Wednesday, May 26, 2010

There. I said it.

Life isn't fair.
I tell my kids this all the time.
Like practically every day.
"But!! That's NOT FAIR!!"
"Life isn't fair. Whoever told you it is... they lied to you."

I spoke with the Ethiopia program director this morning.
She confirmed what I had heard.
All of the June Visa dates are full.
30 appointments.
This means, 
IF we pass court on June 1..
the soonest we could travel is for the 
July 13th Visa Appointments.
This would put us on a plane around July 8th.

I am not holding my breath.

If this process has taught me ANYTHING it's that
you can't HOPE.
You can only wait.
If I find myself hoping to travel mid-July...
I will be crushed when those travel dates fill up and
we aren't on the list.

At this point, I just pray we get there before August.

The back-to-school rush will be upon us at that time 
and all 4 school aged kids are starting new schools
this year. Brand New. Like, they don't have a parking lot yet.
So there will be meetings, paperwork, and I will once again 
create an Excel Spreadsheet to organize the lists of required 
school supplies for 4 kids and their teachers. 
Then they will go to school and teachers will 
add to my list once I am done shopping. 

So we wait.
And then we wait some more.
And it stinks.
And I hate it.
I am tired of waiting.
I want to be able to DO something.
Something to take care of my three babies.
It's not fair.
And I should have known it wouldn't be.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not to complain...

but REALLY??
Today I found out that two other families who are 
adopting siblings are traveling in the June 29th travel group.
One other family is also going and picking up one child.

Do you know what this means??
FIVE of the Embassy appointment spots are TAKEN already.
Five of the ten available on each date.

And you know what else??
I don't know everyone using Holt...
there could easily be 5 other kids being picked up already.
Which means...
even if we pass court on June 1...
we won't be able to travel till Mid-July at the earliest.
July 13th is the next date after the June 29th appointment.

I am SO frustrated!!!

I know all about things being "in God's timing"...
but you CAN'T tell me that it's God holding up our adoption.
You can't tell me that He would prefer our kids to wait in
a group home for one moment longer than they need to.
There is NO good reason for them to be there still.
There is NO good reason for us to not have 
passed court on the 18th.

I miss my babies.
I want them home.
I KNOW we take up 3 visa appointments and
I know that isn't going to sit well with some people
but you know what?
We have been waiting longer.
We have waited longer than anyone 
else on the waiting list right now.
My kids have been there longer.
I am TIRED of watching people decide to adopt, 
fly through the system, 
and pick up tiny babies before 
my kids get to come home.
I know those parents want their infant children
home just as much as I do...
but 2 more weeks to a 6 month old is not the 
same as 2 more weeks for children who 
were 2, 3 and 4 at referral who are now 
going on 3, 4 and 5 years old.

I want them home.
I want to travel in June.
I want to be done waiting.
I want my family together.
All of them.

 Another week has gone by. 
One week to go till our 2nd court date.
I am not sure of the specifics... if we just hope the "MOWA letter" is there or if the birth relative has to show up again. Not sure. Tried to get clarification, but was told they are "pretty sure" he doesn't have to come back to Addis again (6 hours one way by bus).

Yesterday was my first official day as a stay-at-home mom!
Before noon I had:
-welcomed a 6th child into the house
-baked a giant cinnamon roll
-nearly died from bathroom mildew remover fumes
-Washed 3 loads of laundry
-carried 5 bags of winter stuff up to the attic
-separated the boy's bunk beds as per Sam's request
-vacuumed up enough fur to make another small dog
-cooked a giant pot of spaghetti and meat sauce
-fielded several requests to purchase one of the neighbor's pug puppies
-washed two sink loads of dishes by hand (yes, the dishwasher is broken)
-snipped open countless popsicles for my 4 and several neighborhood children
-realized too much coffee + no breakfast = dizziness and near-blackout for mom
-fought the tiny kitchen ants and seemingly won the battle
-said things such as "Do NOT draw on your friend!"
  --and "No chasing people with poop on a stick!"
 --and "don't sword fight with metal sticks!"
 --and "if you are going outside, put on clothes that cover your body better than a swimsuit would!"
 --and "If you don't stop putting your hair in your mouth, I will chop it off up to your ears!"

It was a super busy first day at home and by the time it was bedtime... well, I felt like gravity had doubled up on me.

BUT... I started reading this book Scared which is a fiction novel about the AIDS crisis in Africa as told from two perspectives. I know this because I read over 300 pages of the book before midnight when I realized I could just pick it back up tomorrow... since I will be home then, too!

And we wait.
I am waiting for medical results from Evelyn's eye specialist visit.
I am waiting for updated pictures since the last ones I have are from around Feb. 21st. It's been 3 months and I am growing impatient.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Open letter to Mr. Pat Robertson

Dear Mr. Robertson,
On your segment today, you played a beautiful clip from the Christian Alliance for Orphans meeting. CBN chose to represent the event well, playing testimonies regarding Christians and the growing wave of awareness for adoption, care for widows and orphans, and how those who He has called to this - He will not leave them without support in this.

The reporting was beautiful.

Then you spoke.

You should have left it as it was. Instead, at the very onset of the segment you insulted Terri with the typical big family jabs. After the segment, you compared adoption of children to the ability to drop pets off at the pound. Yes, we know adoption is forever. God started it. It was HIS idea... not ours. He doesn't drop us off at the pound, even when we deserve a BIG time out for our actions OR WORDS.

At the end of your uneducated spiel was the warning - "count the cost". You seriously think adoption can be a wonderful thing "if you get the right kids"? Does God only adopt the easy ones? Last time I checked... he chooses the Moses', the Abram's, the Saul's, the prostitutes, the unclean, the sick, the cursed, and the unloved. Those are HIS chosen ones. He chooses the Chrissy's and the Pat's of the world. He doesn't accept us for a while, then drop us off at the "pound" as you call it.

Mr. Robertson, for all the families out there trying desperately to get their children home, those struggling through the first few weeks or months or years, those fundraising, down sizing, filling out stacks of paperwork, waiting on governments, flying around the world, praying on their knees for their kids... I humbly ask you to review your own words... and issue an apology. Not to me, not to the adoptive parents CBN interviewed, not to the non-profits who work tirelessly to help the families in process, not to the people who have given selflessly to help us bring our babies home.... issue an apology to the children. They are the ones you just offended. They are the ones who should be saddened by your words. You compared them to unwanted pets. Perhaps the logical conclusion would be to spay or neuter entire people groups? You said families should be cautioned not to adopt from areas where children may have "demonic influences". You cautioned families from adopting because children may have been "brain damaged as a child". I will refrain from obvious parallels, but simply say...

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountainsbut have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
LOVE never fails.
1 Corinthians 13

Link to the segment that ticked me off: Christian Alliance Blog post

Haiku of the week

Hello lovely blog readers!

Because I think I tend to get a little long-winded, over-wordy and generally adjective happy....
Haiku to describe my week!

I know, it's been too long since this post... I apologize.

Tuesday morning hope
Smashed to smithereens by lunch
Court date delays stink.

Lots of tiny babes
Going home in just a week
 Life just is not fair.

Three kids sit and wait
Knowing nothing of court dates
Do they know they're missed?

It's the end of May
Wanted to travel in June
Trying not to cry.

Hubby asked me out
Just the two of us Friday!
Testing mattresses ;)

Garage full of stuff
The yard sale's on Saturday
Hot, Sunny and DRY!!

Two weeks more to wait
June 1st will be our next date
Praying that's the day.

These Haiku's are bad...
And they are making me sad...
Time to clean the house.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Finding my smile....

Ok, so in my feeble attempt to help a friend find HER smile... I found this old post of mine while looking through some old blog stuff.

Check out where we are... TOO funny today!

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

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Didn't pass

It was strange.

Paul and I both thought we would pass.

Not sure why... I mean, I thought I was prepared to not pass the first time -all things considered.

But when I checked my phone for emails today and started seeing "We passed!" and "She's ours!"
and I thought, "Wow! They are sending out news FAST today!" then I saw an email from Holt!

Suddenly, I thought it was possible!

Then I opened the email.

Unfortunately for us, the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Ethiopia did not have a letter to the court on time for our case.

Yeah, that's what I thought too... "WHAT?! They had 18 days to get that letter done and to the court!"

So... we are rescheduled for June 1st.

I do have a tiny bit of hope. The hope is that MOWA will send this letter over to the court and the court will just process our paperwork right away instead of waiting two weeks.

If not... we still wait.

This is yet another thing that just isn't fair, or right or orderly or organized in international adoption.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How do you know?

Sometimes when people find out about our adoption, they feel like they must answer in a certain way. 
Most of the time they tell us what wonderful people we must be (...uh huh...), or how we are going to be in heaven for sure now (yeah, but adopting isn't getting us there). A lot of the time we hear an excuse like "I have always wanted to adopt, but....".

But other times when people take the time to HEAR our story, WHY we are doing this...
they ask a deeper question. "But HOW do you KNOW this is what God is asking you to do?"


Good question!

Here is one thing I know: If you never step out in faith... you won't ever know for sure if you HAVE faith.

I think faith is as much a verb as it is anything else. Sure, you can pray in faith, you can live faithfully, you can be faithful... but until you SHOW your faith by DOING the thing being asked... are you really living like you have faith?

If Paul and I had said "Yes, God... we will adopt when you fill up our bank account, give us a bigger house and a bigger car, and make a hole in our work schedules so we can travel...", is that having faith? Or is that putting God in a me-sized box?

So how do we know for sure that this is what God has asked?

We took the first step. In faith. We filled out an application and sent in a fee. Then we waited and prayed. We saw our kids on a waiting child list. We prayed and took another step. We kept praying and allowing God to stop our process at any point. We did not give up with man made things difficult on us... but we prayed that if He were the one shutting doors - that we would see it and heed that direction. We kept moving forward until we heard STOP. We are still listening... and moving forward.

There have been many points on our journey when it would have been easy to say "you move then I respond"  to God. 
It doesn't always work that way. 
God moves on our hearts and in our minds. 
He creates opportunities. 
He opens doors. 
He closes doors.
He blesses the steps you take in faith.

Sometimes... you have to keep moving forward in anticipation of the blessing.
Sometimes you have to be on auto-pilot to make it through a tough day. Or week. Or month.

But always, if you move when the Lord tells you to, you will be blessed.

And sometimes....blessed TIMES THREE! 

We may not pass court today in Ethiopia. They may not hear our case.
They may postpone us till another day or week.
We pray that we pass... but we know sometimes things don't work out the way we want.
We WILL pass court.
We WILL get to Ethiopia to get our babies.
I would LOVE to pass court today and I sure pray it happens.
But if we don't pass...
God is still good.
And we are still on the right path, the path the Lord ordained for us.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Court Date thoughts

6 days from now...
in a courtroom in Ethiopia...
our family may increase by three!

I say "may"
because our agency 
(and all other agencies operating in Ethiopia) 
are sure to tell you that you need to be prepared
for more than one court date.

Why is that?
several reasons would cause
us to not pass court that day.

There's the possibility they power could be out.
The surviving relative may not show up.
Paperwork may not match exactly.
Something may not be signed.
They may just not get to us that day.

There are A. LOT. of families with 5/18 court dates.
A WHOLE lot.
Like 12 that I know of.
This accounts for a minimum of 16 children.
Children who need to come home.

Please pray starting now!
Pray that all our "I's" are dotted...
"T's" are crossed...
signatures are correct and complete...
everyone necessary is in attendance...
power is on...
and we PASS court.
While you are at it...
pray that we are able to travel SOON!
There are 3 visa appointment dates for our agency in June.
I really hope we are able to get assigned the middle date...
but God knows when we need to be there.

I got connected with a local group of 
African Adoption peeps!
SO looking forward to meeting them all at 
the next monthly get-together!
If you are in the Nashville area...
check out 

Monday, May 10, 2010

List making

I like to think I can make "mental lists".
Or make a "mental note to self".

Who am I kidding?
I can't remember stuff I physically write on my palm!
I need to make lists.
Lots of them.
And post them in several places.
Things I still need to do...
Things I still need to purchase...
Things I still need to think about...
Things I have not thought about but that 
I think I may need to consider thinking about...
You get the idea.

In the spirit of anti-procrastination...

THINGS I NEED TO PURCHASE (or otherwise acquire)
Car Seats x 3 
(since our babies are all under 25lbs)
Tooth brushes
Travel toiletry bottles
pull-ups in assorted sizes
baby wipes
protein bars
electrolyte single-serve things
gluten free treats for mom
some kind of shoe solution for 3 kids of unknown shoe sizes
OTC meds
small travel pillows
girls clothes that will fit any where from a 2T-4T
diaper disposal baggies
stickers, punch balloons, etc
gifts for the kids at home while we are gone

That's the start of my list!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I can easily lose my perspective.
Some people are "The glass is half full" people...
some are "the glass is half empty" people...
some people wait and find out if you are 
drinking or pouring to make that determination.
I would be the third type of person.
I tend to let my situation determine my perspective
instead of finding good perspective to color my situation.

I try to catch this when it happens.

We didn't do our yard sale today.
Pretty sure EVERYONE else in our town did.

I know we made the right choice.
I needed to go through our stuff, see what could be saved,
what needed work or help, and what needs to be tossed.

Finding my good perspective:
I sorted, tossed, cleaned and loaded an entire 
mini-van full of clothes for the flood victims. 
And I made $60 from a friend of 
Paul's who stopped by to shop!
Paul went to help flood victims and
our day turned into an opportunity to love others, 
enjoy this beautiful day, and spend some time relaxing.

Mother's Day.
All my babies aren't home yet.
I am struggling with this one.
I really WANT to be all together.
I can't do anything to make it go faster...
so I wait.
My babies won't be with their mom tomorrow.
I miss them very much.
My best try at changing my perspective:
Next Mother's Day will be even sweeter.

I have a friend who is struggling.
It's been a hard week for her.
I have no way to help her physically...
but I can pray for her.
I wish I was able to go give her a hug...
but she lives far away.
I want to be able to DO something more.
But I pray.
The it's-not-about-me perspective:
Her Heavenly Father loves her even more than I do 
and HE is able to care for her better than I could ever do. 
He can be her comforter, her protector, 
and her source of strength in the middle
of the storm. And she has a 
wonderful husband who loves her
and will help get them through this too.

Court date coming
As much as I tell myself I am not going to bank on
passing the first time, it's SUPER hard not to be expectant.
I would SO love for ONE thing in our process to 
go through easily!!
3 Committee dates...
USCIS problems and delays...
flood on our fundraiser day...
I feel like being able to pass court the first day is
somewhat out of character for our process...
but it SURE would be nice!!
There are like 12 people THAT I KNOW OF
going to court on that same day.
They can't possibly see and process that many cases in one day.
Some will be delayed or rescheduled.

Finding the right perspective:
Think, think, think....
We DID pass committee.
We DID get our 171H.
We are doing fine on funds (unless you factor in travel..).
This will happen too...
probably just not in the exact way I would want.
It COULD happen...
no sense worrying about it till I hear results.

I think this is a personal improvement for me!
I used to be the FOURTH type of person...
"The glass is half empty and will soon be 
totally empty because it is slowly draining 
from a hole in the bottom."


This is an improvement.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

SO very blessed!

He does move mountains.

Do you know how I know?

I saw it.

I witnessed it.

I know how far short of our fees we were this morning...

and I see my bank account now.

I know He moves mountains because 
He moved MY mountain today.

Thank you, Jesus!!

We are coming, babies!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Not in a panic.

Hee Hee Ha Ha Hooooooo!!!
Seems that WITH the news of the 
fabutastic court date
comes news that the 
remainder of our fees are due!

In full.

Like Now.

THIS is the part of adoption NO ONE talks about.
The money.
It's a lot.
Not as much as some countries...
but more than it cost us to birth our first four.

... for like a month.

you know what?
I would trade it all 
for the chance to get my first hugs.
First kisses.
First "I love you".

The money?

Yeah, we are a little short.
But hey...
we have 2 days before I have to mail it!

This I know...
I have seen it before...
He moves mountains.
BIG mountains.
And He will move our mountain, too.

(*corrected to say - I don't mean 
to compare the adoption of our 
kids to a "purchase", but sometimes 
it is helpful to "see" how big 
the ransom is for our three 
kids. Our agency is awesome, 
the fees are appropriate 
and not at all out of line... 
but it's just a lot.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I know I forgot to mention something...

What was it..?

I feel like it should be right 
on top of my head...
OH yes... NOW I remember!

We have a court date!!

May 18!!

Since not everyone lives in my little 
adoption world...court in Ethiopia 
is where our attorney takes our 
Power of Attorney paper
and goes to court, 
presents our paperwork, 
and the judge either passes us 
(which would mean they are 
officially OURS and Jensen's!!) 
or they delay our case 
and reschedule us for another day.
Of course we are hoping and 
praying that we pass 
on the 18th and we can 
(hopefully) travel in June!! 
But... there are SO many people 
scheduled for court that day it seems 
somewhat unlikely.
Praying, and trying not to get my 
hopes too far up!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Day Flood 2010

You may have seen the news today...
or yesterday...
enough to know that all of Tennessee and neighboring states have been hit with what they are calling
The May Day Flood of 2010!
(Dun, dun, DUN...)

It is also known in our home as...

Adoption Fundraiser Yard Sale/ May Day Flood 2010!

Yes... that's right... we had our sale anyway.

We thought it over, watched the radar maps, and decided to play the odds.
The odds were...
40% chance of scattered thunderstorms before 10am...
60% chance from 10-noon...
and 80% chance after noon.

That translates to:
7am... no rain.

By 8am...

Can I interest anyone in some baby clothes? They are super cute...
I just need to lift up the tarps temporarily...

Yes... you do see people still driving up to shop.
I know.
But then again, they were shopping because we were out selling stuff!
Tornado warnings, Flash Flood warnings, Thunderstorm warnings, VERY close lightening...

This is me saying... "if it would just move north THIIIS much... "
And still we sat and waited.

Then we started to think...
This is par for the course with us!
So why did we expect different?
We know that stuff like this happens.
The day we moved from St. Louis to PA we had the biggest snow storm to hit that area in YEARS.
The UHaul got stuck in a snow bank.
So of COURSE the 100 year flood plains would be flooding on our yard sale day!

And no...
We weren't fighting or at each other's throats.
We have been married 15 years now and we know...
You can't just let it get to you and sit around being all...

You have to find something to smile about.
Things are sometimes just out of your control...
but, hey...
That's life!

And life is still VERY, very good.

So, we wait.
We will drag it all out again next weekend...
and try again.

UNLESS there is the slightest hint of rain.

Or the humidity is high.

Or someone is running their sprinkler.

Because we want to avoid this

at all costs!

Even if it does end like this: