.  We also recognize, however, that emotional attachment is not everything, and we would hope that this mother would also recognize that my home is one that is safe and secure, where I am able to provide the resources to rear her child with all the appropriate educational, medical, financial, and social opportunities that can enable a happy childhood and a stable environment in which to grow into a responsible adult.

It's a lot to ask. We ask for a mother to simply give her child to us.  In return, we promise to take care of her baby to the best of our abilities and with all our resources as if the baby was one of our own.  This promise, this covenant, is one we take with the utmost of seriousness, yet we are so powerless to bring it to fruition.

So we wait.  And we talk to people.  And we post blog entries like this one, and Facebook statii, and make phone calls, and talk to people at work and at church and in the supermarket and on the street with the neighborhood kids and, well, you get the picture.  We've set up a blog dedicated specifically to a prospective birth mother, that she may get to know our family a little and see a little about what we're about.  Check it out: http://royandangel.blogspot.com.  We've even set up an email where contact can be made specifically on this topic: royandangel@yahoo.com.

So, please, if you know of somebody who might be in a position to let their child be adopted, please pass a note on to her.  We would be most appreciative.  Until then, the wait continues ...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Life Changes

I haven't written in this space for a while because, well, I've been busy. It's clear that sometimes actually living life prevents you from documenting it. That said, this post is a quick run-down on what I've been doing, for all those who have been holding their breath:
  • I went to Utah to visit with the in-laws for my wife's parent's 50th wedding anniversary. If you recall, we went to see my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary earlier in the year. To be blessed with those examples of marital fidelity from not one, but both sides of the family is a real treat, and I wish I could express to everybody what an amazing accomplishment I find that to be. In today's world where everything seems temporary, it's wonderful to see that some people still know what it means to make a promise, and keep it, forever.
  • I went to Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, again -- this time for a peer review that served as a pre-meeting for a design review that has now been moved to the new year. A "pre-review" is a "pre-meeting". Yeah, we laugh at Dilbert where I work, but it is painfully reflective of the truth sometimes.
  • I went to ESA's Spacecraft Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, again - this time for a one-day "technical interchange meeting" on lots of topics we needed to address. I went with only one other fellow, so it was a whirlwind trip, but it was well-worth it. We got a lot done.
  • We took a vacation and went to the beach during one our kid's fall break. We went up to El Capitan State Beach and camped out. We hauled the beach gear and the bicycles and the kayak, somehow managing to cram it all into and on our van; and ended up only using the first two. Even so, we had a wonderful time, even though the freight train that blew its horn and seemed to come through our tent at 2 am still makes me a little twitchy when I think about it.
  • We've installed the latest version of the software for which I'm the task lead at work, which was quite a feat given that I've been out of town the bulk of the last month.
Some other changes in the family:
  • Our oldest son is in the process of getting braces.
  • My two younger children are participating in soccer, and between practices three times a week and games on Saturday, we're BUSY.
  • My wife and I have decided we'd like to adopt another child. I'll post more on this later, but see here for the relevant blog.
  • I conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on my oldest son and ordained him to the office of a deacon. He's very excited about being with the bigger boys, and he is maturing into quite the young man (in fits and starts).
So, life is busy, but good. When people ask "what's new" in our lives, I don't have anything really to say, as life just keeps moving onward. This is a great blessing, and I only wish that I could somehow bottle how good life is right now and keep it affixed in my slippery memory.

Click here to see the full blog.


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