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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Together Forever

From now on, July 23rd will be known as our Famiversary with Cupcake. We have decided not to reveal her name on the blog, but if you know me, and are my friend on facebook, you already know the cuteness that is her name. 

We are together, forever. Wow, that still doesn't feel real, and I can bet the dog wishes it weren't so. He is having a rough transition. He is obsessed with dirty diapers whether they are still worn or not. He wants to lick and sniff every inch of Cupcake and while she tolerates it well, he gets much to zealous for our liking. Of course, the moment we finally get him settled in, Cupcake goes looking for him to torment him (this beginning the cycle all over again). She isn't crawling, but she sure is a quick little inch-worm. 

We are getting her little body accustomed to the new time zone (as well as daddy's), but overall she is eating and sleeping like a champ. 

A few delicious pics for your consumption (I have yet to download any from her being home, those will have to be the next post!):

**We have changed the blog title. It is appropriate because we are quickly becoming master's of the peek-a-boo game, and it has a deeper  meaning for Cupcake. I can't believe that this blog is going to become more about being a family and the journey that encompasses, and less about the process (both legal and emotional) to bring our daughter to her new home. Yippeee!!!!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Horn of Africa is in Trouble

I've been reading the articles (when I could see straight) and I've been praying, but truthfully with not feeling well and stressing about K on the embassy trip without me (and me feeling sorry for myself), I've been a little too self-absorbed. Isn't that always the way? Hey, I'm a sinner. I try to work on that, but I fail, frequently. Fact.

So, it is time I paid some lip service to what is actually going on in the Horn of Africa. Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and ETHIOPIA are in trouble. There is a terrible, terrible drought going on. According to the World Health Organization, it is now affecting over 11 million people. 

The shortage of water has caused intensified fighting and is creating many refugees in Somalia, and these people are walking MILES and MILES to find water for themselves and their livestock. 

The lack of water means dead crops (which means less food, and there is already a shortage), and dead livestock (again, less food). 

This also means disease outbreak. When is the last time you worried you might have Cholera? Well, for me, that was never. There are about 4.2 million people facing a Cholera outbreak in Ethiopia right now. Measles is becoming a larger threat, also, which can be deadly to children. There is also fear of Polio. UGH!

I'm not writing this post for any reason other than to possibly inform someone, anyone that this is going on. It sure isn't making my nightly news program or daily newspaper front page. When I look at the globe it is so much smaller to me now, all because of our 10 month old daughter. I hear Ethiopia, and my ears immediately perk up. I suspect that is probably true for our family members and close friends. 

HERE is where I got most of the information I referred to.
HERE is another link about aid agencies needing financial help to help out the Horn of Africa. 

Maybe a video is more your thing:

The scary thing for me was that when I went to the hardprint and electronic version of my newspaper, there was not a single article about the drought. Not one. 

There are many aid agencies trying to get involved, and that is a good thing, but that takes $ and a lot of it. Since we have used World Vision in the past, and they are able to multiply donations by 5 for this situation, that sounded good to my ears. I'm not much of a give me/us/them your hard-earned $ kind of girl. However, I was thinking that even donating $5 in this situation makes it $25. That could be life-saving to someone. Life-saving. Just something to mull over. 

Here is the World Vision Link. If you have another organization that you know is doing amazing things for the drought, please leave it in the comments section! I'd love to check it out and I bet others would too! 

**Also, I'm going to be posting a photograph or two (tomorrow) of a pretty amazing little girl that has been going by the name of Cupcake for some months on this here, blog. Yesssssssss! (Guess, I couldn't make it a whole post without making it about me...unfortunately, I'm not terribly surprised.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy 10 Months, Cupcake!

Well, my darling Cupcake. The exciting thing is that this is the LAST EVER monthly update that I will write without being able to snuggle you immediately before and after! Seems like forever ago that we saw your sweet smile for the first time when you were just 4.5 months old, and here we are wishing you a Happy 10 months, and your daddy is bringing you home in ONE WEEK! 

Darling, Cupcake... please know that I would give all of my worldly possessions to be there with you right now. In the end, I truly realize that I wouldn't have made the long trip very successfully. I fought until the end though! In case you forgot, that pale (probably very nervous fellow) is your daddy. I hope you two enjoy snuggling and getting to know each other! When you get off of the plane, it's my turn...for like MONTHS, and then I might let your daddy have another turn ;).

We pray that you are feeling better each day and recovering from last week. I usually try not to wish away my days, but if I could super, fast forward this next week, I certainly would! 

One week and we will be a family in the same zip code (forever). I'm so sad for you to leave your amazing birth country and culture, but we promise to return with you (which isn't the same). I look forward to being your mommy, like a lot! We are going to have some fun times, and I won't throw too many tantrums if you won't, deal? 

I apologize to any readers (all 3 of you). I fear that this post seems disjointed, but frankly, I'm so tired it is hard for me to form thoughts. How is is that I'm exhausted, yet have difficulty falling asleep? Blah! Cautiously I say, I am feeling slightly better each day, and I have a ways to go, but for the first time I am convinced I'll get there. A few short days ago, I wasn't sure I was ever going to feel better! Thanks to all of you for the love, support, prayers, sweet messages, encouragement in all forms. It has ALL helped. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

One Stays, One Goes

Well, today marks the beginning of the very last step in our adoption journey. Our daughter is FINALLY coming home. I can't wait to begin the next part of our journey as a family under the same roof. 

Expectations are such a fickle thing. We have expectations of ourselves, our partners, co-workers, we place expectations on our wedding days, how and when we will start a family, etc. Is it just me, or are expectations usually off the mark? God either blows my mind away, or I set my sights way too high for anyone or anything to perform too? Either way, things rarely go as I expect. When I think back to 16 months+ ago when we officially submitted our adoption application, I remember my head and heart being full of these timelines and mental images of how things will go (mostly, I blame 'gotcha day videos' that only show the lovey dovey parts of adoption...I'm not stupid, but I think I was still duped). Well, I have realized in the last 2 weeks that I have anticipated and expected what it will finally feel like to walk off of the plane in our hometown with our first child. Mostly, I expected we would be exhausted, but blissful. 

Well, my expectations were wrong... it just isn't going to go down like that. After 3 trips to the Dr. and feeling worse and worse every day, it was discovered that I have mono. The Dr. was glad to pinpoint what was making me miserable, but felt bad that he could only send me off (knowing we were leaving for Ethiopia) by telling me to rest, get lots of water and pray. His poor nurse had to call me the next day (a Sunday) while I was on my way to the Emergency Room to let me know that I also have pneumonia. Surprise! Plus, I didn't just have any regular old mono. Without using all of the medical jargon, they basically said, I have every mono complication and am going to be feeling rotten for a while. 

The poor ER Dr. and nurse, I was a mess... they did a great job re-hydrating me, pumping me full of anti-nausea meds and antibiotics for the pneumonia. There was discussion of admitting me, to which I sobbed and begged no (they relented). Leaving out a few fun details here, but essentially, the decision was made that I wouldn't be making the trip to Ethiopia :(. Let's just call it Mom Fail #1. (I owe my oldest brother for rearranging his schedule last minute and flying out with K... I forgive him all of our childhood squabbles). My mother believes we should be making a movie about these two guys who have never parented a child before, taking custody of a 10 month old girl in a foreign country and then flying 24 hours. We shall see. 

Without getting too graphic, according to the one taking care of me, I've made some slight improvements...the only one that I notice is being able to eat a little. I hate to admit it, but the Dr. was right, I wouldn't have hacked the travel to Ethiopia (I can sit up for about 10 minutes...also a slight improvement). 

Turns out our Cupcake has recently been admitted to the hospital twice (which makes this all that much harder for me not be going). It sounds like she is doing better (PTL), but I would kind of like to see with my own 2 eyes. Originally, our plan was to wait it out a little for Dr. appointments upon bringing her home (we were hesitant to have one of her first experiences here be getting blood drawn and immunizations), but those are our stupid expectations again. Instead, she will be seen a few days after arriving, we need to make sure we can quickly get the issues resolved. 

In short, thanks for the prayers. I'll be posting some pics of her oh-so-adorable face as soon as K takes custody! She turns 10 months old on Saturday...glad her daddy will be there to give her some cuddles! Have I ever mentioned I have the greatest husband in the world? We bicker like the best of them, but let it be known... he is amazing, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't know it or how blessed I am to share my life with him, but he has pulled out all of the stops over the last week +. I love you, K! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I've Got a Fever

I really wish the cure was, MORE COWBELL! The Dr. says it is a virus, I believed that, but it just keeps coming back. Blah. I'm not sure how long those dishes have been in the sink, but I know they are going to be there a while longer! I'm confining myself to the couch and praying the ibuprofen breaks the fever once again. Until then, I thought I'd put up a photo from the 4th of July in NoDak. Okay, maybe more than one photo...

When my mom has all 4 of her kiddos in the same zipcode, she demands a picture. We agreed, some of us less willing than others...
It was so hot out, we were steaming up the camera lens! Probably the last photo as a family of 2!
Cutest Grandpa and Oldest Brother in all the land
Goofy little sis propping boyfriend's head for a photo op. No boyfriends were harmed in the snapping of this photo.
The cutest firecracker lighters in all the land. It makes me feel old that the little cousins aren't little...
When it is so windy that the Uncle needs to prop fireworks between many bricks, it is safe to say that someone may get hurt. I took this photo in case the Dr. or insurance company needed to see a re-creation of what went wrong...
 We hope you were able to celebrate America the Beautiful. Thanking God for the many blessings bestowed upon this country. We loved seeing everyone in our immediate families this weekend, even if we only got to spend limited time with some of them!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"What's In a Name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Did I ever tell you that I majored in English Education? I should mention here, that I probably shouldn't have. I still can't use a comma properly (I make my engineering husband, "Mr. Numbers" proofread my stuff...clearly not the blog, but other things...that's how bad I am). Well, I took a Shakespeare class, like any other self-respecting English major. So, in thinking about the name of our daughter, this above 'Romeo and Juliet' quote keeps coming back to me. I really think that Juliet was saying that the substance of someone matters, not what they are called. It's easy to agree with her logic. She was blind with young love. She didn't care what his name was, she loved him for who he was. Okay, let me bring the Shakespeare lesson back to the name of our daughter. 

Months before we knew if we would be referred a boy or a girl, we picked names like so many other expectant parents. We had many reasons for choosing a "new" name for out child and we knew we would use his/her birth name as a middle name. We were positive of our decision. We excitedly announced this to family and friends. Ever since February 11th, they have referred to our daughter by the name we chose. Well, this whole naming business just seemed so abstract before traveling to Ethiopia and meeting our daughter in person. It hit us so clearly that she has a history, her birth name has a beautiful meaning, she responds to her birth name, her birth name is full of beauty, her birth name was chosen out of pure love and adoration, she is going to lose her birth country, culture and everything familiar to her when we bring her to her new home to live with us. We discussed all of these things at length on our way back home from our court trip. Our decision was clear pretty early on, but nothing in this process has been without chaos, so I think the hardest part was pulling the rug out from our friends and family again. Well, friends and family...consider the rug pulled. We are keeping her birth name as her first name and will use the name we chose as her middle name, and no...it isn't Cupcake ;). Cupcake's birth name has a pretty cute nickname when you shorten it up, and we think it is kind of cute that it rhymes with her oldest cousin's first name (thankfully, she gave us her blessing over this...such a kind-hearted 7 year old). Everyone has hung in on this crazy journey so far, and after having told our family of our decision over the long weekend, and it going over fairly well, we feel confident that everyone will adjust. 

Thanks for all of your love and support in this process. It is impossible to measure what it has meant to us. We couldn't have come this far without you all! Leaving in just over a week to go pick her up! Woooo hooooo! (Still.must.buy.diapers.) 


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