Thursday, April 27, 2006

Return of the Update/Blog (Originally written 1/14/2006)

At the request of several of you and because it is a new year and I resolved to try to write more again, I am planning to re-establish the Updates (formerly known as the Ukraine Updates, then the Sofia Updates). I have not named the new blog yet, but if you want to catch up on the previous postings (from about June 2004 through May 2005), you can go to I have to come up with a better name for it as well. If you did not receive them before but are getting this, it is because I thought you might enjoy them.

I will, however, let you know the new blog address in a week or so, so you can check that if the spirit moves you****

I will likely be setting up a completely new address for this. As most of you know, the past year (past ten months, really) have had many changes. I stopped writing the blog entries in March, just as things at the “Kent-Lamkin” household began to unravel.

I moved to Durham with Sofie in June of 2004, using the motto “Leap and the net will appear” as a mantra. I had huge hopes and dreams for bringing us together as a family. We got a new house, painted the walls in gorgeous rich colors, re-did the kitchen, got Sofie in a great preschool, and I went on the longest job search of my lifetime. Less than a year after moving to the Triangle, it was very clear that although I was adjusting to the ‘burbs as I call them (all of Durham feels like a big suburb to me, I actually live less than ten minutes from downtown, such as it is), and even learning how to manage the bugs, the heat and the oppressive humidity, the relationship was never going to be what I had hoped. Two very, very different people. We tried, I guess. Years from now, no doubt, I will have more perspective. Right now, I still have many regrets and sadness about the whole thing.

And so the decision was made officially to split up for good sometime in April. Those of you who traveled this path with me in the 2002 split know that one was done with much drama, and that one was exactly the same time that I got the referral for Sofia’s adoption. I made the decision in 2002 to move ahead and go Ukraine to get my daughter. I had waited the 18 months all the paperwork took, not to mention I have never regretted that, even on the most sleepless nights/weeks. My family, friends and community rallied around and I felt supported by the village. The net did appear then, and I landed, albeit not very gracefully, in the net on more than one occasion.

This time, I find myself in a different place. I have a house, a job, a daughter (now nearly 5 and a half years old, where did the time go?) in kindergarten and not a whole lot of friends, family or community around me to bolster my spirits, support me on the bad days and generally be there. I have, as many of you know, turned to lots of you out there in CA for support. And I have been nourished by you.

So now, I am in a place of consideration. Do I want to stay or leave? If I go, where exactly am I going to? Back to California does not mean back to the life or the home I had there once. So much has changed. To all of you who said “don’t sell your house” (which I did, anyway), I want to say “you were so right”. But I am trying to figure out if I can go back to my community and pick up my life there, knowing it will be a different path. Maybe I won’t be able to get a house again, which is a harsh reality. I know the Bay area is a very expensive place to live, so that is a consideration too. But CA is calling me, it still feels like home. And Sofie (post our holiday vacation), cried the other day about how she missed her friends. And that CA is better because the zoo there (Oakland Zoo) has more rides.

A great part of the reason for the move was Sofie’s wellbeing. It is not easy being a single parent as many of you can attest, and it was made more challenging there due to heavy workload and a daughter with some special needs. I thought she would benefit from having two adults and she has. We are different people, Jamie and I and we parent differently, but Sofie being Sofie, has figured all that out. The move to the Triangle in that regard has been a blessing. Sofie has blossomed here, she has gotten lots of services (occupational therapy for one) that have helped her come into her own. She is still the lively child she was, but her behaviors have matured. She is an active kindergartener now, in a great Montessori public (yes, public) school, one block from our house. The IEP team from the Durham Public Schools is awesome and are very focused on helping her achieve. She is learning phonics and also sight reading and gets so delighted when she sees a word that is one of her sight words. The kindergarten list is about 20 short words, like the, and, see, to, etc. I have added Costco, Target and Sears to that list. We read together everyday, and I am taking such pleasure in her learning. She also seems to really like math (the Montessori math methods might have even gotten me to like it), and is so proud of herself when she achieves something in math. She did the hundreds board the other day, and could not wait to tell me. I fake the enthusiasm for the math stuff a bit, but I am secretly excited that she shows aptitude here. She is also more able to express herself, verbally and emotionally. And she has a great memory. She will remember a “promise” I made to her in passing three weeks ago and remind me of it at the most inopportune moments!

I have attached some recent photos, the other girl in the one of two kids is Naomi from San Leandro CA. The girls had a nice play date in CA and they have been having these play dates since Sofie was 21 months old and Naomi was a year old. The grew up together, in many ways. As did their moms. We take photos of them together annually, we have for three years and we hope to continue until they are in college. Or tell us to get lost. Which will probably be a lot sooner than college.

So, do let me know if you want to keep getting these little updates. I send my best to all of you for the new year. And if you should happen to call us here in NC, Sofie might just answer the phone with “Hello, this is Sofie, who is this please?” or the alternative “what do you want?”. We are working on it.

“Leap, and the net will appear”

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