Thursday, August 28, 2008

Faith Crossed Rainbow Bridge Yesterday


Wes and I feel for his parents who lost their sweet pup, Faith, yesterday. We know that she is running across Rainbow Bridge on fresh legs with the energy and enthusiasm of a young pup. Faith, a beautiful boston terrier, was Mom and Dad Kite's pride and joy. We loved her dearly and will miss the sweet girl, toots and all! So long, sweet Faith. We will see you when we get there.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lily Update



Please keep Lily in your prayers today as she will spend the day at the vet to receive chemo treatment #2. Poor Lily. So far, the chemo seems to have made her glands go way down. However, she is more lethargic than before and has to drink a lot of water, which means she has to potty a lot. Otherwise, she is still her usual neurotic, playful self. We sure do love this girl!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Trip to UPS...

I think I have officially annoyed the ladies that take care of the paper work at our out of state agency. I have called them daily with a list of questions... and they kindly answer. Today we took the second packet to UPS to be overnighted. This one contained a 16 page history, revised autobios, health ins. forms, financial statements, more letters of recommendation, you name, it is in there. We are on a roll! I just hope they can process everything as quickly as we got it to them. Whew! I'll keep you all posted, but the next big hurdle is just getting everything approved for the our of state agency before we can even be shown to potential birth moms.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Paper Pregnancy...Again.

I remember what a relief it was when we finally got all of our paperwork in to our local agency back in January and then it took until April to finalize our home study. We exhaled a little and settled in for the wait until the paper work would begin again with placement. Since we have not had a referral yet and decided to pursue another agency, we are once again paper pregnant. While it is time consuming and meticulous, I LOVE having something adoption related to do. It makes me feel like I have a little part to play in this whole adoption thing. Yesterday we received our first application in the mail, we quickly filled it out along with about 10-15 other pages and I overnighted it today along with originals of our birth certs, marriage cert, copies of our drivers license soc. sec. card, and documentation of our dogs rabies vaccinations. I do feel accomplished! We are on top of things. The lovely people at our out-of-state agency said that we could be presented to the committee before we finish our CPR and infant care classes that we will attend the first week of Sept. I hope this gets things moving. I know God is sending us on a new path to this baby, I just hope and pray that is a short cut to our destination.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Hope

Wes and I have grown quite weary on our adoption journey as we approach the 9 month marker for waiting. When we first started the process, I was excited, prepared for the long haul, and okay to wait a while. My, my...how things change. My mom has always said that once I want something done or make up my mind, I want it done yesterday. Well, I think mom was/is right. Wes and I are SO over the waiting. Not knowing a time table is incredibly frustrating...how to plan, what to buy, what to say when inquiring minds ask how the adoption is coming along. Adoptive moms and dads, I know you relate so well to this.
August once held a lot of promise for us. Our agency said they had three potential birth moms that would review our profile. After many long, anxious August days, we finally got an email stating that all of those families are not willing to consider Caucasian parents for their children. We were devastated. So much for August. The agency said that there are more birth moms due in October and November that they will show our profile to IF they are open Caucasian parents. Sigh. More waiting. And then, when we of seemingly little faith felt like this whole thing may NEVER happen, God sent us a very clear message... HAVE HOPE!
Wes and I recalled that our agency, from the beginning, had mentioned that several of their waiting families work with out-of-state agencies to increase their chances for placements. We then spent HOURS on the Internet checking out other websites and found an agency that looked pretty good to us. I called them and talked with a director for awhile and really liked what she had to say. She said she would mail us their application. Later that nite, I emailed a couple that we met at our first pre-adoption group to see how their adoption was coming along. When they emailed back, they informed us that they just met their new daughter and that she was placed thru the very same out-of-state agency that we were considering. Because Wes and I are people of faith, we do believe that God does things and places people in our lives to direct us on the road we are supposed to travel. And, although pursuing adoption through this out-of-state agency will ultimately present a whole other list of challenges (forwarding our home study, coming up with a lot more money, getting new paperwork and finger prints), it has led to a brand new sense of peace. This was supposed to happen. This is the road we are supposed to take. Sometimes we are just too busy to listen that God has to scream at us. This was one of those moments. Wow. New hope has arrived.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Our Lily-loo IS Worth It!





As readers may have noticed in previous emails, our dear little pup Lily was diagnosed with Lymphoma two weeks ago. Lily is only 5 years old (Wes and I got her just a month after we were married). She had a surgery last week to remove two lymph nodes that were sent off for biopsy. We received the results today. The bad news is that with no treatment our Lily-loo (as we call her) will be dead in less than three months. My heart and hands can hardly write those words. Also, even with treatment, lymphoma never really goes away, but it can go into remission for up to 3 years (on the high end). The good news is that Lily has B-cell lymphoma which usually responds well to treatment and will often go into remission. But more bad news, Lily's treatment will cost between $3-4,000 dollars. Given that we are currently going through the adoption process, we don't just have this money lying around. So we will be really scrimping and saving money...no more going out eat (I guess we might be eating a lot of PBJ as we are not really cookers...). When I called and shared this info with Wes, he said to me, "Lily-loo is worth it. We owe it to her." And while my heart does wonder many things, "Is this going to cause her more pain? What if she does not go in to remission? Should we be saving that money for the adoption? Should I be using that money to feed hungry people around the world?," It also knows that I do owe it to my best running partner in the whole world. Who else runs with me without complaining? Who has trusted me to provide for her needs? I cannot fail this faithful friend. While some may judge or condemn our decision to pursue chemo treatment, I will still be able to look at Lily each morning and know that I tried. I did what I thought was best for our middle "child." She is not just a dog, she is a part of our family. Lily will begin chemo a week from today and go in each Thursday for treatment. Please pray that it works.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scroll Down...

I just posted a new Italy post (Day 7).

Monday, August 11, 2008

What's Happening?

Well, I have tried to blog about each day of our trip in Europe, but I still have a few to go. I promise I will get around to it. In the mean time, I have neglected to keep my blog up-to-date with the latest happenings. So here it is...


1. Adoption: Nothing new. Just waiting. Please pray.

2. Wes: Busy, Busy, Busy with 3-a-day practices for football. Gets home around 11 each nite. And next week he starts his MBA classes again. A man with a lot on his plate!

3. Dogs: Lily has lymphoma. Will begin chemo soon. Vet bills thru the roof...again!

4. Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue: Pax was adopted by our friend Rodrigo! Yea! They are both very happy (minus Pax' shoulder boo boo). We are not getting another foster dog until we find out how Lily reacts to the chemo. We don't want to stress her. In the mean time, Diana is busy conducting home visits in the Valley.

5. Horses: Okay for the moment.

6. Diana: Started cross country practice and not ready to go back to school. Trying to forget about it really and wishing I could wiggle my nose and go back to Italy (like Samantha did on Bewitched).


I think that is most of the latest ;)



Rodrigo and Pax on gotcha day!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Monte San Primo (Italy Trip Day 7)

Day 7 (7/3/08)- This day was hazy but remarkably cooler than the rest, making it quite nice for hiking. Aside from the haze, the views from San Primo (5,300' ridge) were fantastic. We could see Bellagio, which sits right at the meeting point of both branches of Lake Como. We did have a few exciting moments on this trip, one of which was sighting a sheep in the distance (you can see him in the pic below, he is the little white dot on the rock and the buildings in the distance are in the town of Bellagio), witnessing a snake "fly" off a rock (some say it was a viper, but I am not sure), barely escaping a vicious storm that unleashed massive hail and lightening bolts, and most wonderful and memorable for me...picking strawberries!


Okay, so I know that I have seen hundreds of sheep in my life (as the daughter of a sheep farmer), but it was still fun to see one living out in the middle of nowhere. I think this was a domestic sheep. I wonder if the Italian farmers use some type of "sheep finder" microchip? Otherwise, this sheep has permanently escaped his lamb chop fate on the farm.
This pic of Wes and me was taken in front of a gorgeous view of what I think are the Apennine mountains... but I may be turned around.

THE best strawberries I have ever had in my whole life. Those of you who have known me since childhood know that I have always enjoyed fresh strawberries. Many people heed the advice of their mothers not to eat wild berries, but not this girl! Chiara and I found the pot of gold for strawberry lovers. I enjoyed tiny, red bursts of yumscrumptious with every berry I picked. Chiara and I became so engrossed in our strawberry picking that we failed to notice that the rest of the crew moved on without us. They were all a little less hesitant to eat wild things. We savored a few last berries and hurried along to catch them.

Cow Bella! (My feeble attempt at humor...) Anyway, we hiked alongside many moos on Day 7. As we sauntered along, I remembered the many years that I would ride in the ring beside the cow pastures and narrate to them, "Hey moos, watch D trot. Hey moos, watch D jump." They were a perfect audience. This time the moos watched D hike. I don't think they were too impressed, but at least they did not boo me, the best they could do was moo at me :).
We traveled back down from Monte San Primo listening to the rumbles in the distance creep closer and closer and closer... and just when I thought we were about to get really wet, a little mountain restaurant appeared out of nowhere (of course our guide knew it was there, but I did not realize it was so close). While we dined on DELICIOUS traditional dishes native to the region (not neccesarily nutritious as mountain meals are quite hearty and creamy), all hail broke loose outside. The storm had severe winds and rain and hail. Thankfully, we were inside just in time.
After lunch, our driver, Guiliano, picked us up and took us to his shop. Guiliano is a woodworker. He, his father, and his grandfather have been the sole makers of miniature Lucia boats that are sold all around Lake Como. Lake Como was the setting of Alessandro Manzoni's book The Betrothed. These traditional boats are called Lucias after one of the book's main characters. Guiliano kindly gave each of us our own signed Lucia after he showed us how he makes them. Below is a picture of a life-size Lucia. After our detour to his workshop, he dropped us off in Bellagio to spend some time walking around town. Wes and I purchased several mini-Lucias for my younger cousins. We saw them all over town at the touristy shops. It was really cool to think that I met the man who made ALL of them.
A few of the boutique shop keepers were not so welcoming to Wes and me as we meandered around Bellagio in our stinky hiking clothes. Oh well. We did peek into a few cute little cafes where we overheard the bartenders chatting about "George" being in town for the week. George Clooney, that is. Evidently, Bellagio is great for star spotting, as many U.S. stars have villas nearby the town of Bellagio. Once we were done with our little shopping spree, we took the ferry back to Varenna , the little town where we were staying just a little further down the Lake.
Wes and I spent the evening lakeside taking in the sites before calling it a day.







Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Isole Borromeo (Italy Trip Day 6)

Day 6 (Wednesday 7/2/08)- Today was a rest from the hiking. We enjoyed a short boat on Lake Maggiore to Isola Madre. The history of the beautiful Borromeo islands and Lake Maggiore is not a simple one and is still contestable today. Essentially, the Borromeo family acquired much of the land around Lake Maggiore, along with the islands we visited, over the course of hundreds of years. The powerful merchant family did a variety of favorites for powerful Milanese families, such as the Sforzas, until they became equally powerful themselves. The symbol in the picture below is the Borromeo family symbol. It reads "humility" with a crown on top along with the three intertwined circles. Isola Madre is home to the current Borromeo palace. The family still spends much of their summers on the island. We were treated to a private tour of the lower level of the palace, and even more magnificent, to a tour of the "basement" which had pebble mosaic floors and shells mosaics lining the walls. It was designed to make one feel as if they were under water. Amazing. Unfortunately, we were not permitted to take pictures inside the palace. I did purchase a few postcards of some of the rooms. They were exquisite to say the very least. The Italian gardens on Isola Madre were simply out of this world.


The palace gardens are tiered, this a picture of ONE level.

We were greeted by this beautiful white peacock as we entered the gardens. Although I have seen and heard peacocks before, I still cannot get used to their very unique calls. I really sounds like they are screaming "Help, Help."
What a wonderful place. It was easy for me to listen to God's command to "Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)."
The view above is the "bow" of Isola Madre (the island palace was designed like a ship). It is a humble entrance to the jewel of a palace that lies behind those doors.
We left Isola Madre and headed to Isola Bella, another Island of the Borromeo family. The gardens here were equally as wonderful, but the plants were all exotic and not native to Italy. The garden design was more of a English Garden or park, instead of traditional Italian garden. We also toured the smaller Borromeo home on the island. Lastly, we left Isola Bella for Isola dei Pescatori (Fisherman's Island). On this island we enjoyed a light lunch at a cafe before catching yet another boat back to Stresa. Once in Stresa, we loaded the bus and took of for our two hour trip to Varenna, a small town on Lake Como. The picture below speaks volumes about the quality of scenery that surrounded us as we traveled to Varenna. (Not to mention that this town was also the location of George Clooney's villa.) Once in Varenna we lingered (3+ hours) over another amazing Italian dinner before turning in for the evening.




Monday, August 4, 2008

STOP THE KILLING!

It is after midnight so this post is not well written or "pretty" but I am angry folks and I need to vent. Hopefully, my venting will enrage others enough that they, too, will want to help these poor, needy, defenseless animals.

What it comes down to is that a shelter in Gaston County, NC has taken in over 4,400 animals this year. Of those, only 217 , or 5%, were adopted. Over 3000 were euthanized. The other 700, including our sweet, sweet foster dog Guthrie, were taken by other rescues. I am proud to say that Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue tries to help as many of the Boxers that come through as we can. Not only is this astronomic kill rate unacceptable, but they utilize inhumane methods of euthanization. THEY GAS THEIR ANIMALS. SOMETIMES IT TAKES UP TO 30 MINUTES FOR THE ANIMALS TO DIE. MANY BEGIN TO SUFFER NEUROLOGICAL EFFECTS AND WIND UP SPENDING THEIR LAST FEW MINUTES INVOLVED IN DOG FIGHTS BECAUSE THEIR BRAINS ARE NO LONGER FUNCTIONING CLEARLY.

I just can't even begin to understand how people can do this. Maybe they aren't human. Or maybe they were taught that animals are only animals and do not feel pain. But they do. I cannot be silent anymore. I have saved one dog from this hell on earth, and I will save more. Please join me! Please be a voice for these dogs that do not have one. At the very least, please spay or neuter your own pet or adopt your next pet from a rescue or a local shelter instead of purchasing your dog from a breeder.

Check out the links below about this hideous crime that occurs weekly in Gaston County, NC.

http://news14.com/content/top_stories/597999/animal-gassing-seminar-spurs-protest/Default.aspx

http://news14.com/Video/video_pop.aspx?vids=66913&sid=1&rid=94 (video from the local news station about protesters)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Val Grande National Park (Italy Trip Day 5)

Day 5 (Tuesday 7/1/08)- This hike was my favorite! The greenery was beautiful and the climb was gentle, easy, and longer than the others. Around each turn, there was another beautiful view awaiting us. Val Grande National Park is the largest wilderness territory in Italy and is relatively young. It was established to help heal Italy's WWII scars. As nature reclaims her rightful territory, the painful memories are beginning to wane. We hiked along a ridge that is the Southern boundary of Val Grand National Park. As we looked into the wilderness below, I once again was reminded of God's amazing creation.



We looked out over this sea of rhododendrons, sometimes called "Rose of the Alps." They were so many of them!
We reached a high point along the ridge, Pian Cavallone (5,210'), and then hiked a few more feet to our lunch destination.
We dined next to the ruins of a WWII meeting place of members of the Italian resistance from the Piemonte/Lombardy region of Italy. 400 members fled into what is today Val Grande Wilderness as they were chased by the Germans. The Germans bombed this meeting location. Eventually, the German army caught and killed 300 members of the resistance, leaving just 100 alive. Our guide, Anna, was actually invited to be a part of a small group that hiked through the wilderness along the same "trails" (I use that term very loosely) that the Italian resistance used to escape into Switzerland. As we hiked, we enjoyed hearing the tails of the treachery she faced along the way and she kindly reminded us that she was not trying to flee for her life.

Today's lunch was equally as tasty as the previous days treats. Wes and I were able to preserve a few pieces of ice from the hotel breakfast (Italian's do not care for ice...according to Chiara, ice takes away from the taste of the drink). Our fellow hikers looked at us with envy as we down our few precious sips of ICE COLD WATER at the end of our lunch break. I cannot tell you how much I missed really cold drinks after being in Italy for 11 days!

We ended up taking a different route for our descent than originally planned. Our driver could not reach our intended destination due to fallen rocks. However, this route was delightful! I don't know exactly what I missed and frankly, don't care. I thought we had a beautiful hike down the ridge that meandered through large boulders with the most beautiful flowers peaking out of every crevice. It did make the hike a little warm, as we were directly in the sun. I donned a long sleeve shirt to protect my skin. The others could not believe I was wearing long sleeves on such a hot day. The last mile or two of the hike wound through old farm houses with a few people still living there.




Once again, we piled into our van and headed to Stresa, where we would stay for the evening. When we opened the doors, to our hotel room, this is what we saw...


Can we say AWESOME! Wes and I exchanged our hot, smelly hiking clothes for our swim suits and immediately went to the pool for a little swim. Another wonderful day in Italy!