Friday, April 30, 2010

Yard Sale!

Today and tomorrow is our massive yard sale!
We have SO much stuff!
NICE stuff!
Our friends have abundantly blessed us with beautiful, new or like-new money-worthy items!
Please pray for the donations to flow in.
Please pray for the rain to hold off until after noon tomorrow!
Please pray that we can nudge someone else towards adoption!
Please pray that we meet our financial needs!
I will update!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear babies,

I have to tell you something.
As your mommy, I feel that you need to know that I am not waiting well right now.

I can wait forever for one of you to learn to tie your shoes.

I can wait in line at the store, at amusement parks, and I can even wait in traffic without losing my cool.
I did a pretty good job of waiting when there was something I could do - gathering more paperwork, interviews, or making phone calls.

Today, however, I am not waiting well.

It's been long enough.

I have loved you since I first saw your pictures in December!
I have planned and dreamed, fought and advocated, rushed and pushed...
and now I can't fight, advocate or push to get you here any faster.

I want you to know that if it was up to me I would be there already.

We would be home together already.

I would make your favorite breakfasts, teach you the joy of afternoon snacks like "ants on a log", fix your hair, take you for a walk to see the signs of spring, teach you to jump on the trampoline, push you on the swings, tuck you in at night, teach you to pray, and watch you as you sleep.

I would love to know how you wake up in the mornings!
Joshua, do you jump out of bed like Sam - ready for the day, smiling and happy?
Evelyn, do you need some time in the mornings to wake up? Like Mom?
Lillian, do you like to cuddle on the couch for a few minutes before thinking about breakfast?

I want to know little things.
I want to know if you are right or left handed.
I want to know if you like to color or blow bubbles or if the slimey bubble goo on your hands makes you unhappy.
I want to know if you like fuzzy blankets or silky things better.
I want to know if you still take naps and when and for how long.

I am not waiting well today, sweet babies.

Mommy loves you VERY much!
Daddy and I will be there as fast as they will let us come get you.


John 14:27  "Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Little things

Along the process of an adoption there are little things.

Little things that help you "pull yourself up by your boot straps"and 
get on with your day or week.
(and yes, that is one of those strange Southern phrases 
that even I am not sure of its meaning. 
How you would do that? 
What exactly are boot straps? 
If you pull on them... how would that help you up? 
Wouldn't that be kind of hard to do?)

Today some of those little things...

A final interview for my replacement at work
(helps me to know that even though I will be sad to leave, 
I must transition back to a stay-mostly-at-home mom to bring our babies home);

Immigration letter stating that our 1600A 
has been forwarded to the Embassy in Ethiopia
(not a huge deal, but a necessary step along the way!)

I bought hair care products for the babies
(somehow it makes me feel like I am 
DOING something for them while I wait)

Fruitless search ending in frustration and becoming 
subsequently agitated at the inability to find a 
brown baby doll -or two- for my girls when we travel. 
(Paul says we just have not looked in the right places. 
I think its ridiculous.
It does, however, help me feel closer to them to be 
able to search and advocate on their behalf
... to have the need for brown baby dolls.)

My friend Jamey is going to pick up her daughter! 
She's leaving in less than 24 hours!
Another bloggy friend Tamara is leaving today!
(even though it's not ME traveling, 
there is so much to learn from those who go before! 
Hopefully she will see my three and be able to 
give them a hug from their Mommy!)

Misery loves company.
(not that I am necessarily MISERABLE while waiting...I am doing pretty good today...
but it is nice to know others are waiting for their court dates and travel appointments right along with me! They are encouraging, funny, sad, sympathetic, empathetic, and right there with me on this ride. I don't know what I would do if I were going through this without the support and encouragement of my friends, family and those I don't know personally but who feel like old friends through the miracle of blogs and yahoo groups!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Random thoughts for this morning

One of my favorite patients died early this morning.
He and his wife were such treasures in our office.
They always had a smile for us, some funny thing to say, 
and a positive outlook despite whatever medical stuff was going on.
I will really miss seeing them.

Life is short. 
We aren't guaranteed to make it to 82 years old.

Life is not fair, either.
In our house I call "fair" the "F-word".

People you love die before you are prepared.
People you love get sick.
Mean people live to be 100.
You watch family members suffer and you can't help.
You want to hold your babies, but paperwork keeps you apart.

This I know... 
Despite whatever hardships...
God is ALWAYS good.
It's easy to proclaim His goodness when something good happens.
It's easy to cheer "Yay God!" when we get our way.

But when things stink?

When things fall apart?

When life just happens?

He is still good.

Which reminds me of this, which always gives me goosebumps:

  " I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea.  Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts?  Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”              “Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is hequite safe?  I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
            “That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
             “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

            Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you?  Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safeBut he’s goodHe’s the King I tell you.”

C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For my Granny!

For my Granny...
Who just discovered "Blogs"...
and wants to see pictures of my kids!

Here you go!

I love you, Granny!

Hope you like them!

Purchase a t-shirt, 
get entered into a drawing for one free!

I will draw a name for a free shirt 
(whichever one you want!)
on the day we get our court date!

Each shirt ordered is another entry!

Some adoptive parents are ordering Paul's design
to give as a thank-you gift to
those who helped with the adoption!
I think that's a great idea also!

$20 including shipping!

Monday, April 19, 2010

T-shirts are HERE!

Fundraiser T-shirts are HERE!!


$20 each, let me know which 
design and what size!
I have Sm, Med, Large and XL.

Free shipping starting today!
The flat rate shipping box is $4.75 
for the smallest, 
so please add that into the fee 
if you don't live near me!
I can fit probably 3 shirts in that box, 
so you should only add shipping once.

We appreciate any help towards 
our adoption fees!!
If T-shirt's just aren't your thing... 
but you would like to help... 
even a $5 contribution 
would add up!
Thanks in advance!

Front of the Forever Family shirt

Zehlahlum is the Amheric (major language in Ethiopia) word for "Forever".

Back of the Forever Family shirt!

And then there's my husband's design.
Of course, I should add that this is a friendly competition... 
who can sell the most shirts...
his design vs. MY design.
this is HIS design.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Guess what I got in the mail?

Are you guessing?

No... it's not the prizes I won in Jamey's drawing (yet)! 

Any other guesses??

Not surprise money...
Although that would be awesome!!
(See new thermometer thing on side bar...)

Guess what it was.......

Guess what this means!!
It means we can bring our babies home after we pass court!
No moving to Ethiopia required! 
(which was our alternative if we had not been granted the 171H...)

We picked up HUGE amounts of donations for our yard sale/fundraiser (May 1)
I won Jamey's drawing for cool Ethiopian stuff!
Our LAST piece of paperwork came in the mail!
The weather was GORGEOUS!
I got to spend the day with my hubby and kids!

It was a great day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

USCIS approval!

I just got the most WONDERFUL email!

"Your I600a was approved 
and the I171H 
approval notice will 
go out today."

AMEN and AMEN and AMEN!!!

In other news...
donate $5 towards Jamey's travel fees!
She is coincidentally doing a 
giveaway after the donation drive...
and this gift basket is AWESOME!
I love the necklace!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I needed a laugh!

You have to see this...
Don't have anything liquid in your mouth...
Read my sister's prior two posts...
the pictures are HI.LAR.I.OUS!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Today's thoughts...

My friend Jamey got word today that she not only had a court date, but she PASSED, AND she will be in Ethiopia in early May to pick up her daughter!
I am so excited for them!! She has waited quite awhile for this and as we have followed each other's progress over the past several months, I am sad we won't be traveling together, but very excited for her to be there to pick up her baby girl so soon!

Why is USCIS so slow??
We are waiting on our 171H, or some word of a "request for evidence" and they are unreachable.
Many emails from our Social Worker, letters and emails from the congresswoman's office and the senators office... and still... no answer. Now I worry about making someone mad and getting stuck at the bottom of the pile. There is no way to speed things up with them and we have been waiting on them since February. Of course, our $830 check was cashed way back then...

I only have about 6 weeks left at my job. Its bittersweet as well in that I do love working with my family every day, but I need to be home for my kids at home now, and the ones coming home this summer. I need to be there for skinned knees, Popsicle clean-ups, and trips to the pool this summer as well as getting the house cleaned and de-cluttered for bringing 3 babies into our family. I will miss seeing my parents almost every day. I will miss my mom bringing me a chocolate bar "just because it's Monday". I will miss talking to grown up's and having patients tell me how much they love our office and our staff... because we are so nice and never make them wait. I will not miss calling insurance companies.

So... today I am so incredibly happy for my friend... but worried for my own immigration status. I don't want our babies to have to wait any longer than they have to. I want them home soon where I can feed them things that will help them grow and be strong and healthy. I wanted to travel with Jamey, but now I just want to travel sometime before August. I can't imagine traveling in early August then coming home and getting the 4 back into school right away while transitioning 3 into the home. Yuck.

Please, Lord... let us get that 171H soon. And please don't give us that court date until we have it! I don't want to go back in the bottom of the pile.


Recipe for a Monday
yield: hopefully only one.
Have on hand:
  4 am accidental wake up
  2 1/2 cups coffee
  2 grouchy middle schoolers (minced to be up at 6am)
  2 elementary kids, first day back after spring break
  5 cinnamon rolls 
  2 bowls of cereal
  Additional coffee as needed.

Mix well:
  45 minute traffic jam on the way to work
  2 patients canceling for stupid reasons
  1 doctor in a crabby mood
  1 lunch forgotten until 3pm

Bake for 7 hours in "8 people from our yahoo group got court dates and Jamey and I didn't" pan.
Sprinkle with a phone call to USCIS, a phone call to Holt and the realization that no government official from the senate or congress cares if you have your 171H.
Dash of disagreement with husband, glaze with messy house, and serve slowly over the course of the day.

Review: no stars.
I would not make this recipe again. It results in a flat, dry, crumbly day that no one wants to touch.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


If you want to throw a stink bomb into a group of adoptive parents...
Ask about naming the adopted child.

We discussed this at length (Paul and I) and decided that we would 
give our children a first name and keep their Ethiopian name as their middle. 
We feel that they can then decide to use that name later in life if they choose, 
but would have the name we give them which would give them a 
way to "blend" a little in school and with friends.
(ie -not answer questions about adoption/Ethiopia/etc all the time)

For our 4 year old daughter we chose Lillian.
It is a diminutive of Elizabeth, which has personal family meaning,
and also my great-grandmother's middle name.

For our 3 year old daughter we chose Evelyn.
It is Paul's grandmother's name and we think it goes beautifully with her Ethiopian name.

For our 2 year old son we chose Joshua.
Paul's parents had a baby that went to Heaven after just moments here with his parents
and we want to honor them and his memory by naming our sweet baby boy after him.

We plan on calling them by both names for awhile... 
just so that they understand who we are talking to 
(but my pronouncing their Ethiopian names in 
Southern may just confuse them even more!).

So... just so you know we are fully insane...
our girls are:
Olivia (Livi)
Lillian (Lily)
Evelyn (Evie)
and our boys are
Samuel (Sam)
Joshua (just Joshua)

I can't wait to have all 7 of my babies together!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I got updated medical reports on my kids today!

They are in Addis Ababa now!


Further more, one of my two favorite Holt people - Stephanie - totally talked me off a cliff this afternoon (prior to hearing about the labs and Addis news!)!
She is awesome and I hope someday to meet her and Jenn and give them both big hugs!

She told me that some of the nannies transition with the kids when they move from one center to the other so that  they have a familiar face, and they also transition with other children to make it easier! 

I just can't tell you what that does for my heart today!!

On the labs... I have some concerns, but nothing I think needs immediate care. 
I am having them looked at tomorrow though.
Poor Evelyn looks to be a little sick, too.
I need my babies home. 
But, today... I am happy to know they are one step closer!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Desiring order

It has been said that our God is not a God of chaos.
I am not sure if that exact phrase is anywhere in the Bible, but the idea is certainly woven into the text from Genesis 1:1 all the way through Revelation. God start's big and then moves small. He made the universe, the light, the dark, the earth, the water, the land, the vegetation, the fish, the land animals then man... then finally, he breathed life into man. The entire Pentateuch is filled with lists, orderly rules and repetitive commands - so that we would "get it".

Fast forward to today.
We work in a somewhat orderly world.
The sun rises, the sun sets.
The seasons change in predictable patterns.
We have routines for our days.

That having been said... there is very little order or routine in International Adoption.
It is sometimes incredibly frustrating for those of us who desire that predictable, routine, lists and rules, pattern for our lives.

Today I am praying for this document from USCIS.
I don't know why we don't have anything from them yet... no email back, no phone call, even the Congressman's office can't find out.

Today I am praying for my friend Jamey.
She has been waiting a LONG time to go pick up her little girl who will have been in care for a year this month.
She has been passed over for a court date even though she has her USCIS paperwork and could travel tomorrow.
Every time someone on our yahoo group list posts that they have a court date, its like a sucker punch to those of us waiting for the same thing and being passed over.

Today I am praying for my attitude.
Every time someone posts that they have their court date, they got their document from USCIS, or they have a new referral, etc, etc, etc... I truly WANT to be happy for them, but I see my timeline getting longer and longer. Our agency has been able to rush dossiers from their office to Ethiopia in 10 days. Mine took a month, which at the time was average. Now I wonder, are they still rushing the paperwork for those who were waiting BEFORE the rush happened or are they just rushing those new folks getting their paperwork to Ethiopia? Yes, I know that every referral is another family being formed, another child gaining a family forever.

But you know what hurts? When someone posts that their process is moving along SO FAST and therefore that is evidence that God has blessed their adoption. What does that mean for those of us who are stuck right now? Does the opposite of that statement apply? Because we are still waiting, God has NOT blessed our process? "Gee... sorry you have been waiting on USCIS... God blessed us and not you."
I know those people don't mean it like that, but for those who wait... that's what we hear.

It hurts.

Every time.

Every time someone gets a court date and I can't get in touch with the right people at USCIS... it hurts more.

Every time someone passes court on a "surprise court date"... I wonder if my date has been assigned and then delayed because they don't have my approval.

It just hurts.

Today I am praying for those who wait and feel forgotten.

We will get our babies and someday this waiting will seem like a blip on the radar of our lives.

But today... it hurts.