Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I am the most BLESSED mom today!

My oldest called me from school to tell me something about his schedule and after school activities... 
and he said "I love you!" before hanging up! 

My youngest two got dressed and ready for school with NO issues today, 
ate breakfast without fighting 
and allowed me to get ready with no stress! 

My almost-12 year old daughter cracks me up with her puns 
and sense of humor 
and she makes me proud with her good grades at school!

Then last night I got new photos from Holt of my babies!
2 photos of our 4 year old girl!
3 photos of our 3 year old girl!
Oddly... no photos of our 2 year old baby boy...who we will call Joshua.

So I emailed Holt...

3 photos of Joshua!!

They look so wonderful!! 
So much bigger, 
so much healthier, 
so much happier! 
They have hair!

I feel SO very blessed to have received these photos!
And yes... 
they are already printed so I can show them off!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Adoption Road Trip

I often feel like I do not do a very good job at communicating ideas to people, so I come up with little analogies.

Today... it's the Adoption Road Trip.

If I were to describe the adoption process in these terms, I think most people can identify.
I keep getting the question "how soon till they come home"... on.

Deciding to adopt = "Road Trip!!!!!"
Choosing a country/agency/home study social worker Deciding on the destination
Home study paperwork (essay questions, birth certificates, marriage license, scheduling doctor visits) = Washing laundry, hauling suitcases out of the attic, getting the oil changed in the car
Home study visits, more paperwork = packing suitcases, loading up the car
Dossier almost done = "Everyone go to the potty ONE more time!"
Mail the dossier, Mail the I600A = "Here we go!"
Dossier arrives at agency = "Honey, did you lock the back door?"
Dossier approved! = First road sign... 3000 miles to destination
Waiting for dossier to get to Ethiopia = Everyone ELSE in the car is asleep. Car sickness creeping in.
Dossier in Ethiopia, Get fingerprinting appointment with FBI = Quick stop at rest area, have a snack, potty.
Waiting for court date = "Moooommm! She's looking at me!!" and "Well, he won't share his gummy worms!"
Court Date and waiting for news = "Ooohh... only 300 miles till the world's largest ball of string!"
Finding out you have a 2nd court date = Dog vomits in the car, no place to pull over, no rest area for 50mi.
Finally passing court = Overnight stop at hotel with free room service and indoor waterpark! Woohoo!
Waiting for travel date = Back in the car, wondering what that smell is.
Getting a travel date = Road sign "100 miles to go"! Start to calculate arrival in minutes instead of hours.
Packing, going to the airport, boarding the flight = Exit ahead!
Arrival and meeting your child for the first time = You have finally arrived!

There are pot holes, there are traffic jams, there are flat tires, there are wonderful moments of bliss that make you glad you get to take this trip...but its and unpredictable timeline under ANY circumstances. Sometimes, you just have to take an unexpected potty break. 

It's not a perfect analogy, but hopefully...someone out there who has not adopted before and doesn't know much about the process for us or other families will understand that at some points on this adoption ride, parents are not getting updates as frequently as they would like (raising my hand here...),  don't know why it's taking so long, are on the verge of tears at the thought of having another delay... and as much as we fully welcome your questions, thoughts, prayers and concerns... sometimes needing to say one more time that we don't have any new news... well, its like the "Are we THERE YET???" coming from the back seat every 5 minutes

Check back in a few days... I have been told we may get photos this week. I SURE hope so, but again... if we don't... it's just another pot hole on our journey.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Who am I?

I was just thinking about the movie Runaway Bride.

Not one of my favorite movies, but there is this one theme that runs throughout that struck me today.

The reporter in the movie is trying to figure out why this lady keeps leaving men at the altar. He goes around interviewing her past fiancee's and trying to get some insight. One question he asks each of them, "How does she like her eggs?" They each have a same, but different answer. "Just like me..." and then they fill in some style of eggs.

Today I was thinking about this... who am I, really? What do I know about myself, what do I believe, what do I like or dislike, and why?
 I guess I never spent much time figuring that out as a kid, young adult, or into my adult married life.

So... Here's my bullet point list about ME!

  • I like cats, in theory. I do not like them peeing in the house, the litter box thing, or their aloof personalities... but I think they are soft and fluffy and I like when they purr. I don't want a cat.
  • I think our dog speaks my language. I think I know what she is thinking, too and I often put that into words to translate for the rest of the family. She is big, soft, fluffy and makes me feel safe when I am home alone.
  • I like the "idea" of sushi. I thought I liked it, but I really don't like the seaweed wrappers. I like the clear rice paper wrappers or the football shaped rice with the flat shrimp on top, but only if I have seafood sauce to dip them in.
  • I don't like sports on TV. I can get into just about any sport live, but on TV... no thanks.
  • I am scared I will screw up my black babies' hair and will be rebuked by some awesome-hair-doing black woman in public.
  • I like silver better than gold, but I can't bring myself to dip my gold wedding bands in silver because I think it takes some of the sentiment out of it.
  • I have recently gone from "you look too young to have 4 kids..." to no-comment... therefore, I must now look old enough to have 4 (almost 7) kids. I dislike that. Immensely.
  • I bought an assorted box of chocolates because I like chocolate... but then poked holes in the bottom of most of them because I really only like the coconut filled ones and there was only one in the whole box.
  • I have FIG. Food Induced Guilt. Guilt over not packing my kids' lunches, guilt over feeding them some convenience thing for breakfast or dinner, guilt over not knowing what's for dinner every night for the next week, guilt over not having more vegetables on the menu, guilt over not making my own bread, and guilt over buying pizza or drive-thru food whenever that happens. 
  • I hate laundry. I hate washing it, I hate drying it, I hate folding it, I hate ironing, I hate putting it away. If there was one chore I could outsource for the rest of my life - I would gladly clean toilets, scrub tubs, vacuum, wash dishes, mop floors... but someone please invent disposable clothing!! 
  • I love coffee!
  • My husband is my "beauty from ashes" story. He makes me happy when I am sad, knows me better than I know myself and still loves me! He takes care of me and makes me yummy dinners. He is an amazing, award-winning, world-traveling chef and I am so proud of his accomplishments - big and small! He amazes me and I love him!
  • We celebrate our 15th anniversary this summer and I am hoping we can celebrate it with an authentic Ethiopian coffee ceremony in Addis Ababa while we pick up our kids!
  • I like jeans and sweaters. I like jeans and t-shirts. I do not like shorts. I look funny in capris. I don't enjoy wearing swimsuits. I own approximately 3 dresses and maybe 4 skirts. 
  • I move furniture around when I clean. I mean, completely re-organize the whole room. If I am cleaning when you go to bed, you should turn on a light when you wake up or you may trip over a couch.
  • I like to read, but I am easily distracted and need quiet. I sometimes wish for a long airplane ride so that I can finish a book!
  • My favorite color is navy blue.
  • I eat gluten-free.
  • I miss my old job working in special-education at the elementary school. I miss my little friends who made me crazy, but made me laugh too.
  • I can't wait to be a stay-at-home mom again. 
  • I often wish I would be a more "fun" mom.
  • I don't like to cook, but I love to bake.
  • My favorite feature about myself - my eyes. I like that they are blue some days, green other days, never make me feel fat or short, never need much special attention, and since they are different than most... they make me feel special sometimes!
  • I think I would like living on a lot of acres, with chickens and a cow.
  • I believe that while all of these things describe me and my personality, my true identity comes from Christ and in Him I am forgiven, wonderfully made, precious, and treasured! It just doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AHS - Adoption High School

I have no new thoughts today... 
but I was thinking about this post I wrote back on November 10th and it felt relevant today.

Here is my (adoption related) pet peeve of the day: adoption superiority.
What is that, you may ask?
Well... basically, when we ventured out into this territory - I thought it was one big happy family. The Adoption Community. We are one in the bonds of love, and all that jazz. Ummmm.... NO. 
It's more like Adoption High School.
Remember High School? Sure you do... jocks, nerds, goths, skaters, cheerleaders, preps, richie rich, star wars freaks, etc, etc, etc.
Well... transpose those "categories" to the adoption world and you have:

There is this sort of hierarchy of adopting parents - those who have adopted multiple times or multiple children are at the top - the jocks and cheerleaders of the community.

Let me also say that I don't think EVERY person is called to adopt PERSONALLY. I think that there are family situations that would not make this possible and not every person could handle a child much less more than one. I do feel that as Christians, we are called to care for widows and orphans. Church bodies are supposed to lead the way and help those who are called - allowing them to fund-raise, helping them along, lending a hand in some way. But there is this whole segment of the adoption community - the "holier than thou's" - who think that if you can't adopt for some reason, or just don't feel called to personally adopt - that you are less of a human for it. You are somehow going against the Lord's will for your life if you do not adopt. See Ephesians 4:11-12 for clarification of the way God designed His church to function. If God places adoption on your heart, you are in SIN not to do it. If you do not feel called to adopt - - I am certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are called to some other purpose that is just as important to His heart. We all are. If everyone were 110% focused on adoption - who would care for the elderly in nursing homes? Who would work at the soup kitchens? Who would rake leaves for the disabled this fall? Who would drive their neighbor to the doctor's office? There are many ways that we are to be Jesus' hands and feet - we can't all be the arm or the ankle. All are equally important. (Even if you do feel like the appendix in the Body of Christ... find your purpose!)

  • God forbid I ever look down on another family because they are adopting from a country I don't feel called to.
  • I hope I never criticize anyone for adopting one child while a sibling group waits.
  • I hope I never become the "high and mighty" or the "know-it-all" who second guesses motives and choices a family is making.
  • I hope I only uplift and encourage those who feel called to this often-times-not-fun process!

Oh, and those of you with children who aren't the same color as you... if I stare a little too long at the grocery store, it's not because I am judging you, it's just my mind wandering to that place where I wonder what MY more colorful family will look like. I look because I am envious - you have completed this part of the journey. I look because I would love to hear your stories - the good, the bad and the ugly - of the process and since then. I look because I love you for what you represent to my heart. 

Our agency is HOLT. We are adopting from Ethiopia.
We love Catholic Charities of Nashville for our home study because they are wonderful people!
We are requesting siblings- - maybe up to 4! Yes, that qualifies us for the loony bin... we don't care.
Ultimately, we have to make these choices ourselves as a couple and as a family.

That may put us into a certain clique in the Adoption High School... but I would like to officially claim non-citizenship with that clique.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sam!

Seven years ago today, my fourth baby boy was born!
I was beginning to become convinced that he would never arrive, but the crankiness and unsettled feeling I had all day Valentine's Day 2003 and into the next morning confirmed that I was wrong.
Samuel is such a blessing to our family! He is sweet, kind, and loving... funny, energetic and loud too!
He is the most likely to say something sweet when you are having a bad day and the one who will come lay in the bed with me when I am sick or have a migraine. He is our snuggle bug and both of his teachers have just adored him!
Today he is the baby in our family, but this year he turns into a big brother and a middle-child! One of the most profound things we heard when talking to our kids about our pending adoption was from Sam. We were asking the kids how they felt about new siblings and we turned to Sam. "Sam... how would you like to be a big brother?"
Sam says, "I don't know! I have only ever been a little brother!"
It may not sound like much, but for us - we realized that this was new to ALL of us. I have never been a mom of seven kids! Our girls have never had more than one sister. Our boys have never had other brothers. Our family has never NOT fit inside a mini-van! So many things that we DON'T know about our coming experience - but Sam taught us that it's okay to not know!

We love you Sam-I-Am! We are so blessed to have you in our family!
Have a wonderful 7th birthday!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Everybody loves a giveaway!

My friend Jamey, fellow adoption-in-process mom and crafter is having a giveaway on her blog!
Go post and tell her Chrissy told you to stop by!
Heres the D.L.:

You can win 1 entry for each of the following:
 Please leave a comment for EACH ENTRY

* be a follower (old or new)
* visit Uproar and tell me what your favorite item is
become a facebook fan of MamaEnat
* Share this giveaway love on facebook or on your own blog
You can win 2 entries for each of my buttons 
(see the left and right of your screen) 
that you add to your blog!
Let the entries begin!!
This giveaway will end on February 19 at 3:00pm.

Now come on... that's a LOT of ways to get entries to her drawing!!
Her sister is the owner of Uproar on Etsy and has the CUTEST crocheted baby things! I am partial to hats, and she will even sew in a satin liner for those of us with the need for such an upgrade!

Go see her now!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dossier in the mail!

Yesterday after I left work I drove up to the Catholic Charities offices to pick up my home study copies, the Agency license, the 3x notarized Home Study and the 3x notarized Power of Attorney! Everyone was so excited to give me my paperwork! There were "Congratulations!" and smiles all around! It's a little like going in for your 20 week ultrasound appointment - everyone knows that it's a big day in your life and they are vicariously happy!

I left there and went straight to the Fed Ex store.
I had to make a copy of my newly acquired documents, get my photo taken for my passport-sized photos, and check for the 15th time that I had indeed crossed off EVERY item on the checklist of requirements! I was bummed that I could not neatly put everything into chronological order corresponding with the checklist, but the authenticated documents were legal sized and everything else is letter sized. Don't they think about things like that when they choose the size of the paper for the authentication?? Maybe it's just me.

The lady taking my picture was all crabby and asks "is this for an official passport?". Not really knowing why that was important, I said ""
I got a look.
I said, "It's for my adoption paperwork - I am mailing it all in today and they need 'two passport sized photos'."
She was so happy for us! She even fixed my hair for the photo! I got out my phone to show her the pictures and got  "awww...." and "Isn't she precious!" and "Oohh that one has some AT-TI-TUDE!" and "He is just going to be Mommy's little snuggle bug!" Hee hee hee!! EVERY mom loves to hear those type of things about her children!

She took my picture, walked me over to the desk where she prints them out, carefully cut them into shape and lovingly gave them to me to put into my envelope labeled "photos" (which was paperclipped behind the first two documents in the pile). She then said, "Ok... let's go mail that off!"
She walked me over to the other counter, asked a few more questions, then left me to fill out the form with the addresses on it.
Another guy came over to help me. He was also super excited and asking a bunch of questions! I was afraid I was going to fill in the wrong blank since I was trying to answer him and do the form at the same time! He was very helpful and asked me if I wanted to look ONE MORE TIME to be sure. Why, yes! I do!
So, he sealed up my big envelope and graciously allowed me to take his picture with my mailing label!
Such a nice guy!
And then I was done!
As I was picking up my purse to leave I said "Thank you!" to both of them and then several people chimed in with "Good Luck!" and "Congratulations!"

Very fun!
Now... I sit and track my happy little dossier on its way to Oregon!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


In honor of my friend Jamey's blog post on twisted poetry... Jamey's blog
I present to you...
My haiku.

So much still to do
Mostly out of my control

Ok, ok... I know... ENCORE! ENCORE!

Writing a big check
Sending it to Oregon
Googling FedEx

On a ROLL, baby!

Third cup of coffee
Wish it was cappucinno
Colombian blend

Ok, that was a little weak... (LOL!)

Printing small pictures
Two photos of each of us
For the dossier.

Maybe I should just post ALL my adoption updates in Haiku from now on!

All three blog readers
Roll their eyes in unison
They don't like haiku.

Paperwork Schmaperwork!

I am almost done, baby!!! WOOHOO!
By tonight I will have mailed my I600a WITH the homestudy AND mailed my dossier to Holt!
Now what??

My happy little dossier will travel all the way to Eugene, Oregon where it will be looked over by the ET staff peeps, they will add some papers then it will go to Washington, DC (who will have hopefully thawed out by then) and get stamped by our government and then sent to the Ethiopian Embassy in DC for more stuff... then on to Ethiopia!
When it gets there (not sure if it gets translated at the embassy or in ET), it will be translated and then they will start working on getting us a court date.
From what we are being told, we have to expect two court dates, possibly three.
You know, sometimes the lights are out in the courthouse....

After we pass court, we wait for a travel date! Our agency has two visa dates per month, therefore two travel groups per month. We are hoping that will be June or July (I am secretly hoping for June.. for our 15th anniversary... but let's not hold our breath!).

So... what do we have to do now?
USCIS will contact us for a fingerprinting appointment, but other than that... we do fundraising and we WAIT.

Did I mention fundraising?? Oh yes...
If you have any really awesome fundraiser ideas, please feel free to share them with me!
Right now we are focusing locally - trying to schedule cooking classes and thinking about auctioning my hubby's chef services for dinner parties... but wondering if I need to think outside of that box a little?

Goodbye, happy little dossier! Make your momma proud! ;)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Fellow Holt Ethiopia Mommy, Jen is doing a cool giveaway for some birth/adoption announcements over at her blog!
She is SO sweet and my go-to blog for updates on my other Holt families since she has this awesome way of organizing the family blogs by where they are in their process! (Ingenious...)
Go there, comment, win fun stuff!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And answered prayers!

Not 5 minutes after posting my words below about finances,
We received word from Holt that we qualified for a grant!
This makes things QUITE a bit easier on us!

Thank you, SNAF people!
Thank you, Jesus - for providing in unusual, unexpected ways!

Fear, excuses and finding peace

Stole this from Amy's blog
I love this... I hear these "excuses" a lot, I used some of these excuses myself. 
I've had my share of excuses in the past....

Too busy
Not enough money
Not enough time
Too young
Too old
Can't afford it
Already have 4 children
Not sure if it's God's will
Not sure
Can't afford it
What will others say?
What will others think?
People will think we are crazy
What if they are right?
Can't afford it.
What if it's hard on our other kids?
It's not the right time
Not sure if I would be good at it.
House is too small.
Can't afford it.
Not sure if I want to start all over again.
What would we drive?
What if it's to much work?
What if it's too hard?
Can't afford it.
Yet for every excuse God has the answer-


It's all about Him- period.

He must increase,
but I must decrease.
John 3:30

We limit God with our excuses.
We limit God with our fears.
We limit God by putting Him inside a box-
A box we have designed on our own.

But by doing this we are actually robbing ourselves-
robbing ourselves of the blessings.
Robbing ourselves of true joy
Robbing ourselves of truly living.

Because you see when we take 'us' out of the picture
Our worries,
Our fears,
Our excuses,
And we put God in the center of our lives
The possibilities are endless.

He has the way...
He IS the way...
And all you have to do is
stop making excuses and take that first step.
Stop listening to the world.
Stop being afraid of the what ifs-
And listen to the one who knows.
The one who has the answers.
The one who really matters.
The truth is
we don't have to be perfect
because He is.
We don't have to have all of the answers
because He already does.
We don't have to know how
because He will show us.
Each day you wait
is a day that they wait too...

The cost of your excuse is a lot higher than the cost of an adoption
because look at what it's costing them.

Stop making excuses.
They are waiting
And so is He...
To show you the way.
I would add that trusting is a LOT easier to say than it is to do.  Every day I look at the cute pictures on my fridge and think... "Ok, Lord, HOW is it that we will afford this?" 
I get attacked by numbers in my head... and I don't DO numbers well to begin with! But SOMEHOW there is still peace in there... mixed together with all those numbers scrolling around like one of those national debt clocks... there is peace. The ONLY thing I know is that I pray for peace, I receive peace. I have prayed for the funds, and so far... we have had what we need when we need it (and not BEFORE we need it... because Jesus must think I do EVERYTHING at the last possible minute and therefore I speak that language...).

If you feel that tug in your heart to adopt...DO something. Love IS a verb after all... DO love.