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

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. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Still a Rookie

After having Cupcake home an entire YEAR, I was reminded today that I am still a parenting rookie. I learned this lesson in a courtroom. In front of lawyers and a judge and a court reporter. We re-adopted Cupcake today. I'll get to that part. First, I'd like to air my shame as my daughter, basically tried to blow snot rockets in the courtroom in front of the judge, and I had NO TISSUES. I didn't even have wipes. I figured we weren't even going to be in the courthouse long enough to warrant bringing the diaper bag. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I did have a spare diaper in my handbag, so I had her finish blowing into that. If you have tips on getting the message across to a toddler that it is customary to use the tissue, THEN blow, I'm all ears. She does this backwards, quite a bit lately since she is teething and has a really congested nose. It's awesome. Don't visit our house for another week, I'm trying to keep up with all of the snot. Parenthood is glamorous.
Re-adopt you ask? Yes, we adopted her in Ethiopia last May, she became a citizen of the United States when she went through customs exactly ONE YEAR AGO today. When she was adopted (the first time) it is customary in Ethiopia for the middle name of the child to be the father's first name. Poor thing. We couldn't let her live her life with THAT as HER middle name. So, we went through the 'readoption' process which meant furnishing all of our paperwork, financial information, etc. to our lawyer and the court. She will now get a state issued birth certificate in the mail, and we were able to change her middle name in the process. It was a lovely way to commemorate her being home for one year. My mother asked, "Okay, so does this mean you are finally done with all of the red tape for her adoption." The answer? "Nope." Now, we wait for her birth certificate to be issued, change the name on her social security card, certificate of citizenship and then just for giggles we will apply for a passport, because if there is one thing we love around here, it's paperwork. Said in the tone of someone with lots of papercuts, eye-rolling and dripping with sarcasm. Honestly, the hoops are nothing compared to the joy and miracle of parenting this kid. Don't ever let the hoop jumping stop you from adopting, just know there will be days when it feels like the process is never finished, but parenting itself is never done either. I recommend just getting a really nice, fire-proof filing cabinet, a fun, cute label-maker and pretty files. Might as well add some sparkle to the paperwork.

Our original plan for the last few months was to head to Chicago and do all of our favorite touristy things there to celebrate our FAMIVERSARY. Have I mentioned it is my favorite city in the middle states? It is. I love it. A lot. Then, we ended up getting our court date assigned for today, which wasn't all bad, until we had another setback. More on that later. We're coming back someday Chicago, hopefully sooner, rather than later. 

I sent K a text message last year when he was in Chicago that I would have a large diet coke with ICE waiting for him at the airport, but he had to immediately hand over Cupcake to get it from me. Also, my dad in the green is just slightly emotional about the homecoming. I love him.

A couple of things to point out. 1. I'm smiling, but I felt rotten from mono still. I'm also in denial and still think parenting is all sunshine, rainbows and roses. It's actually a lot of poop and snot. FYI. 2. K looks awesome from traveling with a toddler for 24 hours +. 3. I didn't notice this until a couple of weeks/months later, but Cupcake is clearly petrified. She is one brave little girl. It breaks my heart to look at the photos from this day, because of how fearful she looks.
I still think they make the cutest 'gay-dad' family from Embassy day. Next time, my brother says he is wearing a shirt that says, "I'm the uncle"

We had an awesome judge this morning. She also had on really expensive shoes. Too bad she has to sit behind that desk where nobody gets to enjoy them! K was supposed to earn a 'prize' by using lines from "A Few Good Men" in his testimony. He chickened out. In his defense, it probably wasn't a wise idea for me to encourage him to say things like, "You can't handle the truth" and "You're G** D**** right I did." Couldn't help myself. It's my favorite movie.

We don't have photo evidence of the snot rockets, but here we are outside the courtroom with a new middle name!

Proof that she is a complete ham for the camera and has adjusted well in the last year. No fear in this photo, just a look of complete confidence.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Smelling Misir Wat

The hubby made Misir Wat for a work potluck. It tastes fantastic. The house still smells like Berbere and Cardamom. Smelling those wonderful spices brings this back to mind, which has me giggling like a fool to myself.

Hard to Believe...

I still cannot believe that 1 year ago yesterday my oldest brother and favorite husband left for Ethiopia to attend the Embassy appointment for Cupcake and bring her home. My mind is boggled just trying to remember all that took place leading up to them leaving. When we left the ER last year, after begging to not be admitted to the hospital, it was clear that the Dr.'s were right, and I was in no shape to travel. When we asked my brother if he would go to Ethiopia on a moment's notice, he didn't hesitate. He was immediately rushing around to get all of his immunizations (which probably made him feel a little funky on the trip). I'll forever be grateful to him. 

1 year later, Cupcake is completely attached to her daddy. She throws a parade every day when he gets home from work. She manipulates him into not being put into a shopping cart, or being put down by just snuggling her face into his neck and wrapping her arms around him. It works, every.single.time. When she sees her Uncle T, she has a huge smile for him. It often takes her a bit to warm up to people she doesn't see every day, but not him. She is in love with the 2 men that entertained her in an Ethiopian guest house and a 24 hour airplane trip. 

I am pretty much in shock that we are already going to be celebrating our 1 year home, Famiversary. What an incredible year it has been. Blessed.

***I wrote and posted the following, 1 year ago***

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, June 27, 2012

Fungal Fighter

I need YOUR help. Yes, you. AHOPE is a place in Ethiopia that cares for children with HIV. I took this little blurb directly from AHOPE's website: "As we move towards our tenth anniversary, AHOPE for Children and AHOPE Ethiopia are at a cross in the road. When AHOPE started, we were fundamentally a hospice – where children would be cared for in the time before their death. But with the advances in HIV treatment, PEPFAR, and the increased sanitation measures in Ethiopia, our children are living and it is our responsibility to give them a future. We have adapted from our early hospice days into so much more."

AHOPE is currently caring for 205 children. Yesterday, they put out a call for help with a supply drive. These kiddos live in close quarters. They inevitably get things like cuts and scrapes. They share their toys, which means they share other things like colds and skin fungal infections. AHOPE for Children is in need of anti-fungal creams. It is my goal to collect 100 tubes of Tinactin or Lamisil for AHOPE. I need your help!

1 tube costs about $9.50. I already have 4 on their way from a couple of lovely women, so I only have 96 to go! Would you be able to help? You can leave a comment with your e-mail address. Let me know if you want to order some Lamisil or Tinactin on Amazon and have it shipped to me and I'll give you my address. You can use paypal and send me a few dollars and I'll purchase the tube on your behalf. You can mail me a check. You can pray that I can accomplish this, because I struggle with failure. I'm a bit of a control freak. I'll take any help I can get. If you can't afford a whole tube, but want to help, just donate $5. I can add that with someone else's $5 and purchase a tube that way. 

Seriously... these kids are worth it!

Friday, June 1, 2012


We traveled over this long weekend for Cupcake's baptism. We decided to have it in a location closer for family to travel to, because it was so important for us to have them there to share in the day. I have a WONDERFUL sister-in-law (I recommend everyone get such a selfless person in their lives. I need to remember to give to her instead of always taking from her, but she makes it so darn easy because she is so loving and selfless). I love my brother, and the best decision he ever made was asking her to marry him. She set up using their church on a Saturday afternoon, and at my request she even arranged for her parents to make the trip so her dad could perform the baptism. He baptized 3 of my nieces AND he baptized ME when I was a 5th grader, so it meant a lot to me to have him there for Cupcake's baptism. He was wonderful. He had me crying in the first 3 seconds of talking to Cupcake. He told her, "You don't know me, but I know you. I know all about you. I know that you are a brave and smart little girl. I know that you are loved and that you are an answer to prayer." That is some serious truth right there. If I have ever questioned the faithfulness of God (which, let's be honest... I totally have), I need to go no further than Cupcake's smile, her sneaky shenanigans, the way she SCREAMS the second her daddy opens the door when he comes home from work, and especially her need for snuggles when she falls off of something she was warned MULTIPLE times not to climb on...all that, was an answer to our prayers. Then, he talked to her/us about God's love and grace for her. I was sniffling so loudly I couldn't hear all of the words... 

Then, we had cake and little tastes of some Ethiopian food. I think the berbere spice and injera won over some of the family. Nice! We took some pictures, but :::ahem::: I look like a complete knob in all of them. I had a bit of a toothache that started last Tuesday. It was the kind of thing that made me stop and think, "I have a dental cleaning in a couple of weeks, I'll have to mention that I have some soreness in my front tooth. Same thing on Wednesday. Late Thursday morning, I was experiencing some pretty righteous pain and my brain finally kicked in and told me to get a dentist appointment. Well, I couldn't get in until the following coming Tuesday. At the time, it was a bit of an annoyance, but Ibuprofen took the edge of pain away and I figured if I just continued a steady diet of that, I would be fine until my appointment. Oh, dear. I was wrong (this is what I get for getting frustrated with my mother who told me I needed to push the issue with the dentist and get in right away. I told her to quit treating me like a child. Will I NEVER learn?) Starting Friday night, my lip had become a tad swollen. It still wasn't completely unbearable, but I looked a bit goofy. No big deal. Saturday morning, the swelling had increased, hence looking like a knob in all of the photos. We took to calling it the "stroke lip" with nothing offensive meant toward anyone who has actually suffered a stroke. It was the only way to describe my brain not being able to get the left side of my mouth to smile. HOLY FRUSTRATING and a bit painful. Let's just end the 'tooth story' by saying I did end up trekking the ER because it was the only thing open on a long, holiday weekend. I got some antibiotics, then when we came home I went to my dentist appointment, had some pus drained (ew, sorry), and then I visited an endodontist (sp?) later that day for my very first (and hopefully very last) root canal. Let this be a warning to you, dear reader(s): diet coke is not a substitute for water, and trauma to your teeth 8 years ago can still cause problems years later (ask me about the pool and dumpster story sometime). I really, really felt the need to get that story out there, because really, I was happy in the photos, it is just difficult to tell!!!!

My cutie pa-tootie wearing a dress (the shoes I bought) and she is walking now! I'm going to start calling her Curlz

My happy place is anywhere tropical. Cupcake's happy place? Daddy's arms.

She thought the whole water part was pretty fantastic...

We had her change out of her Ethiopian dress, because if she would have accidentally spilled on it, I would have cried.

Good shot of the 'stroke lip'
 A huge thank you to all of our family members for coming! They are my every day heroes and inspiration. Also, a huge thank you for the baptism gifts. We raised about $200 for FOVC!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

525,600 Minutes

One year ago or 525,600 minutes ago, we met our daughter. Our daughter. Still seems surreal at times. She has been with us just shy of 10 months and she turned 20 months old yesterday. There are days where I look into her eyes and my own well up with tears because I'm so overcome with how blessed I am to parent her. I am struck each time I look at a picture of her first mom and am reminded that they share an exact smile and cheeks and their eyes light up the same. We have hard days. Don't ever let me give you the impression that adoption is easy. It is easy to share the easy parts, it is hard to share the hard parts. Besides all of that, parenting is hard. Adoption and parenting are equally the most difficult and most beautiful things that have EVER happened in my life. 

One year ago, meeting our daughter for the first time was the greatest thing I could have ever imagined. Leaving her behind was difficult. We are so blessed to have shared the last 10 months together. Amen, amen, amen.

I'll spare anyone reading this all 160 pictures and just pick a few to share. Does anyone else keep singing, "Seasons of Love?" Maybe it's just me...

 Below is my post from that travel day 1 year ago...

**These are based on my thoughts and feelings while on our trip. Some events may come across clouded and foggy due to our high emotional state while encountering each event.**
 First, the phrase, "our daughter" still seems surreal, but it feels so good coming out of my mouth.

I think I slept a total of 2.2 hours all night, and not in a row. Seriously, no exaggeration. I was so excited to meet CUPCAKE. I was worried we would oversleep. I was worried about not sleeping at all and then being sleepy on the drive when I wanted to take everything in. I was worried that I would get sick on the drive (because I'd heard it isn't exactly smooth, but I'm not a carsick person). Turns out, when I finally fell asleep, we did sleep right through the alarm clock. UGH! I KNEW IT! Luckily, without even making a request, the Guest House staff called our room at 5am to make sure we were up. Thank you, Jesus! We both got ready in 30 minutes, ran down to eat breakfast and into the van with the 2 other couples making the trip to Durame with us. 

I never did get carsick on the drive. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. I think those that are prone to carsickness may have some difficulty with the quick slams of the breaks (so livestock aren't hit), but the last 25 km or so is where the roads aren't paved, and it is actually kinda bumpy. Other than that (I felt) it was smooth sailing. It IS an extremely emotional ride. One can't help but think about FINALLY reaching your child in mere hours/minutes when the wait has been a year/month/weeks/days. I was constantly trying to take in the sights, sounds and smells of our daughter's birth country. I didn't have a great vantage point for photos, not that I take great photos anyway.

I was SHOCKED by the amount of people and livestock along the road. I am convinced that we knicked a cow's leg, but nobody believed me... The entire drive, I couldn't get Sara Grove's song, "I Saw What I Saw" out of my head. There was literally a soundtrack for how this experience was changing me, and it was playing on loop in my head the entire time. Indescribably feeling. People were constantly on the trek for water. We were able to observe some people taking their water canisters to the nearby well for safe drinking water, but I saw countless people filling their canisters up in puddles and rivers that I am convinced that I wouldn't want to put my shoe in, and they are going to consume this water. This sight literally froze me in fear. Speaking of shoes, there were so many people without shoes! To think, I spent 2 weeks making sure I bought the "perfect Africa shoes," you know, functional, quiet and cute! I disgust myself. Children without pants, children not at school. We also observed many kids walking to school in their oh-so-precious school uniforms. I have students that won't walk a block to school because it is raining out (seriously, I picked up an 8th grader a month ago because he didn't want to walk in the rain). Hmmmmm, these kids were literally walking MILES in uniforms!

I realized that I have a very strong bladder on this trip. I never did have to use a "porcelain hole" on the trip. I just held it as often as possible. :)

We arrived in Durame, we had lunch (spicy spaghetti) at the Durame Hotel. Families used to stay there following their orphanage visit. The hotel is no longer able to "accommodate the needs" of groups like ours. The hotel was not 4-star, and indoor camping probably is an accurate term, but the staff was so helpful, kind and friendly while we were there. I definitely would have spent time in our daughter's birth area and with these people for a night! Especially as it would have meant the opportunity to see her for a brief period in the morning. 

FINALLY, we got to head to the orphanage (PC term= care center). All 3 kids were in a "playroom" when we walked in. I was already crying which meant my vision was blurred, and I couldn't recognize HER right away. MAJOR PANIC for a second there as that was my BIGGEST FEAR, as the photos we had of her were 4 months old. Suddenly, my tears cleared enought for me to see she was the cute bundle all in pink. Her hair was in 2 mini-puffs (pig tails for the white folk). MELT. MY. HEART.
Here we go...
At first, I could tell she wasn't sure what to think of the 2 crazy ferenjis holding here and cooing at her. She didn't quite want to make eye contact. Luckily, I had mentally prepared for the fact that while I had been falling in love with her photo for 3 months, she had no idea we existed. She just kept focus on the familiar faces in the room. Slowly, she started to explore my hair, face and jewelry with her hands. Shortly thereafter, she was smiling and giggling with us, and she is a a big fan of making this goofy grunt/squeal. It is precious. She doesn't have any teeth, yet. She was sucking away at her sleeve, hand, and then gnawing my fingers, so I think we have teeth in the nearby future. The nannies noticed that she was hungry (either this was a sign I missed, or it was a scheduled feeding time). There was an awkward moment because her "main Nanny" either didn't want me to do "any work," or she was feeling protective of 'cupcake' and wanted to be the one to feed her. The Ethiopian people (in my experience) definitely go out of their way to lend a hand or meet a need, but I felt like this particular interaction was the nanny wanting to care for her girl. It is a beautiful thing how much the nannies at the orphanage care for their little people in their charge. Cupcake has many people in her life that love her dearly. I was grateful with a capital "G" when the head nurse insisted that I be the one to feed her. BEST. FEELING. EVER. to feed our daughter for the first time. Most of the pics of me feeding her are horrible because I'm doing what Oprah calls the "ugly cry." 
We can't show Cupcake's identity until we take custody of her on the 2nd trip. Cutest foot ever, no?!
Cupcake fell asleep 3/4 of the way through her bottle. She was OUT for the next 45 minutes. The nannies were worried that I would be upset that she was sleeping and not playing. So not the case! It was her normal nap time. We were told that she is a great sleeper. I may have trouble falling asleep, but usually, once I'm out, I'm OUT. Daughter/mother traits, ya know?! With her sleeping peacefully, we got free reign to check out her fingers (10), toes (10), belly button (innie), hair (so soft and long and continuing to grow), eyelashes (insanely long...I love when babies have long eyelashes), ears (2), lips (puffy, kissable...she is always making a "kiss face" because the naturally stick out), knees (cute baby knees...no chub rolls, though), ankles (skinny). She really has no major health concerns. There are a few things that we will be having checked out once home. I can't help but think about the 'checklist' that we filled out (what seems like eons ago) about possible health concerns that we were open to as a part of the adoption process. Somehow, we were referred a child that seems to be healthier than we are! ;)
Oh, how I long to hold this hand...
While she was sleeping, a 5 year old boy came into the room. He saw K was free and grabbed his hand to play. (Anyone reading this who gets our agency e-mails...he is the featured waiting child of the week). Melt. my. heart. K got out some fruit snacks out of my bag for him. He wasn't quite sure what they were. K opened the bag and he peered into it trying to figure out what it was all about. K tried to dump them out in his hand, and he snatched the bag back. He, oh-so-carefully plucked one out of the bag, and then the best thing happened. Instead of consuming all of the fruit snacks, he ate just one and then ran into the hall to summon his roommates/friends. He shared with all of them. PRECIOUS. We made sure each kiddo had their own bag of fruit snacks and one of the other couples in our travel group had other yummy treats for the kiddos. They LOVED it. That little guy stole my heart. I didn't really discover the waiting child photo-listing until after we had our referral. I 'knew' what it was, but hadn't really taken the time to investigate. Ignorance is bliss, I guess. This little boy's smile stole my heart a few months ago, and now his personality has stolen my heart in person. We pray over the children on the photo-listing to find families. I can't get this particular guy off of my heart and mind. I keep telling K that I pray his family comes for him SOON, and if not, then I have to think it is us, and we will be starting this process over, ASAP. Ha! I can see the fear in his face when I say these things, but interestingly enough...he has never said, "No." :)

 Cupcake awoke again as our time together (for now) was nearing its end. We took more pics (we discovered when we were home that in 2 hours we had snapped 160 pics and taken 4 videos... Ha! We are THOSE parents. We said a prayer together and heart-wrenchingly handed her back. I immediately put on my sunglasses as I started to cry, and I walked outside. I was putting my shoes back on and I could hear the giggles and good-bye calls from the window form the fruit snack and candy sugared up little peoples. Couldn't help but smile through my tears. 
All of that hair! Oh hurt me, cute...
We handed out more snacks to the kiddos in the neighborhood of the care center. We piled back in the van as sadness and exhaustion set in. All voices were silent. We embarked on a different route than the one that brought us to Durame. This one included 35 km of bumpiness on unpaved roads. It was telling that everyone in the van (except for the driver and myself) feel asleep on these roads. It was the perfect illustration of how emotionally drained everyone was. 

It took about 2 hours to get to Awassa. We stayed at the Lewi Hotel. My preference would have been to just get all the way back to Addis, but I'm certain the driver was fried from the days travels, and it is probably not recommended to drive on these livestock filled roads in the dark! The Lewi was a nice hotel, but the room was super stuffy. Couldn't really open a window because we were right on a busy street. 

I've loved every inch of Ethiopia and its people. The only thing I was missing at this point was our daughter in my arms and some Diet Coke. :) 2 more sleeps until court!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Have you ever been in a situation where someone gives you a beautiful and meaningful birthday gift, but you remember that 3 months earlier you remember you gave them a cheeseball birthday card and costume jewelry from Target (which for me are some of my favorite gifts, because I love to see what people pick out for me?. It just feels like you are on unequal footing. You wish you would have given them something more meaningful.

That is the closest way that I can describe our relationship with Cupcake's birthmother. She gave us the gift of parenting Cupcake. We get to receive "snugs" from her every day. We get to laugh when she twirls around until she decides to try and walk a straight line but runs into stuff. We get to watch her walk backwards down our front sidewalk (no idea why she prefers to walk backwards instead of forward). We get to kiss her tears away. We get to read stories, sing songs, say prayers and snuggle her to sleep every night. In return, we pray for Cupcake's mom every night. We try to honor her in loving the daughter we share fiercely. We delight in every silly thing she does, and we know that she and her first mother share the same blindingly beautiful smile and eyes that light up. 

Today is what is known as Birth Mother's Day. We thought of Cupcake's first mom today just as we do every day. We honor her today, tomorrow on Mother's Day and every day after that. 

We decided to send up one of those wishing lanterns into the night sky. It seemed sort of symbolic in the sense that while she is 9,000 miles away, we live under the same sky and love our daughter together. Of course, the symbolism was less whimsical when we were able to see the lantern come down in the nearby farm field, and the husband literally went over there with a fire extinguisher to ensure we didn't accidentally start an uncontrolled burn on someone's farm. Nevertheless, we tried. :::sigh:::

 Happy Mother's Day whether you are a mother, a first mother have children in heaven, have a mother in heaver or are desperately aching to be a mother. It is a beautiful and difficult holiday for so, so many. I personally avoided church and any establishment where children would be on the last couple of mother's days. May you find your joy in the beauty from ashes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Can I Ask You a Question?

I get annoyed when people respond, to that with, "You just did." Yes, yes, I KNOW. I am just terrible at the creating a segue especially into awkward or difficult conversations, and as a school counselor, I talk about a LOT of awkward stuff! So, more accurately, I have a couple of awkward questions.

First, have you ever heard of Birth Mother's Day? I hadn't either until recently. Apparently, this day started gaining momentum in the early 1990's, and continues each year to become more well-known. It is celebrate in May, the Saturday before Mother's Day which is a on a Sunday (May 13th this year, so Birth Mother's Day is May 12th). Here is a bit more information on Birth Mother's Day.

I certainly think Birth Mother's should be celebrated. More accurately, we refer to Cupcake's birth mom as her first mom. Don't gasp, this doesn't make me feel like a lesser person to be the 'second mom.' In fact, it is just math (which I'm terrible at, but I know I have this equation right). First, there was her and now there is me and together, we have one stinkin' amazing kiddo! The only time I get a little peeved is when people ask if Cupcake has a REAL mother. What? Am I imaginary? She has 2 REAL mothers. The only difference is that I am standing in front of you when you ask things like that and will roll my eyes at you and sigh in annoyance, you are welcome (clearly, I'm mature beyond my years). Nerds... I'm already off topic. Again, first mother's/birth mother's should certainly be celebrated, because without them, families like mine certainly wouldn't exist. We had been futilely trying to come up with a way to honor Cupcake's first mother on Mother's Day. We can't call and chat with her, but we wanted to do SOMETHING and start a tradition.

So, my second question is, do you have any ideas on how we can honor Cupcake's first mother? I harassed my cousin who is my fountain of good ideas in unique situations. Her ideas were: writing a note, attaching it to a balloon and having a little balloon release, making handprints to send to her first mother when we send things (in the fall hopefully), or to create a care package for a young mother. All really fantastic ideas. The only one I had come up with previously was to plant a flower, shrub or something and just talk about her while we do it. Who else has an idea? 

Third question, do we have to have a separate day for birth mother's? Shouldn't we honor them on Mother's Day? On one hand, they are special people and do deserve their own day, but on the other hand it almost feels like a "separate but equal" issue and in my mind that phrase does not have a positive connotation. I mean really, is it ever equal? My mind is a cloudy mess trying to figure this out. Give me your opinion, please!? Please??!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Where Does the Time Go?

Oh me, oh my. We have been a family of 3 in the same house for 9 months and we have a 19 month old. I'm stuck in a vicious cycle of wanting to stop Cupcake from growing, but also working hard to do everything we can to keep her growing and healthy. The husband said the other day, "Would you stop getting teeth? They change the look of your face, where is my baby going?"

So, April brought Easter and we were thankful to spend it with the husband's side of the family. 'Tis a beautiful thing to spend a holiday with the ones you love. 
Cousin K, Grandpa and I played with the plastic eggs together.

We had the hotel clerk take our picture :)

The gang...

One of our favorite middle size people...
 The husband and I both turned 29 last month. Ewwww. Really? We are getting kinda old and crusty! Our birthdays are 3 days apart and buying gifts for each other as married people with joint checking really loses the appeal in comparison to when we were just dating, am I right? So, we always try to do something together, which usually means a little trip somewhere. Neither of us had ever been to St. Louis and it isn't a destination that is difficult for us to get to. However, the weekend of our birthdays we had an opportunity to visit family and that takes precedent. So, we canceled our plans to visit the Lou and headed to spend time with family. We decided a bit last minute this month to check out the Lou a few weekends ago as a belated birthday present to ourselves. We took Cupcake, of course. It was our first trip somewhere which didn't include a family gathering. We used to stay out late, go, go, go all day when we took these types of trips. Not the case anymore! We had to stop because someone demanded nap time, regular feedings, reasonable bedtime and child friendly activities. It was fun to get away together and do our own thing. We took lots of pictures, but I won't bore with all of them. Also, there will be no photos of the zoo excursion because we got poured on for about 2ish hours which made me cranky and fearful that Cupcake would develop pneumonia no matter how hard we tried to keep her dry. She wasn't particularly bothered by the rain...

We met up for dinner with some friends who have the 2 cutest Ethiopian boys! This is technically an outtake from the pictures we took of the three of them together, but it showcases their personalities so well that I think it is my favorite!

We were up really high in the Gateway Arch! Cupcake was not bothered by this fact...

Feeding the fish near Union Station.

This particular area at the Magic House kept Cupcake busy for a long, long time. I'm contemplating putting in various lightswitches at little person height in the house... She would get angry with other kids that wanted to try the lights...

Cupcake went down this slide about 4,092 times. She was this dramatic every.single.time.

Cupcake could have cared less if it was a magical dragon that pooped rainbows taking us on a carriage ride or our horse, Wyatt. We really need to step up our game to impress this kiddo... like little person height lightswitches.

Just a fun fountain with a neat shot of downtown St. Louis.
We currently have no trips planned until later in May... crazy! Multiple weekends in a row at home? We might actually have to do some landscaping, or finally clean out the basement! Until next time!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Under the Wire

I've been a once a month blogger these days, so I better get this March update in before April is here tomorrow!

First, let's talk for a minute about the future. We are going to have Cupcake Dedicated/Baptized at the end of May. In honor of the occasion, we are asking our family and friends to donate to FOVC instead of giving gifts. Don't remember what FOVC is? You can ready about it HERE.

If you would be interested in contributing in honor of Cupcake's Dedication/Baptism, you can go HERE. Thanks in advance. We are continuously amazed by all those that surround our family with pure love. 

Ashley Oberholtzer Photography did our 18 month pictures. I suggest you check her out, because she so clearly captured Cupcake's personality! You can find her HERE or HERE.

Next, we have a shot from the St. Patty's Day parade.

We also visited some of our favorite little people, our cousins! They took us to a really neat park and we all had so much fun!

We gave visiting the Easter Bunny a shot. We were pretty sure that Cupcake was not going to love it, so we thought it was perfect when a friend told us The Lions Club was going to have an event for free. We have started saving for therapy for this deep, tragic moment.

That pretty much sums it up for March! We have some more adventures on the calendar for April and May, and maybe I'll try to post more than once!? April Fool's???


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...