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

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!!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Shall I Do With This Information? Play Blackjack?

No, this post isn't really about gambling, but I have to grab your attention somehow... Otherwise, you might think it is just more of my boring, random musings. Which, it is! Too late...you are already reading. 

Wanted to put out a quick update that we are OFFICIALLY #21 on the referral wait list! For those keeping track, (which might just be Kevin and I)- we started out at #38 in the beginning of August. It has been approximately 10 weeks on the list. If you have difficulty with math (which I do), we have dropped 17 spots. It is possible that I was a little bummed because I was kind of thinking we had moved into the teens. No, I don't know why I put these expectations on this process. Yes, I know that is stupid. No, I'm not going to stop doing that. I will work on just enjoying the ride (but it is hard to not yearn for the future in this process). Thanks for all of the continued prayers and encouragement!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Is It Called When People Voice What You Are Thinking When You Can't Put It Into Words Yourself? Let's Just Go With Divine...

Internal struggle over the last few months has been my guilt/anxiety/fear/desire/confusion about being a working mother. In many ways, this is not an issue for us to "work out" because we had a plan long before starting the adoption process about how we would work this out. The original "plan" was that I would keep working full-time when we had our first child. When #2 came along, it would depend how far apart the kids were in ages, but I would still work (at least part-time) and then we would figure things out from there. It is fair to say that I would like to re-visit the "plan." I know I complain about work, and being tired, and blah blah blah, but at the end of the day. I like working... I have a feeling that I might go nuts if I stay home full-time, but I also know that I already feel intense guilt about working and putting our child in daycare. No, I don't think daycare is evil. I have a working mom and she is pretty amazing. I have a great relationship with her. I have always known that I (and my siblings) were here priority over work. She still puts in mega-effort at her job, but the family was first...ALWAYS. (Do I just remember the house always being clean, too? She couldn't have worked all day and raised children and always had a clean house, right?) I can't even keep the house clean without kids around...I'm doomed in that department!

Interestingly enough, my mom is the only person that I have truly voiced my desires and concerns too. Part of me wants to stay home because, after this elephant's gestation period waiting for our little one...I don't want to turn around and put him/her in daycare, BUT I love my job (most days...today notwithstanding). Neither decision feels like the "right" one. I don't feel like my prayers have produced a clear path or answer either. Even K --a rather 'thrifty' guy responds, "We can make either decision work." That just isn't helpful!!!!!!!

Well, I love this blog: http://buildingtheblocks.blogspot.com/ and I think she wrote THIS post just for me (well, not really). It is about adopted children and daycare. It didn't necessarily give me an answer, but I felt a little more normal for having all of the questions I've been tossing around in my mind. 

What is your experience with daycare or staying at home with the kids? What worked for you what didn't? Was your daycare a center, in someone's home, in your home (nanny)? How did you feel? If you could do it over again, what would you do differently? Seriously, I need to start talking about this. I don't need anyone to TELL me what to do, I just need to think EVERYTHING through so that I can get comfortable with my emotions about it all. I'm trying to give it all up to the big guy (that would be God, K is referred to as Mr. Man or Nerd...not big guy), but I think he knows me well enough to know that I am an "information-gatherer." As always, hurtful comments need not apply. Not all criticism is constructive. Thanks in advance for your stories and comments!!!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

60 years?! How Did They Do That?????

Hammin' it up for the camera!
I've been asking myself all weekend, "What DOES it take to raise a family and have a healthy relationship, for 60 YEARS!?!?" I think this weekend was the true testament to that. There will be tears, lots of laughter, forgiveness, prayer and love...love...and more love. 

My grandparents have 7 sons. Yup, you read that correctly SEVEN SONS. Often, the response is, "Oh, your poor grandmother and all of those boys." First of all, "poor grandma nothin'." The woman is tough as nails with a huge heart. She also, ADORES those boys. When they are in the room, you can see the pride bursting out of her. It helps that they are all fantastic men. They are the most loving and hilarious uncles (and dad) a kid could ask for. It wasn't until I hit my late teen years that I realized that not all families are as obsessed with spending time together as mine. We don't all live in the same area, but that never stops them from planning a get-together!  I'm pretty excited for the addition to our family to experience the love and laughter of this group of people. 

I'm going to end this post with a little tribute to my G-parents:

1. I probably owe them for my dedication to my education. I always enjoyed school, but mostly for the social aspect. I did go through a period where actual learning and doing homework was not a real priority (don't worry--I still graduated high school with honors). I think, I would have tried to play hooky a little more often had it not been for my grandparents. When I was too young to stay home ill by myself, I would go to and be nursed by my grandmother. My grandfather was retired by this time, and his late morning ritual (after bowling or golfing, depending on the season) was to watch a little TV. The man wouldn't let me choose the channel. NOT ONCE. The ONLY silver-lining to being sick is watching TV. It isn't a silver-lining if that show is 'Perry Mason.' Blech. Hence, I'd rather go to school... I think I owe Perry Mason a little credit for my Master's Degree.

2. My grandparents were hard on their kids. They expected a lot out of them. Sometimes, those kids made mistakes and fell down. Sometimes, that kid was my dad. I have no doubt that my grandparents unconditionally love my dad and my mom. I have definitely made mistakes in my life. I'm not going to detail them here...I have to go to bed at some point, and even the internet doesn't have enough space for the mistakes I've made. The legacy my grandparents passed down...I know my parents love me despite my faults. It is a pretty great feeling. 

3. LAUGHTER. These people can tell a joke or story that will have you rolling from laughter. Admittedly, sometimes my grandpa tells jokes I don't understand. I'm not sure if anyone understands them. He just thinks that is even more hilarious and laughs harder. His laugh is contagious. Pretty soon you are laughing too, and it isn't until much later, that you think, "Hey, was he laughing at my stupidity and I joined in???" It's too late... 

I truly could go on and on and on...but for your sake, I won't (even though you probably quite reading 20 minutes ago).

People DO make it 60 years. It isn't easy, but it is worth it. I only pray that 55 years from now, Kevin and I have the type of family that can see our faults, faith and love and are there to celebrate all of the memories with us.

Stay tuned...there is a new # coming at the end of next week!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

If I Don't Say Anything...People Can't Get Offended, Right?!

I like love to talk (mostly about nonsense). I think I really am one of those people that does enjoy the sound of my voice. There have been times throughout this journey (so far) that have both left me speechless (which previously, had never happened to me). Also, there are times when this journey has forced me to take a cold/hard look at issues that I previously had the privilege to never think about. Sure, I took multicultural classes in college and graduate school. I read the books, wrote the papers, participated in class discussions, and then I went back to my little privileged world. Now, we are stepping into the realm of becoming a multi-racial family. We knew this when we signed up, but I don't think we really KNEW what that meant, and truthfully, we still don't (gasp). We have and are reading books (ok, sometimes I read them and summarize them for Kevin and then we discuss...Mr. Man is too much of an engineer, he likes looking at numbers, not words--don't worry...he has done *some* reading too). 

Let me switch gears for a second. I would like to do a couple of posts on race and ethnic issues (I primarily use this blog as a journal and outlet for myself), but tonight I was reading THIS article about the controversy over the phrase, "Gotcha Day" Gah! Just when I thought I was getting the hang of the appropriate adoption language!!!!! (i.e. birth family, adoption plan, etc). "Gotcha Day" is the phrase that some adoptive families use to commemorate the anniversary that an adopted child becomes part of the family. Some, maybe you are reading this and think that I sound like a complete moron for not realizing that phrase isn't necessarily all rose petals and rainbows. Well, I didn't realize that...OOPS!!!!! The article that I linked above by Karen Moline, made the argument that the term "gotcha" is akin to killing a bug and saying, "gotcha!" Some adoptees in the article voiced their opinion saying that, while the term "gotcha" is cute and cuddly for the adopted family, it is disrespectful to the birth family and the fact that while the adopted family "got you" the birth family "lost you" and in the case of international adoption, the adopted child lost their home country and culture. Whew, you still with me? I'm not even still with me...

While I'm not particularly attached to the phrase, "Gotcha Day," I was of the persuasion that it was kind of cute and cuddly and I had envisioned us having "Gotcha Day Celebrations." Now, not so much. This is why, sometimes, I think it would just be better if I stopped talking altogether. I hate the thought of saying something offensive, especially when I said it because I was just too ignorant to know better...such a yucky feeling! Well, not talking isn't an option. So, what do you think is a good phrase? We are going to celebrate and commemorate the day, but what should we call it?! Some alternatives I read in the article and have seen other places are, "Adoption Day" or "Family Day."  Family Day resonates with me because we could celebrate both families. (On that note, the only thing I have come up with is lighting a candle for the birth family and talking about them and praying for them).  So, here I am asking for thoughts, ideas, opinions!!!!

Do you have any creative thoughts/ideas on what we can call, "Gotcha Day," and what would be a fun way to honor the birth family of our child? Negative or mean comments need not apply, and be really careful with your 'constructive criticism,' I'm sensitive and not all criticism is constructive ;)

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Year Since "The Conversation" Began

October 2009 was the first 'serious' conversation that we had in regards to growing our family through adoption. I graduate with my Master's Degree in December '08. By October '09, I had begun my 2nd year in my 'dream job' as a Middle School Counselor. I was done traveling an hour away for classes a few nights a week. I was loving life, especially because Kevin was set to graduate with his Master's in December '09. We were going to have the type of marriage where we would see each other more than just on weekends for the first time. The knowledge of having time together made it possible for us to consider raising a family together. Very exciting!!!!

Truthfully, we were already aware that my getting pregnant would be a 'tricky' process. I will say, it probably isn't impossible for us to conceive biological children. For me, adoption has always weighed on my heart. It has always been something that I have envisioned as a large part of my family. There were times where I considered that I would have biological children and adopt down the road. Kevin and I had *planned* this for our family before we were even engaged or married. It took us MONTHS to decide whether or not we would pursue fertility treatments. We educated ourselves, spoke with medical professionals and prayed, prayed, prayed. To be honest, I prayed a little heavier that Kevin's prayers would lead him to the answer of adoption (I was suppose to be praying for an answer about how we should begin to grow our family, but I think that answer had come to me long ago). Poor Kevin, he never stood a chance :o!

It wasn't easy for me to sit around and wait for our hearts to be in total sync. I was in no way going to push Kevin into something that he wasn't 1000% sure he wanted. I wanted to know that 20 years from now, after the joys of family and the difficulties, that we could BOTH be positive that everything happened in His timing and will and not mine. During this time, I spent LOTS of time researching domestic adoption, international adoption, adoption agencies, etc. I compiled notes, lists, Pros, Cons, etc., etc., etc. Finally, in the middle of February of '10, Kevin came home from work, looked at me and quietly asked, "What would your response be if I said I want to grow our family through adoption?" I just about fell over. I was beginning to give up hope that we would ever be able to figure this out. We sat down that night with all of the information I had compiled. It took about 2 weeks to decide that we were going to adopt internationally from Ethiopia. A year later, we have completed ALL of the homestudy and immigration paperwork. We bought a new house in there somehow too. We have made it onto the referral wait list and currently sit at #30. What a difference a year makes!

God has done some pretty cool things in the beginning stages of us growing our family. He has definitely worked over our hearts in some amazing ways. I have only told all of what I wrote above about our adoption decision to less than a handful of individuals. However, I do want people to understand that in so many ways, THIS IS PLAN A!!!!!! Our choice to adopt is not 2nd best for us. This is THE CHOICE...the only choice. We are positive, beyond a shadow of a doubt that for possibly the first time in our marriage, we are following His will. We are in accordance with him, together...and it is GREAT!!!!!

I thought I'd leave this post with a couple of videos that were in many ways influential for us. I hope you find them just as inspiring!

We had already decided on international adoption and Ethiopia when we saw this video for the first time, but it somehow confirmed this beautiful journey for us. The blog for this sweet family can be found at: http://weloveourlucy.blogspot.com/

This video with Steven Curtis Chapman helped me realize that if his daughter's prayers could work over the heart of he and his wife, my prayers could definitely have the same power! A shout-out about his wife's incredible book- "Choosing to SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman--I'm not done, but I've cried before the first chapter concluded...WOW!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Only Watch This if You WANT a Good Cry...

I'm not going to list ALL of my addictions, BUT reading the blogs of others is probably at the TOP of the list. Many times, I am able to feed my 2nd addiction, and that would be watching "Gotcha Day" videos that families put together while they are cocooning at home with the newest little blessing in the family. I have a couple of personal favorites, but the one I just watched had me choked up bawling my eyes out. The cry was both cathartic AND had me remarking, "Ugh, can they just CALL with OUR referral already?????" Yup, it will be 2 months of "official waiting" this Wednesday. We have moved up (unofficially) to #30! That is 8 spots in 8 weeks. Yay for 8 kids being matched with their forever families! If we have to wait another 30 weeks, well, let's just NOT go there, ok? 

We thank you for continued prayers for "Baby Vando" and his/her birth family. So often, I just find myself asking God to let my prayers stretch across the ocean and let them know His love and ours. 

Shopping for a Cause, Buying with Purpose

Someone showed me how to add a 'widget' (at least I think that is the techie name) to my blog. This gives a look at where in the country/world people are tuning into the blog from. Most of my visitors are from Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota (because that is where the bulk of my 'peeps' live). The word has been spreading, and lately... I've noticed kind of a boom. All of these new visitors were being directed from a blog I'd never heard of. Well, I headed on over to check it out. I was amazed at what I saw. With the help of a friend and her sister-in-law, the 'DomesticatedDiva' had compiled a list of awesome links and products where the proceeds would go to help out with the Orphan Crisis, namely--supporting families with their adoption expenses. What an awesome idea, and just in time for Christmas shopping (one of my personal favorite past-times). I thought the least I could do (since our funky, green t-shirt was included on the list) was to pass along the list. Admittedly, I just copied a pasted below. Enjoy!!!

...with the help of her SUPER Sister-in-law, has created CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!!! Seriously! HONESTLY - No need to leave your office, room, den, kitchen, bedroom, phone... THIS IS where IT'S AT!!!  :)  I would get started now... or PASS ON THIS INCREDIBLE 'IDEA' this YEAR... To make your GIFT GIVING - GIVE back!!! ...You are a HAPPY consumer and your recipient will FEEL Sincerely BLESSED; That WHAT you purchased went towards an ORGANIZATION, ADOPTION, MINISTRY or an OUTREACH to HELP those in NEED!!

We may not all be pursing adoption personally -  but... GOD has TOLD all of us to CARE for the widows and the orphans and the POOR and the NEEDY!! 

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.

If you would like YOUR fundraiser to be added to this list, please email Miss Mamamimi herself at bringourangelhome@gmail.com




Bags & Totes:

Hair Accessories:








Sunday, October 3, 2010

Have You Ever Been to Chuck E Cheese?!?!

For the first time, I can answer "yes" to this question. I grew up in a small town, and there was no Chuck E Cheese. In fact, eating out once a month (on payday) was considered quite a treat when I was growing up. I fulfilled a childhood dream this Saturday, and I used my sweet, 6 year old niece as the excuse. I think after 3 hours of skee ball, laughing and having a grand old time, it became pretty clear I was having an even better time than my niece! It is possible that a couple of Kevin's cousins have picture evidence of me going buckwild...and those pics will never be shown if I get my way (smile). 

This blog is largely about our adoption journey and journey to grow our family. Something that I realized about children this weekend is the INCREDIBLE power that they have (especially over me). My nieces lifted my spirit in a way that I didn't even realize I needed! Clearly, I got to act like a kid at Chuck E Cheese, but we also did a little girly shopping, painted our nails with glow in the dark polish, slept in bunk beds and got to do some fun craft projects. LOVE! I consider my one-month-old niece to still be kicking butt and taking names. She is a gorgeous, head-turner that one! Like I said: spirit lifted!

In other news, we have a new "official" #...32!!!!! I posted before that I considered us unofficially #31...wouldn't be the first time I was accused of being poor with math skills. If I can get my act together, I think I will make the next post little blurbs of all of the adoption related books I've been reading (that will be a long post...there are a LOT of books, and I LOVE to read!)

Evidence of a craft project. The listed age was 3+...show me a 3 year old that can make the hate like that, and I will show you a craft genius...that stinker was HARD! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...