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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year and Happy Anniversary!!!

Five years is how long we have been married today.

If I had to do it over again. I'd choose you in a heartbeat. I'd choose you to argue with, to make-up with, to laugh with, to travel with, to adopt a child with.

Very thankful for you in my life. You have been there through the think and thin, and I like to think I'm there for you in the ways that you need too.

Everyone says it isn't a good idea to get married "young," but I wouldn't change anything about being "high school sweethearts" about going off to college and pursuing our separate paths, but always putting the needs and desires of each other first. I wouldn't change the craziness over the last 5 years of marriage. I can't wait to continue on this journey, see the world and grow our family. I love you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas- Yes, this is a little late...been a little busy! :)

Moved into a new house this summer. We loved our condo, but made the decision to have a little extra room (read: backyard) after we officially began the adoption process. If I had to do it over again, I would have moved before starting all of the paperwork because it created some paperwork headaches when changing our address over, but overall we lucked out and it went smoothly. We LOVE our new HOME. Diogee LOVES the backyard almost more than we do.

Ethiopia is the country we have fallen love with, as it will be the birth country of our son or daughter.

Returned to Colorado to visit brother Todd last summer. So much fun with Kara, Ben, Todd, Mom and Dad. I will never forget white-water rafting with those people. So exciting to see my mom doing something daring after having to protect her shoulder pre and post surgery for so long.

Really big milestones were celebrated as K's g-parents and my g-parents each celebrated 60th Anniversaries. Wow... that is a number we just don't hear very often when it comes to marriage. My thanks and gratitude to all of them for the love, prayers and support they have provided and mostly for the wonderful example they have set forth in their union and vows to one another.

Yes, I am now going to mention our 'furbaby.' Diogee (D.O.G.) is quite the character at our house. It is true that he is so ugly he is cute. When I was in graduate school, and still didn't know too many people, it was Diogee who kept me company while studying (while K was at work), and got me out of the house for long W.A.L.K.S. (Oh, sorry, I guess I didn't need to spell it here...but if you accidentally say that word in our house, be prepared for a ball of fuzz to shoot into your lap, start licking your face, run to the door, jump, and run back to you, rinse, repeat). It is hard to imagine, Diogee taking a "backseat" to the little one coming. I'm sure it will happen, but I get a knot of guilt when I think about it. I owe that pup for keeping me so highly entertained over the last 4 years!

Colorado, Chicago and Las Vegas were the sights of this years "vacations". As usual, there were trips made to MN, ND and SD as well!

He saw to it that 2 of our family members came through surgery this Christmas season, and that makes 3 members total this month. There were some bumps and bruises on the crazy road to surgery, but everyone has come out of it, and we give THANKS. On to recovery!!!!!

Referral is the word we are waiting so impatiently to hear. For some reason, since we began this process nearly 10 months ago, I've said that January 2011 will probably be our referral month. January 3 will be 5 months on the official wait list. Here's hoping I was right!!!!!!!

Iowa is the place we would like you to visit. on 12/19, 5 years ago we moved all of our stuff to a tiny little townhouse here in Eastern IA. We drove back "home" to graduate from college (2 different colleges in 1 day...I'm still sorry about that to my family, btw). We had Christmas, and were married that New Year's Eve. We left the next morning for our honeymoon, returned a week later and officially lived in our tiny townhouse immediately thereafter (with no furniture for 3 weeks). I look back at that time and wonder what I was thinking?! I guess I felt the need to cram lots of major life events into a 3 week period. It was hard, but we did a nice job of relying on each other as a couple. (Who else were we going to rely on?! We only had each other here!) Admittedly, I've been trying to move out of Iowa pretty consistently for the last 5 years. My rants about being far from family will never cease, but living here has brought us to where we are in our lives today, and I wouldn't change this adoption journey for anything in the world (um, I would speed it up a little...but, it's the Christmas season, so I'm sugar coating). Now, that we have purchased our new house, I'm grasping onto the reality that I'm here to stay (at least for a while). My brothers better make 2011 the year they both visit me, or they are both getting coal for Christmas next year. :)

Systems Engineering Manager is K's job title. Same company. Truthfully, while he has been at the same company since his 1st co-op in 2004, he has held many positions. He has worked in various departments for various people. He was promoted to manager almost 2 years ago, but 2 days after his new position was announced, his department was shut down due to the floundering economy. He stayed on with the company in a different capacity and moved back to manager almost a year ago. He enjoys his job, he is an extremely dedicated worker (which if someone asked me if this is one of his qualities when we started dating, I would have said, NO. He worked hard at his part-time job, but I never once saw him study for a calculus test, etc. His idea of studying for the ACT's was to come over to my house the night before and watch, "October Sky" because it was kind of 'science'y'. Something changed, and it probably has to do with the no books, no lectures, just the hands-on, talking to people, and getting stuff done.

Twin girls were welcomed into our extended family this September. Breley and Kailey were born at 24 weeks gestation, both weighing 1 lb 6 oz and 12 inches long. Breley fought for 2 extraordinary days, but she returned HOME to be with her Lord. We know that it was the end of her time with us, but just the beginning of eternal and beautiful life for her. Her "little" sister Kailey remains in the NICU. She has seen her fair share of struggles, and is enduring some at the time of this writing. We pray for her each day. She is a miracle in her own right. She has challenges ahead of her, but if there is one thing I am certain of, Kailey is a tenacious little bugger. She does things in her own time. We thank those of you who have continued to pray for her alongside of us.

My mom announced she is retiring at the end of this school year. WOW. I've been trying to gauge how she feels about that particular topic for a couple of months, and she never let on that she had made a decision. I'm not sure if I am more shocked she is retiring, or the fact that she kept a secret? (Hi, mom). Phase 1 of "Operation Move My Parents Closer to Me" is a success. Unfortunately, this process has many more phases... (like adoption, no?)

Adoption consumes our every thought. Even when we are consumed by something else, I find it popping up (especially at inopportune times...like when I am trying to focus on someone/something else).

School Counselor is still my job. Middle school counselor to be exact. I would really like to tell you that every day is joyful, wonderful, beautiful. That would be a lie. We have some really fantastic moments, some belly aching laughs, and some truly extraordinary educators. However, when people say, "adoption isn't for the faint of heart," they are telling the truth, it is a nuanced and complex emotional process, but I work in a middle school... I deal with the problems presented by middle schoolers Every. Day. Sometimes, I moan and whine...sometimes I roll my eyes...sometimes I can think of 1,000,000 places I'd rather be, or things I'd rather be doing. Then I stop. Take a breath, and remember that I was once a middle school student, and it was HARD. I make mistakes and have bad days, but I always try to bounce back and have a better attitude about my work.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Last Call for T-shirts!

We are getting ready to quit the T-shirt business, but wanted to let you all (all 7 of you who read this), that we still have a few shirts left. They are $20 and the money goes toward a great cause! We are using the money to make donations to the care center in Ethiopia to ensure they have some of the necessities that they need. We will also be donating to AHOPE whose mission is to care for HIV+ orphans in Ethiopia. Also, who doesn't love a funky, green T-shirt?! Thanks to all of those who have already purchased. I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when my co-workers where their shirts to school on Fridays. Such great people. You can e-mail me for more information or use the paypal button to order on the top-right of the blog. If you need it before Christmas, I'll see what I can do to rush mail it...


Friday, December 17, 2010

If You Don't Stay Up To Date On Your Immunizations

The countdown at the bottom of the page tells me that we have 'officially' been on this journey for 9 months and 3 weeks. It seems to me that the first 5 months went fairly quickly. We were consumed with paperwork, appointments, etc. The last 4 months (almost 5) have kind of drug on... We haven't had anything to do other than read up and wait. We decided to prepare ourselves for travel (mostly to distract ourselves and help us go back to the mode of checking things on the list and hopefully make us feel like we are that much closer to bringing baby home). So, we made a trip to the travel clinic today. We thought we were getting 1 shot for sure...maybe 2...and 3 depending on how our questions were answered. Ummmmmmm, we both ended up with 6 shots. OUCH! So, I guess this is why we should have made sure to get silly things like Tetanus shots when they were due. Looks like we were outdated on pretty much everything, so we got to throw a few in there "for fun." While I can't say that I enjoy getting shots, I do alright. I just talk to myself (tell myself I'll be okay) and take deep breaths. I think that's all I will say about that. K got all 6 shots too, but I think we learned something about ourselves today. What did we learn, you may ask? We learned that I will be the one taking our child for immunizations. LOL. The look on K's face when I got the 6 needles was PRICELESS. Guess he should have gone first? Ha! 

The good news of the day? I'm all caught up on my shots! The not so good news? BOTH of my arms HURT already. My mom wants me to call her tomorrow just so she can hear how badly they hurt in the morning. Goof ball...

Other good news? It's the weekend! Hope you enjoy yours! I'm hoping to not be a test subject for "why you shouldn't get all of those immunizations at the same time." I have some shopping to do still! 

Oh, and... we haven't moved on the list. **Sigh**

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Great Link-ini Post

I don't have much of value to say. I feel like I'm running on a hamster wheel lately...lots of moving and not getting anywhere...blah.

I have been reading blogs (what else is new?), and there have been some really striking posts as of late. I thought I'd link them all here, and if you would like, you can check them out!

This GREAT mom is WAITING impatiently to go get her lil 3 year old guy from Ethiopia. Can't wait to see pics, L! She is doing a nice job of educating on attachment issues, so I figured, why re-invent the wheel when I can just link you to what she has put up???? http://starksjourney.blogspot.com/

This next mom is so real with her emotions. I wish I could sit down with her in real life... I admire how she puts it all out there, what an incredible gift to share so that we may have the privilege of peeking into all sides of adoption...not just the "fluffy" parts. Click HERE

The third link is one of an adoptive mom who is in Ethiopia RIGHT NOW. She has traveled back for a number of reasons, but the big one is to meet the birth mom of her daughter. What an amazing experience. I pray that we have an opportunity to meet someone from the birth family of our child. Read about that, HERE 
The pics from the meeting are in another post, and that is HERE 

Sorry, maybe a little lack-luster. No referral movement news, no nothin... time for bed...can I get a snow day?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I LOVE this Girl's HEART

I've shared about Sami before, but this girl has a heart that just doesn't quit. She is 11 (and I don't know her, but would be honored to meet her!) She is just amazing. She is "1 person can make a difference," personified. I just can't say enough about this little lady. She is selling bottle cap necklaces to buy shoes for kids in Africa. How COOL is THAT?! She has already bought a bunch through her enterprise, but the girl has got a new goal. The bonus is, if you don't have $5 to purchase a necklace, she is having a GIVEAWAY! All you have to do is share about her blog either through your blog or on facebook (leave her a comment so she knows you promoted her). She has a goal of 173 necklaces to sell so that she can buy shoes for the kiddos she has in mind. LOVE THIS GIRL! Did I already mention that?

Check out her blog and necklace designs here (she has some new designs too): http://littlegoody2-shoes.blogspot.com/

I'm signing out like Sami on this one...

Peace, Love, Do Good


We are still strong holding onto our resolve not to find out our "official" numbers on the referral wait list. We had a ballpark estimate that at the end of last week we were sitting around #13. However, an update from our agency has led us to believe that we are probably more like #15 or 16, and really...we are okay with that. 
According to our agency, 3 children who had been referred to families died. We were not given an explanation or further information, other than to say that the families that suffered the unspeakable loss of their children will be placed back at the top of the wait list to accept a referral when they deem they are ready to do so. I cannot fathom the loss and sorrow these families feel. I'm certain they had already memorized every piece of their child(ren) through pictures and were filled with hopes and dreams of bringing them HOME into their families. Our hearts and prayers are with them. 
I keep thinking of my brave little niece, Breley who was born September 3rd and fought it out until September 5th. I'm certain these little kiddos were equally as valiant as my precious niece. That fact does not keep me from asking that awful question of, "Why?" I already know I'm not going to get a satisfactory answer, so I don't know what brings me to keep asking. So, I'll concentrate on these: 

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. Do not be afraid... for I am with you...declares the Lord." Jeremiah 1:5, 8

"And I know there'll be days/ When this life brings me pain/ But if that's what it takes to praise You/ Jesus, bring the rain." -- Mercy Me 'Bring the Rain'

Friday, December 3, 2010

Shock and Awe

Where do I begin? Probably with a tall glass of wine Praising, God...that's where. I don't know why, but I always get this feeling of shock and some awe when my prayers are answered just in the way that I hoped they would be. I have to admit...I'm not the most selfless 'prayee' among the flock. Sometimes, I can't help it...I don't always pray that His will be done... I pray that MY will be done. I know, I know, *gasp*-- I'm working on it. Well, the "expect the unexpected" law in international adoption rules again! That mountain-moving, gasp-giving God has been at it again. Read the previous post to find out what the first half of this week was like...in short, lots of hold-ups for everyone that caused some tears and heartbreak, and forced this girl to re-evaluate and force myself to choose joy. Well, I prayed the selfish prayer...that things would move speedily. Seems my will matched up with HIS, because the delay is over! The licensure renewal has already been obtained by our agency. "Hopeful it will be resolved by the end of December," more like the end of the week! Wahoo!!!!!

Does this mean I get to go back to thinking that I know better? Kidding, God! I'll stop joking...no need to put me in my place. This girl is just, grateful and still choosing joy. The fact that the weekend is just starting, isn't bad either :)



Thursday, December 2, 2010

Be Prepared for the Unknown

Oh, "they" were serious about that, huh? In the international adoption process, it is important to learn to "expect the unexpected" and to somehow reconcile that with your heart and mind. Sure, I knew that intellectually/cognitively, but I think emotionally, our hearts were hoping we would skate through this process without complications. I should have realized back when I was freaking out about our missing homestudy that would not be the only bump in the road. You can read about that HERE. However, I have admitted before and will admit again, that when it comes to matters of the heart, I am consistently hopeful. This is a pretty good quality to have, but it has a tendency to set me up for heartbreak, thereby making me a 'slow learner.' *sigh* Oh well.

So, what is the "bump?" Well, let's have the good news first, shall we? There were 6 referrals that went out this week. November was referral free until Monday. We think we were #20 before the 6 went out. We don't know if all 6 of those referrals were for families ahead of us on the list, but we could be as low as #14. We have decided to not request our 'official' number from here on out. After, obsessing in a completely neurotic and scary less than healthy manner over the #'s, we decided to play a little less tug-of-war with the #'s, God and our hearts. It is quite liberating, so far. Though, I have wavered to great extent slightly about this decision. We can still keep a ballpark figure by following Holt's (our agency) program blog for families adopting from Ethiopia, as well as "buddies" from an online group of Holt/Ethiopia adoptive families. 

The not so good news... It was amazing to finally see some movement on the referral wait list, and it is an awesome feeling to know that kiddos are closer to coming home to their new families. However, there is going to be another drought, but this one does not just affect referrals. There is a licensure delay of the southern orphanages/care centers in Ethiopia. Holt does not actually run a care center because that creates sticky and unethical breeding grounds. Holt first helps families find solutions to parent their children. Relinquishment for adoption is a last resort. Therefore, I imagine it becomes a "child trafficking" issue if Holt directly runs a care center. Instead, they partner with a care center. All of the care centers in southern Ethiopia are going through a licensure renewal process, as the Ethiopian government is making many efforts to ensure that things are run ethically. The bad news, until the renewed license is issued, no referrals can be made. No court dates can be scheduled. No embassy dates can be filled. We are anxious and excited to FINALLY receive our referral, and our hearts were saddened to learn of another delay in the process, but we know that the families that have received referrals and are waiting for court dates AND the families that have attended court and met their children and are awaiting embassy travel dates, are in a tougher spot than us. They have memorized their children's faces, or hugged and loved on them, and the feeling is so much more urgent. The sadness we feel in empathy with them is overwhelming. Holt is "hopeful" that the licensure issue will be resolved by the end of December, so I'm going to be hopeful right along with them. Only 29 more days of December to go!

The news of the delay officially came out yesterday. There was a collective feeling of frustration, confusion and fear. I learned of the resilience and uniqueness of adoptive families today. In the words of a fellow adoptive mom (to be), "I'm choosing joy." Wow, just wow. Blow me away, why don't you?! So, I'm picking up with her and choosing joy and counting my blessings. 

Here is hoping you all can choose joy today too!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Things We Are Excited to Share With YOU.

Dear Baby, We are missing you today, but we wanted to share the holiday with you somehow.
Ding-a-ling! It was chilly, but we raised a little $ for the Salvation Army!
Smiled for the picture under protest...

A common sight on Thanksgiving...checking out the 'bargains'
My SIL would be less than impressed that we are showcasing meat... :) We also vowed that since family was unable to get here due to the weather, it would be a comfy clothes Thanksgiving.
WAY too much food for 2 people. The leftovers are packed and ready to be shared!
Diogee's revenge for not being fed table scraps.
Investigating the scraps in the garbage...
It was a quiet Thanksgiving. Family was unable to travel here due to yucky weather and road conditions. We certainly wish Baby V was here to share it with, but the photo story to share will have to do for now. Hopefully you all were able to gather around the table with loved ones and share the many blessings of your life this year. Love to you all and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Advent Conspiracy

So, my first question is: who in my family wants me to forgo their Christmas gift this year? Any takers? :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just In Time For Black Friday

I shared this a few weeks ago, but with "Black Friday" and the holiday shopping season looming just a few short days away, I thought it would be fun to post this one more time. Happy shopping! Fun to think that a gift or tow this year will double to connect a child with a FAMILY! The blog I took this from is: http://thisdomesticateddiva.blogspot.com/p/shopping-for-cause.html

I encourage you to grab the button below and pass all of this info along!

After a thought-provoking blog post from my sister-in-law Laura about "Buying with a purpose", I began to compile a list of all the families and ministries I knew that were fundraising or selling merchandise to support their calling.  Thank you to all the families who shared their blogs with me.  Special thanks to Christi who also compiled some names and shared ideas with me!  And a HUGE thank you to Laura for inspiring this list and for forwarding even MORE links my way!  I hope this helps as you prepare for your holiday shopping this year.  Please feel free to share this list on YOUR blogs to help raise awareness to all these great fundraisers and ultimately, God's calling to care for the orphans!  We may not all have been called to ADOPTION, but we have all been called to CARE for the orphans.

James 1:27
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Proverbs 14:31
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Isaiah 1:17
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

PLEASE share by grabbing our button {below} or posting a blog about "Shopping For A Cause".  Let's get the word out BEFORE the big holiday shopping spree so that more people can shop with PURPOSE this year and help to bless the recipients.  Thank you for helping all these amazing families and ministries!


If you would like YOUR fundraiser to be added to this list or if you find that a link isn't working, please email me at bringourangelhome@gmail.com.  THANK YOU!

147 Gear Store
2000 Tutus
5 Million Children Looking Tshirt
A Road Home Tshirt
Adoption Tshirt
Adoption Rocks Shirts
Adoption Rocks Tshirt
Africa Bound Andrews Etsy Store
Amazing Grace Tshirt
Bring Hope Home Tshirt
Break Our Hearts Tshirt
Change The World For One Shirts
Children Are A Gift Tshirt
Compassion Store
Dolka Pots Etsy Store
Each Of Us Matters & Isaiah 1:17 Shirts
Faith Hope Love Family Tshirt
Fatherless Find Compassion Tshirt
Feeding The Orphans Tshirt
Feed The Children Tshirt
From Lost To Found Tshirt
Fulmer Adoption Tshirt
Go-Seek-Love Shirts
Gutora {To Choose} Shirts
Haggerty's Adoption Shirts
Heart of Africa Shirts
HOPE & Love Is Not A Color Shirts
I Heart Africa Tshirt
I Need Africa Tshirt
I Will Not Leave You As Orphans Shirts
I'm Adopted, You're Adopted Tshirt
Jenkin's Journey To Adoption Etsy Store
Light Gives Heat Store
Love The Orphans Tshirt
Malot's Hope Etsy Store
Mocha Club Store
Nepal Tshirt
ONE Tshirt
One Family & Chosen Shirts
One Less Tshirt
Only Love Tshirt
Ordinary Hero Shirts
Orphan No More Gear
Pitter Patter Art - Custom Shirts
Poppy Dip Clothes
Pure Religion Shirts
Red Yellow Black White Love Tshirt
Road Less Traveled Shirt Shop
Show Love Tshirt
Still One Awaits Tshirt
Twinkle & Shine Store
We Witness A Miracle Shirts, Onesies, & Sweatshirts
What Can Your Shirt Do? Tshirt
{adoption} Shirts

Blessings In The Journey Cookbook
Mulder Adoption Cookbook
WIPHAN Cookbook


147 Gear - Uganda Necklaces
Adopting Ainsley Etsy Store
Beads of Hope
Chosen Adoption Necklace
Chosen Child Adoption Band
Coffee Bean Bracelets
Daisy Dreams Etsy Store
Fulmer Adoption Bottlecap Necklaces
Got Love Tshirt
Growing With Joy Beaded Jewelry
Hip Mom Adoption Jewelry
Jenkin's Journey To Ethiopia Etsy Store
JunkPosse Etsy Store
Kind Hearts & Trees of Glory Bottlecap Necklaces
Life A Bit Sweeter Etsy Store
Light Gives Heat Suubi Shop
Little Did I Know Ribbon Necklaces
Lovin' Much Adoption Bracelet
Mama Sheep Etsy Store
Next To My Heart Etsy Store
Orphaned No More - 3,000 Bracelets Campaign
Paracord Survival Bracelets
Solomon Beads
Sweet Tea Shoppe Etsy Store
Uganda Necklaces
Bags & Totes:

Craft and Couture Etsy Store
Got Love Totes
Haggerty's Adoption Bags
Hunt's Adoption Totebags
Light Gives Heat Store
One Family Tote
Pitter Patter Art - Custom Bags
Seeing The World Through His Eyes
Twinkle Stitch Etsy Store

Hair Accessories:

Africa Bound Andrews Etsy Store
Bring Our Angel Home Fabric Flower Headbands
Dolka Pots Etsy Store
Klippies By Kris
WaxBoyd Etsy Store


Ahni Art
Alaska To Africa Crosses
Family Values Canvases
Handcrafted Metal Art Etsy Store
Jenkin's Journey To Adoption Etsy Store
In This Home Paintings
No Great Gift Signs
Pitter Patter Art
SamiSooWho Custom Art
The Canvas Heart Etsy Store


A Day In The Life Christmas Cards
BJMiker Etsy Store Ornaments
Bring Our Angel Home Custom Christmas Cards
Embracing The Least Of These Ornaments
Jenkin's Journey To Adoption Etsy Store


Craft and Couture Etsy Store
Dockery Bambino Aprons
From Here To There Etsy Store
Haggerty's Adoption Aprons


A Doll's Heart Adoption Ragdolls
Africa Vinyl Decals
BabyCouture4aCause Etsy Store - Rhinestone Baby Shoes
Cakelicious Custom Cakes
Dolka Pots Etsy Store
From Here To There Etsy Store - Dolls
Galindo's Tagsies, Burpcloths, and Binky Links
Got Love Travel Mugs
Little Wonder's Project Etsy Store
Malot's Hope Etsy Store
Mama Enat Etsy Store
MathesLindsay Etsy Store
We Witness A Miracle Water Bottle
Wine Glass Charms

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Drought

This is another update to say, "There is no update." We are still sitting at #20 on the referral wait list. November has been a month of no referrals from our agency, but that was in part to be expected after the last half of October was 'referral heavy.' I would be lying if I said we were, "waiting patiently." We would be thrilled to hear of those further up the list receiving referrals. It is such a great feeling to hear about another child finding a family. I do not mean to give the impression that nobody at our agency has been working on anything this month. The great news as of late has been more court dates, and the first families that are adopting under the new 2-trip system in Ethiopia are on their way to pick up their children, FOREVER! We are anxiously awaiting to hear more about how court dates and embassy dates have gone! 
So, what is a referral and what happens after we get one? We have not done a stellar job of explaining to all of our friends and family how the many facets of this process work. We are constantly taking in information about the steps in this process as we move along. The gathering of knowledge and praying about this are about the only things keeping me sane! So, to answer my own question... When we talk about receiving referral, we are talking about a phone call. Someone from our agency will call us up. I imagine they will say something like, "Congratulations, you are having a boy/girl!" (This is how it plays out in my head about 50 times a day). We will receive some medical information and background information about the child. We will also receive picture(s). The next step will be accepting or rejecting the referral. Let's be serious, I have yet to imagine a scenario where we would reject the referral, BUT that piece of the process is there for a reason. This is a lengthy process and our agency is nothing if not ethical. So, the rejection possibility is there, but not likely in my mind. NEXT (yes, there is MORE), after accepting a referral, we will wait for the Ethiopian courts to assign us a court date. My best guess, is there will be an 8-12 week lapse between referral and court date (what do I know, though???). We obviously hope for less. We will travel to Ethiopia and meet our baby. We will attend court (why do I feel the anxiety pulse when I write that?), and then we will return home, without our baby. More paperwork will be processed after we pass court. So, we will wait for the Ethiopian Government to collect and process this paperwork once we have officially passed court. Once they have everything ready, we will be invited to return to Ethiopia. The first 2-trip families have waited 6-8 weeks between court returning for the 2nd trip. During the 2nd trip, we will take custody of our baby, and we will attend a visa interview at the US Embassy in Ethiopia to secure the visa for our baby. If possible, we will meet anyone willing/able from our child's birth family during this 2nd trip as well. We hope and pray to have this opportunity to ask questions, and hopefully express our profound gratitude for the chance to grow our family through this amazing process (I say hopefully because I can't quite figure out what words would even come close to expressing the honor and gratitude that we already feel and we are pre-referral). Next step???? COME HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We can hardly wait to get home and begin building our bond and attachment as a family. 
My hope is that the above explanation makes sense and clarifies this process. That was a wordy one, huh? If it left lingering questions, feel free to ask! 
I don't care if it is a boy or girl, I just don't want my tail pulled or my ear tugged. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Proud Aunt Alert

Hello world! I'm 3 lbs. 9.5 oz and 16 inches long.
I'm so cute, sometimes I pinch my own cheek. It is hard to believe I have anything to pinch.
Being this adorable really makes me sleepy.

I'm Afraid of My Own Ideas...

Sometimes it is scary to put my own words out there (what if you think I'm stupid?) Fear, it is a silly, yet evil thing.  Today, I am giving into fear and just passing along a quote. Maybe I'll be brave tomorrow. 

“Adoption, of whatever sort, works better in miniature than on the big screen. In the abstract it is hideous, but individually it can sometimes—even often—make sense.”
                  --Karen Dubinsky


Friday, November 12, 2010

Foto Friday

We look so happy and in love. If only someone had recorded how crabby I was about 20 minutes BEFORE the sun started to come up. Thankfully, nobody recorded it...commence thinking that I am ALWAYS sweet. The man in this picture will take it to his grave that I was less than pleasant. That's how you know it's love...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Have I Mentioned I L.O.V.E Blogs???

More specifically, I am in love with every blog that allows me to be a voyeur into other people's lives adoption blogs :). About a month ago, I had written THIS blog entry of my own about "Gotcha Day Celebrations." If you are anything like me, you aren't going to click on the link. So, to summarize, we were a little uneasy about the phrase "gotcha day" because it can imply different things to different people (you really are going to have to click the link for more explanation, sorry). We are aiming to strive to use the "appropriate" language, not to be politically correct because that is rarely something I am successful at, but because we already respect our child (though we have yet to meet, hear of, or see pictures of), and we have immense, unspeakable respect and love for his/her birth family. The least we can do is to strive to use loving, words and language. 

Well, tonight, I was stalking reading a new (to me) blog. She and her family have decided to celebrate "Famiversary." The skies open up, the angels start singing... My dear husband LOVES to combine 2 words for a new word. i.e. Ginormous (giant/enormous--he claims he used this BEFORE Will Ferrel in 'Elf'), Shants (Shorts/Pants), Snart (Sneeze/Fart), Snurt (snow/dirt) ---FYI--I don't believe he made any of these up, but the man can say anything with conviction, and you start to believe it or just go with it or you will be talking about it for DAYS. So, I knew IMMEDIATELY that he would be 100% on board with "Famiversary" and so am I. We can mark the yearly anniversary of growing our family. Fantastic! Now, much like the woman who coined the term "famiversary" we need to pick exactly which day that will be. Humph. Read HER blog to find out why that is a chore. 

Gotcha Day 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend Book Review-- "Baby We Were Meant for Each Other" by Scott Simon

Scott Simon's book, "Baby We Were Meant for Each Other" was such a fun book to read. Simon allows the reader to learn about he and his wife's difficulty to conceive and on the journey to adopt 2 girls from China. He explores the natural beauty and miraculousness that is inevitably found in adoption, but he also tells of the emotional toll it can take on both parent and child. He is realistic in his tales. He talks of the search of ethnic identity for adoptees (both domestic and international), he discusses the questions of adopted children. There are stories of various adopted families within the book. The book is not Christian based, because as Simon tells you, his kids are half-Jewish. However, he did have an intellectual spin to each topic presented, and it was thoughtfully written. Truthfully, the book was a nice break from some of the heavier, bonding and attachment reading that comes with educating oneself about adoption. If you know me, I need to throw in a few laughs once in a while, too! :-)

November 7, 2010-- Orphan Sunday

We are away from home (visiting some pretty cute little nieces!), and will not be able to attend service at our church for "Orphan Sunday." I'm bummed on a couple of levels. This church is relatively new to us. We had decided to change churches (a rather long time ago), and we have been "church shopping" ever since. There really are a number of churches that fit our needs and teach the 'good word.' It is kind of a nice problem to have. I can't really say why we haven't pulled the trigger and officially joined. Part of me wants to be sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt that we won't be church shopping again in a year or two once we join. So, all that said... I'm curious if the church on the top of our list will recognize "Orphan Sunday." It isn't the end of the world if they don't, we would feel comfortable asking them to incorporate it in the future, BUT you know how sometimes we pray for 'signs' (even though we shouldn't), I was kind of hoping to see some major awareness about foster care, domestic and international adoption and child sponsorship this week, and that would be my sign that we FINALLY found THE PLACE.

Well, that ought to do it for this mornings discombobulated thoughts :-)  I will leave you with this...

Hope is Fading – Orphan Sunday from Allan Rosenow on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

November is National Adoption Month- Celebrating a Family for Every Child

Another Steven Curtis Chapman video as we kick-off November and National Adoption Month. I posted a link to Holt International on the right, in case you ever wanted to know more about adoption :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekend Book Review--"There Is No Me Without You" by Melissa Fay Greene

I think it is obvious that I use this blog for a number of reasons (all of them selfish). I use it to update friends and family on our adoption journey. I use it as a journal to chronicle events and feelings related to our adoption journey, and I want to use it as a keepsake for our child(ren) to look back on what we were up to when we were on our way to them. One of the things we have been up to is reading adoption related books. Amazon is onto me...all of the 'suggestions' they provide when I log in are adoption and child-rearing related. Smart folks over there at Amazon. I could save a ton of $ if I would just quit logging on. Trust me, my library card gets a regular work-out, but I like to buy the adoption books so I can shelve them, loan them out, and look back on them for reference.

The first book "review" I did was about Ashes to Africa and that post can be found HERE. Another book that I read early on in our adoption journey was There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene. I'm not sure what to say about the book other than it was life-changing for me. Where to even start? I am a fan of U2 and I don't live under a rock, so of course I knew/know of the AIDS epidemic ravaging Africa and her people. There Is No Me Without You was the first time that I realized what that really meant. I had never truly put a face and a life or lives to the crisis and that is what this book did for me. The statistics, tied with personal stories, contributing to the orphan crisis, truly put things in perspective for me. 

Haregewoin Teferra lived a "middle-class" lifestyle with her husband and 2 daughters in Ethiopia. After the sudden death of her husband and later, one of her daughters, she thought her own life was over. God clearly had different plans for her. The book chronicles how she became a foster mother to hundreds of Ethiopian children, many of them abandoned due to the AIDS crisis. She sacrificed and worked to care for and love these children. In return, they gave her a much needed, revived sense of purpose. The best way to learn about Waizero (Mrs.) Teferra's life and work??? Read There Is No Me Without You and search the website dedicated to the book HERE. Simply incredible, simply moving, simply love. In this book, I learned what it really means for one person to make a difference. 
I borrowed this image from the book website, but hopefully I don't get into trouble, because I'm promoting them and the book, right?!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not So Wordless Wednesday

Maura thought that if we gave Eskimo kisses it would warm our noses :)

Gabby was confused about taking a pic *with* Nana Pat

Elizabeth and her new glasses (she's not even giving the 'librarian' look!) and her treasured, Aunt Kara

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend Book Review

Reading is one of my favorite activities. I love curling up in bed before I slumber and doing some reading. It is also my favorite activity on snow days!!! Oh, and I like to read when I am lounging on my pink lawn chair in the summer (I'm guessing this activity will slow when the little one comes home, and I'm ok with that). Until then, I am going to keep on keepin' on. Thought I'd share some of the adoption related books I've been reading in the past year. Here it is:

Ashes to Africa by Josh and Amy Bottomly
This is one of the first books I picked up after we had decided to adopt from Ethiopia. It was a great read, because it gave us great perspective on some of the things we would encounter on our adoption journey. The Bottomly’s give a tender account about how they were led to international adoption as a couple. Their experience didn’t necessarily mirror ours (are there 2 stories that are exactly alike?), but it did have some striking similarities. It was nice to hear from a “typical” couple about their decision and journey to adopt (while celebrities can give an account just as striking, it sometimes strikes *me* personally as though some of those adoptions are for a statement-making reason…AND I could totally be wrong about this, because I don’t know Angelina Jolie or Madonna personally…)
Whether already in process or if adoption is just beginning to be laid on your heart, Ashes to Africa  is a book that will provide personal insight into the hearts and the process of adoption. Let’s give it 3.5 smiles :) :) :) :
Amy Bottomly’s blog is: http://www.bottomlysandethiopia.blogspot.com/ and the perk is…you get to see and read about Silas (the son who found his forever family in Ashes to Africa) and in the last few months, Silas has gained a cutie pa-tootie little sister, Olive! Yay!!!!!


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