"Every child deserves a home." --Harry Holt

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cupcakes and Meatballs! Part 4

With the 30 day clock ticking, we just tried to enjoy checking out Philly a little. Cheesestakes were had, and we did go downtown to see a few sights. Mainly, our days were filled with transitioning Cupcake to big-sisterhood, trying to figure out why Meatball wouldn't sleep, and just finding things to do. We (stupidly) did not have a double stroller or a stroller at all that would accommodate a newborn, so when we went out it was either carry Meatball in her infant carseat or put her in the moby wrap, which she really didn't love. We went to the King of Prussia mall a few times, because it was nearby and there was an indoor play area (it was so cold outside already). We went to a nearby Target about 537 times to get numerous baby things. We were antsy to get out of the hotel. We had a suite, but it was still pretty cramped, and Meatball pretty much cried what seemed like, the entire time unless she was being held. There were frequent Meatball and Mommy car trips while daddy would try to wrestle Cupcake down for a nap. Even at a month old, Meatball would be up many hours of the night because she couldn't get comfy.  The very sweet adoption attorney in PA is married to a Dr. They got us in for an appointment at his practice. Meatball was immediately diagnosed with acid reflux. The Dr's comment when nobody could get her to stop crying in the exam room was that she could hear everything gurgling when she put the stethoscope on her. We got some meds, and they did help, but not a cure all. On day 10, we were granted ICPC clearance from PA. 

ICPC stands for the Interstate Compact Placement of Children. While we had the Power of Attorney over Meatball's care, she technically is not a minor child related to us. So, leaving the state of PA without clearance could mean that we would be charged with Human Trafficking or other Federal charges. Originally, we were told ICPC from PA would only take a few days, but our case was complicated with ICWA so everything needed to be double-checked that the Tribe had no standing to keep her from leaving. Philadelphia is on the opposite side of the state from where we would eventually exit. After about a week, we drove to the outskirts of Pittsburgh so that we would only be about 30 (?) minutes from the border once we received clearance. 

Before we left though, we got to spend time with Meatball's first family. I look forward to gathering with them again in the future. My favorite part of Meatball's entire story is that she has a first family that fought so hard for her. Both of her first parents were involved with her adoption plan and her care for her first 3 weeks of life. We had such a great time getting to know them better. They really feel like an extension of our family. It is here that I will mention that when I share Meatball's adoption story, people ask me if I am upset with her first mother for changing her mind. It was during our meeting on our 2nd trip to Philly that I realized that Cupcake also spent close to a month with her first mother, and we made 2 trips for her. In many ways, I understood completely why she made the choice that she did. She has since apologized numerous times for making us come back and changing her mind. These apologies are silly. It's her daughter. Of course it was hard. I'm glad that she didn't make the decision on the fly. I'm glad she spent time with her daughter. I'm so very glad that she loves Meatball. I'm not angry with her, I owe her a debt which I'll never be able to repay.

So, back in Pittsburgh, when we were granted ICPC from PA, the PA attorney and our home-state laywer were disagreeing on whether we could actually leave the borders before our home state gave us clearance to bring Meatball across their borders. The more research I've done, the more I believe that we should not have been allowed to leave PA, but the lawyers agreed that a case could be made for us leaving PA, as long as we didn't actually enter our home state until clearance was granted. We were so sick of hotels by day 10, and eating out that we were anxious to get as close to home as possible. So, we left. We made it about another 5 hours and decided to stop... if I recall, the decision was made because a vote was taken by the occupants of the backseat, and based on the decibel level, they were ready to get out of the car for a while (it was late at night). 

So, hotel night #11 promised to be our last because our home state attorney told us that he has never had an ICPC case take more than a day. We were so excited to snuggle in and then pack the car up one last time. We weren't in a rush the next morning so we did a long breakfast and some brief sight-seeing before we hit the road, hoping the clearance would come as we got close to the border. Obstacle #27 meant that we didn't get clearance in 'one-day,' so we ended up very crabby and checked into a hotel on the border of our state in a casino hotel. I'd like to apologize to those in the rooms next to us who were there to 'getaway' and have a good time and instead ended up next to the loud 2 year old and crying baby... I hope you were actually winning big in the casino late at night. 

After night #12 in a hotel, we were desperate for clearance to just go home. We ended up asking for a late check-out and trying (failing) to entertain ourselves until clearance came about 4pm. We sped home as fast as we could. Things were much happier and calm when we were in our own space, and Cupcake could easily entertain herself with all of her toys. K haeded back to work a few days later, and I tried to get an actual routine going with 2 little people in my charge. This also included buying Christmas goodies for our little Meatball, and praying that she was here to stay.

We spent Christmas out of town a few weeks later with family, and ended up in another hotel room, but it was much easier with my family around to help entertain. It was so fun to watch them meet Meatball and fall in love with her. Christmas was stressful because it brought with it, Cupcake not feeling very well again and passing a horrible cough onto Meatball. 

Final TPR or termination of parental rights should have come on December 28th, but ICWA did end up getting in the way. The PA attorney was being asked to petition for another court date so a judge could terminate the tribe's rights over Meatball's care. Not awesome. 

I ended up heading back to work after the new year, and we still weren't entirely sure how this whole ordeal was going to end. Another court date was granted, and while we and Meatball's first parents were told they were done after their first court date, their presence was again requested in front of the judge. They graciously went to court again, and 56 days after the clock started, we were definitely on the path to be able to finalize Meatball's adoption, which we will do on June 10th! HOORAY! or as Cupcake says, "WOO HOOS!"

Some photos... in NO particular order!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Cupcakes and Meatballs?! Part 3

After Halloween 2012, and heading back to work, we were preparing for the holiday season. Most of my family decided to head our direction to celebrate Thanksgiving, mostly because they knew I could use some cheering up. The kind of cheering up that is impossible to come by, but your fantastic, goofy family of origin provides a pretty good distraction. Turns out, I wasn't able to quite shake the thoughts of the sweet baby girl born in Philly at the end of October. I might have been able to move on, but our caseworker called just before Thanksgiving to tell us that baby girl's momma had been loving on her daughter, but things were hard, and she was making moves to make an adoption plan. WHAT?!

Our caseworker explained that many steps needed to be completed, but if thew were completed, the only way her momma was going to go through with it is if we would agree to come back to Philly and take custody of baby girl to be her family. WHAT?! Agency personnel had gone back and forth about whether to let us know of the new developments because we had asked them not to give us updates on baby girl and her family until we were ready to ask for them. In the end, they decided it was in everyone's best interest to give us the information and process it, so that it didn't become a situation where they possibly needed to call us and we would have about 30 seconds to decide and pack. Ultimately, we said we would ABSOLUTELY agree to adopt baby girl if indeed her momma decided that an adoption plan was best for all of them. 

This information threw me into an absolute tail-spin. I had hope again, but I was afraid of getting my heart broken all over again over this little girl, because it hurt so bad the first time around, and it still wasn't really healing. We decided to keep the information to ourselves, because it was hard to watch my mom cry the first time around when things didn't work out, and it seemed senseless to trouble everyone with the 'non-news' news. The problem with that plan was that I couldn't act normal, because I didn't feel normal. I was totally distracted, and not sharing the news made me irritable, which was the opposite of how I wanted to handle the holiday with my family who traveled to be with us. I eventually had a silly meltdown, reminiscent of my teenage years, and made my husband tell everyone what was going on, and then tell them not to ask me about it, but I felt better knowing that they knew.

The holiday weekend was over, and everyone but my oldest brother was headed out of town. My bro was staying one more night and flying out the next day. My parents made it about 60 miles, and called us to say that my dad was in the ER. WHAT?! He had been feeling off, and it was reminding him of how he felt before he'd had a heart attack 15 years prior, so they stopped to get him checked out. We loaded up to get there, and he was released an hour or so after our arrival, because things had checked out, but he would need to see his cardiologist. A few months and an angiogram later and he is doing great! 

After we left the hospital, we stopped for a quick lunch before we made the hour drive back home. At lunch, our caseworker called. It was a Saturday, so I just braced myself for the news that baby girl was staying with her family and we would need to just become an active/waiting family. We had asked her to call us the second she knew anything.

The phone call went a little more like this: "Hi, I hope your holiday was lovely. I'm calling to tell you that parental rights have indeed been relinquished, baby girl is in cradle care, and has been all week. We didn't tell you this, because there was a lot of wavering on the part of baby girl's first momma," and they didn't want to put her or us through another ordeal until she was sure, and they felt like if she could get through the holiday and still feel confident moving forward with her decision, then we would most likely be set to go. "Can you be in Philadelphia by Tuesday?" WHAT?!

We said, ABSOLUTELY, and started making plans to go and calling all of our family to let them know what was going on. The two trickiest calls, the one I had to make to say, "So, remember how I thought I was going to need maternity leave, but in the end I really didn't? Well, I need maternity leave again, and I won't be back to school until after the Christmas break." Thankfully, I have top notch co-workers, and it was all taken care of for me. I love those people. The other call was to my sister-in-law who was laying in a hospital bed pregnant with twins, on strict bedrest. I was irrationally picturing that I would call and tell her the news and it would be such a weird shock that she would go into early labor. That didn't actually happen... THANK GOD.

In the midst of all of this crazy, we were just about finished refinancing our home for a lower mortgage interest rate. We were to close  on Monday afternoon. We knew once we got to Philly it would be likely that we wouldn't return home for 7-10 days. We were driving again, because we are nuts, and it just seemed easier to have our car instead of plane tickets when we didn't know our return date, and paying for a rental car. So, we got the bank to change our appointment for late afternoon to first thing in the morning. We took care of that, finished packing and a few other odds and ends, and we hit the road. Cupcake had a horrible cough, so we were again banking on her sleeping in the car. That didn't really go as planned. We had been on the road for about 2 hours when she coughed so hard that she, um, regurgitated her dinner all over herself, her carseat and parts of the car. It scared her, and we had to do our best to clean her and the car up at a gas station, in the dark. A few more hours down the road and she was lethargic, but couldn't get to sleep, so we ended up getting a hotel room for about 5.5 hours for her to sleep. We got up and hit the road. We still had about 10 hours to go to Philly. We had to make more stops than before so Cupcake could get out, etc. I'm still amazed how well she did overall and considering how she was feeling. 

We pulled into the outskirts of Philly at about 4pm EST, checked into the same hotel as a month before, showered and put in the infant carseat. We drove to the home where baby girl was at, and had custody at about 6pm. We talked to the people that had loved on her. She had been in 2 homes (there was much difficulty finding a cradle care space for her because of the holiday. We got the chance to spend time with both families, and what amazed me was how each family just ADORED her. They were so loving to her and to us, and were giving us all the tips and tricks on her likes and dislikes. Had I been paying closer attention, I would have realized that these wonderful people were actually trying in a nice way to tell us that she while SUPER cute was also a super fussy, gassy, spitty baby. No matter, I was leaving with her anyway, it just makes me laugh when I think back on our conversations, but didn't pick up on any of that because my brain was in fantasy land. 

Baby girl is known as Meatball. Yes, it's not quite as 'cute' as Cupcake, but she certainly is adorable. It stemmed from the fact that she was just this little thing that would just curl up in a little ball, and this is probably because she always had a tummy ache, but it was pretty precious how she just snuggled into us like a little ball of baby fat... Meatball.

Pennsylvania law gives first families 30 days to change their minds once they have relinquished their rights for adoption purposes. In a normal case, the 30 day clock would have started the day that Meatball went to cradle care, because that was when the paperwork was signed. We were already far outside the bounds of 'normal case,' so the clock didn't start until the day after we took custody. It had nothing to do with us taking custody, but Meatball is part Caucasian, part African American and Native American. Ever heard of the Indian Child Welfare Act? Yeah, I hadn't either. To 'people in the know' they call it ICWA. It basically is a federal act that is in place to prevent the removal of Native American children from  their birth families. If you know about the history of our country and the poor, no horrendous treatment of Native Americans, it really was and is necessary to have in place. It also gives the tribe a voice in saying what happens to it's children. More academically, ICWA is put this way. Meatball didn't live with the tribe, but there was still court proceedings and red tape to cut through. So, the 30 day clock started ticking when her very brave first mother and first father went to court the day after we took custody.

I told a friend who is a social worker that we were dealing with ICWA. Her response was, "Oh, you can expect to blow right through the 30 day waiting period and have a couple of roadblocks before all is said and done." Grrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaaaaat. The way things were explained to us, we really didn't foresee any issues. We were wrong...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cupcakes and Meatballs?! Part 2

When I left off, we had received a call from an agency that a woman had chosen us to be the parents of her baby girl due to be born in a week. At the time, we knew the ethnicity of each first parent and some vague health information. All in all, that wasn't much more than we knew about Cupcake's 'background' either. We quickly started telling our close friends, family members and co-workers. We bough my mom a plane ticket to Philly so that she could entertain Cupcake in a hotel while we stayed at the hospital with baby girl, we got loaded up on all kinds of baby equipment, including an infant carseat from our good friends Amy and Josh (thanks, guys!), and we secured a spot at daycare for our new little bundle. 

The 'funny' thing about adopting a newborn this time around was that we had NOTHING, and a week to get it all. We had no newborn clothes leftover from big-sister, because she came home at 10 months wearing 9-12 month clothes. We didn't have a carseat, swing, bouncer seat, swaddles, newborn bottles, rattles, pacifiers, baby bathtub, spit-up rags, bassinet... We had nada for a wee one. So, when I say Amy and Josh saved our rear-ends by unpacking Andrew's baby stuff (including newborn clothes) into our car, I mean it! 

We headed out on our 900 mile drive to Philly, and we drove through the night (blech). It was nice that Cupcake slept fairly well on the drive, normally she sleeps a maximum of 45 minutes on super long car trips and that is only if she is abnormally exhausted. We got to Philly about 16.5 hours later, unpacked a bit at the hotel, and took a quick nap and headed out to pick Nana up at the airport. 

The next day, October 25th, we woke early, showered and got Cupcake and Nana set up for a day o' fun while we headed to the hospital to await word that our new daughter was born and that her first mother was ready for us to meet her. We waited what felt like an ETERNITY. The hospital social worker was not overly fond of us being at the hospital and stashed us in an out of the way waiting room. She was a nervous lady, and her nerves were sending my already through the roof anxiety even farther off the charts. A few hours went by, and the social worker came to tell us that we should go, the baby had been born, but it was requested that no visitors be allowed in to see her. Gut-punch. We knew this was a possibility, but if you know me, and someone tells me there is a plan... WE NEED TO STICK TO THE PLAN, MMMMK? 

There was quite a bit back-and-forth throughout the rest of that day. I was certain this meant that she was not our daughter, I just needed someone to say the words, but I didn't want to give up hope. The next day, we FINALLY got word that we could meet the baby and mother. We were so excited. It seemed that she just needed time to spend with her daughter before officially meeting us. We were excited and what's the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah, TERRIFIED.  I took a deep breath before being escorted into her hospital room where she let me hug her, she looked me in the eyes and said, "I'm so sorry, I don't know if I can do this." For a second and a half I had a flash of anger. A really selfish moment where I thought, "How can you do this to me?" 

It might have been longer than 1.5 seconds, but I don't think it was terribly long before my rational side took over and I realized, of course. Of course this is difficult. Of course she doesn't know if she can do this. She loves this beautiful baby girl radiating such a glow of love from the hospital bassinet. You should have seen her perfect little nose and her perfect little lips and her perfect skin. She was breathtaking. I was offered the chance to hold her and I didn't think that I should, because I already knew that I loved her. She sucked me in from the very first second I saw her perfect little baby eyelashes, and I knew that I might not get to call her daughter, and that would be painful, but before I knew it, I had scooped her up and I just held her and stared, and listened to the deep, deep pain of the woman who gave her life. We listened and we spoke for a few hours. She was a momma in the midst of turmoil and trauma, and I didn't know how to help. We assured her that we certainly didn't hate her. We assured her that if given the chance, we would love her daughter, our daughter with everything we've got. We left, and I knew deep-down inside that her momma was not going to complete her adoption plan, but was going to take her baby girl home instead to be love her with everything she had, but I didn't want to admit that to myself. I also, really wanted to be happy for them, but I was selfishly sad... for me, and us. 

The call came the next morning, and she had indeed decided that she was going to take her baby home and raise her. She is one determined lady with a heart of gold. That momma has seen a lot of pain and struggle in her life, but she is nothing if not a fighter. Amidst many racking sobs, we packed up our stuff, finagled my mom an early flight out of Philly just as Super Storm Sandy was about to hit, and as soon as we dropped her off at the airport, we drove the 900 miles back home. 

I really just wanted to see the Liberty Bell. I had imagined this would be one of our first outings as a family of 4, but instead it ended up being something we did to kill time after checking out a week early from our hotel and waiting to drop Nana off at the airport.

When we walked in the door, I asked K to round up all things newborn and throw them in the basement where I wouldn't have to look at them each second. He dutifully did as I asked, though I know it wasn't any easier for him. We spent the next few days just getting things back in order and playing with Cupcake, who thankfully had no real idea of what was happening. I'm pretty sure in her mind, it was just a long car trip so she could swim in a hotel pool with Nana and go out to eat a few times. 

We picked up, celebrated Halloween with our Cupcake who went as an adorable piggy, went back to work, tried to pretend that our hearts weren't completely broken. It is so weird. We were not expecting to be picked, but we were in love with the idea. Then, we fell in love with the baby girl who we had only seen for a short time. We were sad to feel the loss of this special little girl, but prayed that they were doing well together. In the meantime, we asked our agency to not show our information to any other women contemplating an adoption plan, because we just weren't quite ready to brave the journey yet.

I'm going to take off and find ALL the candy!!!!

After a couple of weeks, we started talking about, "How will we know when we ARE ready?" Neither of us had a very good answer, but we were feeling okay. We were still sad, but we were okay, and we thought that we could be ready again. Gone were the days of thinking that it could be a year before we were chosen. We started approaching it as if we could get picked at any moment, which is understandable based on what we had just been through. We had decided that after Thanksgiving, we would call our caseworker and let her know that we would be willing to have our family profile made active once again.

There is MORE to this saga...

Cupcakes and Meatballs? Part 1

Cupcake had been home for a year in July 2012. We had 're-finalized' her adoption, and were settling into being parents in a joyful and comfortable way. We knew that we wanted Cupcake to have sibling(s) someday. We both have siblings, and we love them all dearly. It helps that they are all pretty fantastic people, but we want Cupcake to have those relationships growing up. Also, we had a suspicion that she would THRIVE as a big sister, because her other nickname? Bosslady. She loves to both be of service, and 'direct' people. 

So, last June and July, we were researching and praying about our 'options' for growing our family. We would LOVE to adopt from Ethiopia again, and maybe someday we will, but it just wasn't the time. We looked at adopting a 'special needs' child from China, but you are required to be 30 before starting the process. We weren't 30 then, and felt like we didn't want to WAIT so long to start (we are 30 now!). We researched Korea, Uganda, the Congo, etc, and we were about a nano-second from starting a Congolese adoption when we just kept coming across domestic adoption. It wasn't really something we had researched a ton, but we definitely weren't against it. You know what turned me off the most from a domestic process? The fact that a first mother could potentially commit to letting us adopt her unborn child and then change her mind. Cognitively, I totally understand this is COMPLETELY her choice, and if she decides she CAN parent, she should go for it... it's HER child. Emotionally, I was scared of having my heart broken. Stay with me here, that my friends is called irony and foreshadowing.

August 2012, we began a homestudy for a domestic adoption. There really is no way to have an accurate timeline in domestic adoption, because once you are 'paper ready' it's all about a first family feeling a connection with you and choosing you. We were really okay with this. We were using both an agency, and our homestudy provider was sort of a facilitator working with private adoption attorneys. Our agency was 'quoting' that families like ours were in general adding to their family about 12 months after being paper-ready. That was the 'perfect' timeline in our minds, as Cupcake and the new child would be about 3 years apart at that time. HAHAHAHAHA. 

We mostly finished up our homestudy in September, but we were waiting on our FBI fingerprints/criminal checks to come back from our home state and previous states for it to be completely finalized. We hadn't paid any of our agency fees, we did submit some photos and narratives to be presented to first families to help them 'get to know us,' but we were also asked to make a little video, and we hadn't even started that. In general, we weren't in a huge rush (completely opposite from Cupcake's adoption where we were kind of rushing EVERYTHING). 

So, October 17th rolls around and a few days prior to that, we had been talking around that time about how we should really finish up the last few details so we could become 'active' and having our profile shown to women who were potentially considering and adoption plan. I had just returned to work in August and it was busy, busy, busy adjusting back to both of us working full-time, but also trying to figure out how to spend lots of time with Cupcake. On October 17th, things got just a little bit crazier! I was dealing with an honest-to-goodness crisis at work. I'm a school counselor, so I can't go into detail other than to say... it was a rough morning. My cell had rung a couple of times, but I just kept hitting 'ignore,' because I had zero time to talk. Call #3 came from the Mister, and he NEVER calls me at work unless it is important. He will text me here and there throughout the day, but a phone call means business. So, I answered figuring that daycare had called him to tell him Cupcake was sick and needed to be picked up, but he was stuck in meetings (this became a theme this year... someone was ALWAYS sick). Nope, instead he blurted into the phone, "Why haven't you been answering your phone?! Me: "I'm in the middle of a problem that I can't just walk away from!" Him: "Well, the agency has been trying to get a hold of you." Me: "Yeah, I saw that, but I figured Kathy (our caseworker) was just calling to see how we were doing and if we were EVER going to pay our fees." Him: "No, we've been chosen as a family for a baby." Me: "No, that's not possible, we aren't even 'active' yet." Him: "Well, apparently there was a woman they thought we would be a good match for, so they went ahead and showed her the info they had without telling us, and she ended up choosing us." Me: *silence* after about a minute... "Is this a joke?" Him:" No! We need to call them back to find out the details and they want us to call them this morning." Me: "I reeeeaaaaaaalllllllllyyyyyyy hate to do this to you, but I have to call you back when I get this work thing sorted out." 

It took about another 45 minutes for me to get things squared away at work, and then I flew out of the building and drove to the K's office where there were ABSOLUTELY NO PARKING SPACES AND IT WAS RAINING OUTSIDE, AND OHMYGOSH I AM FREAKING OUT WHY CAN'T I JUST PARK MY CAR?! Finally, I made it inside, and security didn't question the deranged look in my eyes and let me be escorted in. We called the agency back and heard all of the details. The baby was due to be born in 8 days via c-section, the mother had taken a look at MANY profiles and said no to all of them, so they took a chance on our family knowing that we matched a number of criteria she was looking for and she said yes the same day she saw our info, the baby was going to be born 900-ish miles away in Philly and could we be there in a week? Us: *silence*  "Can we call you back?" 

We hung up the phone and K had a blank stare. This was pretty reminiscent of when we got Cupcake's referral, so really... that's a good sign. I took about 5 minutes to pray and then knew that there was no freaking way I would say no. I was SCARED out of my mind, but I knew in my heart of hearts that this was our next child. We knew it was a girl. I knew exactly what we would name her if her first mother agreed to let us choose a first name. I knew we wanted her to choose a middle name. The only part I couldn't quite figure out was, how we were going to tell co-workers, friends and some of our family members... we had only told a small handful of people that we were starting an adoption process. We were planning to tell more people once our homestudy was done and we were 'active,' because it would just be SILLY to not tell people and then have this weird conversation with people where you are like, "Oh, by the way, I will be gone from work for the next 6 weeks because we are adopting again, oh didn't I mention it was possible that I would need to take maternity leave after already taking a year off of work with my first child and only being back from 2.5 months?" Yeah, that would have been AWKWARD. Wait...

This is already a novel. I've no idea how to edit myself, so let's just make this a series... Part 2 up next!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Truth be told, I kind of forgot this little space existed! It served such a fun purpose for me personally when we were going through Cupcake's adoption process. It was an outlet for my frustrations, and a little spot I could record the many blessings and celebrations. After she came home, and I had taken a year leave from work, it was fun to occasionally record the goings-on in our 'new normal.' Well, I went back to work last August, and the posting decreased, and THEN... we got a phone call that turned our world upside down, and the posting came to a halt. In so many ways, I feel like I am just coming back up for air emotionally. So, I can't decide is this 'journal/blogging' thing really for me?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I try not to be a lunatic, ya'll

I really wish I wrote and/or spoke with a southern accent. Wouldn't it make some of my drivel more likeable/interesting? Oh well, I tried it. Midwestern-y it is. Hmmmm. I was a midwestern sorority girl, like what do they sound like? Super sweet, obvi. 

Okay. Glad that little bit is out of my system. So, take a look at this picture of Cupcake taken about 15 months ago.

Bald, but still model posin'
 Mere weeks before this photo, she had a head full of curls. Then? None. It's a long story, but she ended up having her whole little noggin' shaved a couple of weeks before making the trek to America. A friend had been to the orphanage picking up her son and took mercy on my new momma soul and sent photos of our girl. She prefaced it by letting us know that it appeared her head had been shaved. I had a total melt.down. We weren't getting information on how she was doing. No updated photos. Nothing. Suddenly, we found out that she now had no hair, and we still didn't know when we would be able to return to Ethiopia to pick her up. We were legally her parents and I was so upset that someone shaved my baby's head without talking to me about any of it. We did get a phone call shortly thereafter which explained the need for the head shaving (well, I still maintain they didn't need to shave the whole head, but I made my peace... sort of). Fast forward to now.

Those curls just keep a'coming!
 She has a head full of curls (this picture was taken in August... those curls are even longer and thicker now). Ironically, she hates when I try to style her hair. We are slowly making progress there, but I blame the traumatic head shaving for her not wanting me to detangle and play with her hair. Alright, so I've written what? 2 paragraphs about the history of a 2 year olds hair? So, um, yeah... it's kind of  big deal (to me). I've watched youtube videos on style possibilities. I read blogs about chocolate hair (I TOTALLY RECOMMEND THIS ONE: http://www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com/). I research hair products. I have what seems like every accessory for little girl hair, ever made... too bad I can't use them for more than 3 minutes. 

So, to the stranger who came by our table at a restaurant to essentially pet my kid's head, I'm a little sorry I snarked at you, but wasn't it kind of obvious when said child kept moving her head and grabbing your hand to keep it away from her that your touch wasn't welcome? She isn't a poodle. She is a human. Whew, don't we all feel better with that cleared up? Honestly, in this situation, it really isn't a question of touching a black girl's hair. Just don't touch ANY toddler like that. Yes, she is beautiful. Yes, she purposefully tries to get the attention of every person within 20 feet of her, because she likes to say hi. Nope, neither she nor her parents want you to fondle her head (or any of her, actually). I should really write a post with a positive spin since it is the month of Thanksgiving and National Adoption Month and all that. So, um... yeah. Okay, can't do it. Too crabby. 


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