Sunday, January 31, 2010

You wouldn't think it would be this hard...

I have made photo albums before.
I used to be a Creative Memories consultant for cryin' out loud.
I have made the fancy schmancy ones through Snapfish and Walgreens.

So then, with all of this photo-album-making experience, WHY is it that I can't seem to put together three albums to send to my kids in Ethiopia???

I am not happy with my selection of photos.

How do you say "Hello! We are strangers who look strange and do strange things... and these are the photos we have chosen to represent our lives... and soon we are coming to pick you up and bring you to this strange place with the strange stuff and more strange people." in an album??

It's intimidating.

I would be less nervous making a photo book detailing our family to send to the President or Mother Theresa or some other famous person than I am at making one for my kids!

This is the first time they will "see" us!!

I hate most photos of myself and I have realized in the past day or so that almost ALL of the photos I have of our family have either food or gifts in the background. READ: I mostly take photos on holidays and birthdays.
So, then it snowed. I have sledding pictures, our house covered in snow pictures, and kids bundled up in snow paraphernalia photos. It snows here like once a year... am I setting them up for disappointment if I include snow pictures and they come home to summer in middle Tennessee where it's like a gazillion degrees and 200% humidity? Will they feel we have falsely represented our lives?
Yes... they are toddlers.
They may not actually put the connection together between the colorful photos in the book and who we actually are as a family... maybe that's a higher-order thinking skill they will not actually acquire until they are 6 or 7 years old. BUT, STILL!!!

Why is this so HARD??!???!?!!!??!!????!!??

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Warning – super long ranting post.

It's late and I should really go to bed.

This is what I do when Paul is out of town… stay up too late, whine when my alarm goes off to early in the morning, and promise myself I won't stay up so late that night.

I have this blog post on my mind, but I can't find it again to be able to link to it directly. Basically, this person anonymously commented on someone else's blog post after they had announced being home with their newly adopted Haitian kids. The adoptive mom talked about what a wonderful gift it was for the kids' birth mom to make the adoption plan for them since she could not care for them/provide for them herself. The reply from the anonymous person was scathing, rude, but probably something many people wonder about as well.

The bottom line of the comment was that this person thought it was HORRIBLE that the birth mom felt that the only thing she could do for her kids was to "give them away" and how if the adoptive parents had REALLY wanted to do something kind, they would have supported the birth mom and made it possible to keep their family together, rather than to take the birth mom's only treasure away from her.

The first thing that bothers me about this is that it creates a stigma over adoptive parents, who really just want to open their hearts and homes to a child without a family. We do not go and seek out children in poor areas and offer to play Daddy Warbucks to little Orphan Annie and give their child a better life. I am sure those stories are out there in some corrupt adoption circles, but I do not know of any such situations.

The second thing that bothered me was that this person's perspective was that the adoptive parents should have provided funds for the family to be able to stay together. There are ministries that do this. Our adoption agency (Holt) will not just blindly accept a child into care if they are only seeking to relinquish their children due to financial concerns. There is a separate area of the agency that deals with charity in-country that helps keep families together.

Now, the part that really ticked me off about this cowardly anonymous commenter was that they do not have the whole story and are going off of some sound-bites of info and rushing to judgment against the family in their time of rejoicing in having their children home!

So … Mr. or Ms. Anonymous Coward, these next points are for you!

  1. Adoptive parents are a unique breed of people and NOT a group you want to offend en-masse. They sign up to have their families dissected, finances inspected, lives disrupted and hearts extracted for the chance to love a child not born to them. We are the Navy Seals of the parenting world, buddy… back off.

  2. Do you really think that birth parents just wake up one day and say, "Gee, things are looking a little sparse around here… maybe I will head on over to that Child Intake Center today"? I have never made an adoption plan for a child, but compared to the pain I know in my life – nothing could be more difficult than to take a child you have loved for months or years and selflessly say, "I love you too much to watch you die here." THAT, Mr/Ms Anonymous Coward, is the REALITY of life in much of the world. Pain like WE have never experienced. In many cases, children are cared for by relatives after their birth parents have died. Many times too, a child is simply "found" and taken to a care center. Your condescending words to adoptive parents based on your Westernized view that you can understand what transpired in a country so poor you have NO concept of their REAL WORLD… frankly, it's disgusting.

  3. This was not child-trafficking, these children were legally adopted. Until you go through a home study, USCIS approval, compiling a dossier of official documents, notarize and verify and authenticate everything that stands still, go through numerous court dates, file more paperwork and WAIT on signatures… you will never understand HOW legal these adoptions are. Most countries do everything in their power to verify SEVERAL times that the child is an orphan, that the parent has legally relinquished the child and that they fully understand what they are doing, as well as asking the parent to show up at the court proceeding later on to RE-VERIFY all of that same information.

  4. What have YOU done to help support the poor? What have YOU done for an orphan? Have you ever given one thought to the "least of these"? Or did you just find it appropriate to play Pharisee, slam someone else anonymously then run away and hide?
Ignorance is an equal-opportunity-offender.
Tonight Sam was crying because kids at school are mean. One bully kid was picking on his friend/neighbor who is black. Sweet, precious Sam was crying for his friend's hurt feelings. I can't imagine what kind of hate circulates in a home to teach a 1st grader to pick on another child based on skin color. Most of the kids I know who are 6 years old still refer to children by more Crayola accurate skin tones – tan, brown, pink, etc. They are taught those things culturally.

Moron patient in the waiting room comments that we shouldn't be worried about THOSE orphans in Haiti because we need to worry about our OWN kids first. No, I didn't "accidentally" forget he is allergic to penicillin… but I may have entered that he is a woman.


I miss my babies tonight. It's morning in Ethiopia as I write this. They are probably done with breakfast and getting cleaned up and ready for their day. I imagine my baby boy being told he needs to stop playing with the ball long enough to eat breakfast! I can just picture the girls singing and playing together – singing songs and dancing! I miss you, sweet babies! Don't worry, we will be there as soon as we can!! We love you SO much!

Monday, January 25, 2010


This has been an amazing week of up's and down's! The "downs" were in my mind, the up's were reality!

Yesterday our family went to church and showed off photos of our newest family members! It's amazing to me how many women are out there saying "I would adopt in a heart beat if I thought we could afford it!" or "I would love to adopt, but my husband isn't on the same page." or "I can't decide if the Lord is asking me to adopt or WHAT... but this is totally on my heart!"

Let me just say... I know exactly what you mean.
I have thought all of those things. We have LIVED all of those things. What I have found is that if the Lord is preparing your heart for adoption, He will change your husband's heart AND provide the funds. What He asks of us is to be brave. Trust Him. Hear Him and follow His will.

I say these things mostly for ME... but if they reach your heart, too - - fabulous!

See, here we are in the middle of the realization of this dream... and one step ahead is another chance for worry, concern, fear, anxiety and sleepless nights.

We have been approved to proceed with the adoption of our precious babies!!
Now... I am missing a few tiny pieces of paper that are rather frustrating to acquire... and those pages are the only thing between us and getting our dossier turned in, official referral paperwork, dossier verification... all the next steps.

I think the most frustrating part right now is knowing our babies are waiting for US to be done with our paperwork. If I could have had it all turned in a month ago, I would have. Anything to expedite getting them home!!

We also made bedroom arrangements this weekend!
We do not have an 8 bedroom house, or a 5 bedroom house for our 7 kids and 2 adults.
What we do have is a GIGANTIC bonus room over the garage that currently houses a couch, a TV, toys and books.
It will now be the Girls Bedroom!
We will put our oldest on a loft bed with her desk underneath (and a curtain surrounding it to imitate private space for her almost-12-year-old self). We will also have two twin beds (our 8 year old is anti-bunk bed right now since she is currently sleeping on the top bunk and is unhappy that she can't make her bed nicely), and a toddler bed for the 8, 4 and 3 year old girls. Now to decide on a color that makes girls happy and that Daddy will agree to purchase and put on the walls!!

The younger two boys will share a bedroom and our oldest child will have his own room with the understanding that if we have company, he gets kicked out of his bedroom.

Moving right along!!
It actually feels real now that we are making plans and moving kids around!
We hope to get our bedrooms all set up soon and be ready for traveling!

I just want to hold them and give them a warm bubble bath and lotion them all up and give them footed pajamas and snuggle up together and, and, and.... just be their mommy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The BEST picture I have seen this week...

This is the notation they put on the "Waiting Child Photo listing" photos once the children listed have been matched with a family! I can't post a picture of them, but they are SO stinking cute and I can't WAIT to get (hopefully) some updated photos that shows them looking like they feel a little better. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010


They said YES!!!
I am blessed to be a mom of 7 precious babies!!
Thank you all so much for your prayers!!!

We waited for you, babies!!
We are coming for you!!
Hold on... it won't be long now!!!

Gun shy

After having been through two committee dates, hints of phone call resolutions, emails etc over the past 6 weeks... I don't quite know what to expect for today.

10:30 Pacific time there will be a conference call between 4 women who have the power to approve us for our waiting sibling group... or not.

I don't know what to expect after this phone call.

I would love to think that today will be the end of this part of our journey and the beginning of the next.
I would love to think that we will find out today if we are approved for our adopting the babies we love so much.
I just don't know.

I have asked my social worker to call me after the call to let me know... no offense to anyone at Holt, but if its not a favorable conclusion, I just don't want to lose it on the phone with them just yet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Just a quick update on where things are right now for the prayer requests.
Yesterday we were told by our SW at Holt that the out of town lady has a conference call set up with the director of the home study agency here. Today I talked to this director who said that NO, they don’t have it set up, she has a request for the call, but does not have a time/date yet.
I was also informed that we will not be re-re-presented at committee tomorrow.

I am having a SUPER hard time being a good “waiter” right now. It seems like pointless waiting. Also the lack of updates as to where we are in the process is very frustrating. Why did I have to call/email to find out that there was supposedly a conference call scheduled instead of the committee date?

Anyway, I am hoping at this point that they are able to schedule this conference call for today or tomorrow… but who knows. Since the Holt lady has been out of town for two weeks, she may be backed up and unable to schedule something that quickly.

I know they have the kids best interest at heart, but they are so worried about a disruption simply because there are 3 of them and 6 of us. I understand that disruptions happen. I know it’s horrible. But as a family, we have personally watched our own family members go through the WORST of the WORST in adoption related issues. We know all of the acronyms and have seen most of the initials in person!! Just because we have never adopted before does not mean we are higher risk for a disruption. Just because there are three of them doesn’t put us at a higher risk for a disruption. Those facts together-  that may be more of a concern, but we are a family and families don’t just wimp out on each other because things get really, really hard. 

When we jumped on this train we knew we had to be prepared for the worst case scenario. We have to be prepared (all adoptive families) for the possibility that our kids could come home, hate us, hate our families, hate our pets, cry all the time, scream 12 hours a day, destroy things in anger, pee on the floor to get back at us, poop on the couch to force us away from them, threaten to kill us or our other children, act out sexually, try to run away, act unsafe in the home, try to set things on fire, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. These are the harsh realities of many institutionalized kids and we HAVE to know ahead of time that these are very real possibilities – even if those things are less predominant in kids from Africa.
We know all of these things. We know what’s out there. We have seen it. We are as ready as we can be.

Now all we need is the opportunity to do it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Experience required.

I got an email this weekend from our home study social worker. She had spoken with the out-of-town social worker who is holding up the committee decision to allow us to adopt our sibling group.
She found out what the issue is.

Ready for this??

We have no adoption experience.


No matter that our in-laws have adopted a sibling group of three as well as a special-needs child.

No matter that we have friends and neighbors who have and are still adopting.

No matter that we have read SO MANY books on adoption, attachment, multi-racial families, etc...

Nope - that doesn't matter. We have never adopted before. Therefore, we can't possibly figure this out.

It's like having a degree from a university and applying for jobs but hearing "we really want someone with more experience".

And you know what's worse??

We can't argue with not having experience. We have NEVER adopted personally before.
That much IS true. However, we are parents and we KNOW Jesus put these kids in our lives for a reason and that they belong with us.

Still praying for Thursday.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No news is not news.

Whoever said "no news is good news" has never adopted.
I did speak with both - our social worker from our home study agency as well as the social worker we have been working with from Holt, last night. 

Basically, we wait.

Since one question/objection was that we had no experience with special needs kids, I wondered if it would be helpful for me to send my employment evaluation from this past spring when I was working as a Special Education T.A. I got a very favorable evaluation and was asked back for this school year. The only "negative" on my evaluation was that I tend to get too attached and personally involved in the kids I worked with.

And no, I didn't NOT go back this year because it was too hard. I would have been happy to return. However, my parents dental practice needed a front desk person while theirs was on maternity leave and she did not return.

I was told not to worry about providing any more documentation - that this was all now FAR above the social worker level and up to the director levels. Yikes. I hope that proves beneficial to us and that we do not now appear to be that pain-in-the-rear family. I did not personally start this domino trail of emails and phone calls between our HS agency and Holt... but I fear we may be the victims if it doesn't work out in our favor because the big-shots got all involved and got feathers ruffled.

One more week I guess... then maybe we will know something.

On a positive note, I think we may be nearly finished with the dossier documents! We still need our finished home study and maybe one more document then we will go get everything notarized and two things certified... and VOILA! Dossier! ;) Yeah, right. Because everything else so far has been that easy, right? LOL!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


A couple of years ago I helped with a ministry called Angel Missions Haiti. They bring babies and young children to the USA for life-saving medical treatment that is not available there in Haiti.

Of course, as you well know, last night there was a record-shattering earthquake in Haiti.

I just got my completed passport in the mail and I am trying to convince myself that immediately flying to Port Au Prince is not the answer to this problem.

I think of the babies... Joanice, Naphtalie and the others who we hosted and loved. They went home- back to their families who can provide love, food and shelter - - but there is no real medical care there.

I think of those with pending adoptions... personally LOVING their children in a tragedy-stricken country with no way to find out if they are ok this morning. No way to pick up the phone and just call - the phone lines are down and what do work are overrun. Internet is unreliable. And I think *I* just want to fly down there and check on babies!! I cannot imagine being in their shoes

I think of the mothers. Mothers of the children of Haiti who want to get their children help, but there is no hospital or doctors office anywhere near by.

We are so blessed here - in the USA.

Here I sit in my nice, heated home - children off to school or still sleeping in their beds, food in the fridge, pantry and the two freezers in the garage. It's almost disgusting.

Please continue to pray - especially for those who are pending adoptions. The airport is closed, the National Palace collapsed, government buildings have collapsed, the St. Joseph's Boys home has collapsed. My heart just breaks for those waiting on word from someone who can shed some light on the status of their loved ones. Please continue to pray for the adoptive families in the next few months. Their paperwork, their progress and process.... all will be unknowns in the next few months.

Lord, be with them all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I got an email today from our home study social worker's boss.
Basically, she has contacted Holt about the delay and the director she spoke with at the agency agreed to try to contact the committee member who is out of town to try to get the questions answered before two weeks go by! 

I am over-the-moon thrilled to hear this! It would make me so happy to get those questions answered before the 1/21 committee date! 

We would appreciate prayers... 

prayers that the questions would be ones our h.s. agency can easily, quickly answer...  

prayers that Holt would see that these are OUR kids and we desperately want them home sooner rather than later and we don't want to delay more than absolutely necessary...

Prayers that they would understand that we have already waited over a month since we fell in love with them and decided to move forward with their adoption...

prayers that our kids are safe, getting healthier and stronger, and that the workers at this home are Godly women who will love them in the interim.

Blessings... I will update as soon as I know anything!

Monday, January 11, 2010


ROUGH day, this Monday.
As if I am not side-tracked enough checking off days until the committee lady gets back in town, hubby goes out of town for a few days tomorrow morning (which is never fun), it was the first day back to school after our "snow" days off last week, and it's a Monday.
Walk into work, get fussed at because of an insurance claim we have pending has not yet been paid. Shortly after that, find out the water isn't working (not good under normal circumstances, especially detrimental in a medical office), shortly after that find out it's a frozen water main, after that we lose suction on the dental equipment (due to the water issue), I have to reschedule patients due to the water issue. Later that same day - the water turns back on, but we have no HOT water. Call the property management lady who sends the tech who discovers the heating element is burned out on our tank. Maintenance man wonders aloud if this is caused by the water outage... which sets off my boss/step-dad who then fusses at poor maintenance man. Maintenance man figures he opened a can of worms, I told him he was just the final straw of the day. Also had to deal with a particularly frustrating patient who thinks he should not have to pay full price for his services. At this rate, with the trouble he has been so far, he should pay double.

I miss my babies today and I wish we were farther along in this process. There is some safety in being approved to proceed - even if you are waiting for a court date. I don't know of many if any cases where a family has been denied the ability to adopt in ET once they get to court. I know there are delays, but you know it WILL happen - just a matter of timing. That is a different kind of waiting I think.

Putting on my "positive pants" as my sister calls them, I have a job working with my family whom I love. This job has allowed our family to pay off debt SUPER DUPER fast in order to be able to adopt. This job is paying for the adoption so far. I have not had many issues lately with getting to work on time and still getting the kids on the bus before I have to leave. Tomorrow will be the first day in a long time that I have to call a neighbor and have the younger two wait at her house for the bus so I can get to work early. I know that the process of adoption is difficult, but like the line in one of my favorite songs says, "what's worth the price is always worth the fight".

Praying for my bloggy friends today - ones who are waiting for court dates, ones who are waiting for referrals, ones who are like me - still in the paperwork jungle waiting to see the light of day!

Friday, January 8, 2010


Well, we didn't hear "no", but we didn't hear "yes" either.
Long story shortened, one lady out of the committee still feels that she has some unanswered questions and doesn't feel comfortable approving us. Everyone else was comfortable, just this one lady was not.
So... of course, she is going to be out of town for 2 weeks now - starting after work yesterday. Whatever.
Hopefully she is going on vacation. Or maybe she will travel to Ethiopia to visit the care center and see the faces of the kids who wait. I believe she may have forgotten her chief job description is to place children into their forever families.
So, we have two more weeks. Hopefully we can get our dossier almost all the way done by then, I would love it if it were totally done, but that's a tall order (especially since I still dont have the official file from Holt with the dossier requirements).
I have a snow day today, so maybe I can get something accomplished from home.
Thanks for the prayers, they are still greatly appreciated and needed.
I am going to contact Holt today and ask if they would consent to just putting my kids on "hold" until the next committee date since they "tabled" the discussion for two weeks.
Thanks everyone...
I guess advocating for my kids starts before they are even mine.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Melkam Genna !!

Melkam Genna, everyone!
Happy Ethiopian Christmas!

Thank you to anyone out there praying for us for today.
It's our 2nd committee date and I am trying to be cautiously optimistic.
Preparing to hear "no" again... but hoping for a "yes".

Not sure when we will hear something. On the yahoo group I belong to for Holt Ethiopia families, someone posted that they were going to the Waiting Child committee today as well, but they got a call last night telling them they had been approved. I won't read much into that... or at least try not to.

I will try to update later. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Social Worker...

Pretty sure I may want to adopt my home study social worker, too! She is AWESOME!
Look what I just got!!

"I will have a draft of the home study done tonight that I will e-mail either tonight or in the morning.  At this point I see no reason at all why I would not approve the home study for the J... family and strongly recommend their adoption of this sibling group.  It has been such a pleasure to work with them!  E..., I look forward to speaking with you."
For my babies who wait to come home:
"He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge, his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day... no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways." (Psalm 91:4-5,10-11).

I am doing okay waiting today... waiting till Thursday to find out if THIS time Holt will say we can proceed. 
I couldn't sleep well last night. Just kept thinking about things. 

Things like (warning... you are now entering Chrissy's brain. It's somewhat like those thought-spider-web things they teach you to make to brainstorm an idea. I did not need help in that area.):
What if they say no? What if they say YES? 
How long till we get our dossier together? 
Isn't "dossier" French for "file"? 
Why not just call it a file? Do we think "dossier" sounds better since it's French? Is it common knowledge that it's a French word? 
What was that sound? I should not have watched "I Survived..." before bed when Paul is out of town. I know better. That was dumb. The doors are locked. We live in Mayberry. We have a giant dog. Oooohhhh... it was the dishwasher turning off. Stupid loud dishwasher. I didn't mean that... I love you, dishwasher. 
I wonder what time it is in Ethiopia? So, if it's tomorrow already, by the time I get information from ET, it's already like two days old? Wait, that doesn't make sense. Wait, yes it does. 
Did I turn off the outside light? I wonder if that possum is back. Would the light scare off the possum? Probably not. If *I* were a possum, I would not come here again. 
It's really cold in the bed without Paul. I should get up and get socks. I hate sleeping with socks. Well, do I hate trying to sleep with cold feet more than I hate sleeping with socks on? That bathroom tile floor is REALLY cold... I am not getting up. I will eventually warm up under the covers. If I lay realllllly still... not working. I need an electric blanket. I wonder if they really start fires as often as people warn about that. Surely not. Can't be worse than thinking I can warm up my feet with the hairdryer under the sheets. Its probably people like me that make them put that warning on there about not using the hairdryer while you are sleeping. If I am willing to get up to do that, I might as well just put on socks. 
Our poor Ethiopian kids are going to FREEEEEEEZE in the winters! I wonder how cold it gets in Ethiopia. I just know there won't be any snow there... because of that song. Great. Now that song is stuck in my head. "And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time..." Yeah, I dont know any other words to that song. Who sang that anyway? Sounds like Sting in my head. It could sound like anyone in MY head. I could do Ariel - the Little Mermaid singing that song in my head. 
I am weird. I wonder if other people think like this? I am SO glad the home study lady doesn't do some kind of super high-tech thought-reading assessment. THAT would be weird. I wonder if they can do that? I think I might be able to break a machine that reads thoughts. 
Ponderous. Great. Now THAT song is stuck in my head. "And then my shoes started to squeak... eeer-eeer-reeek" That was a stupid song. I wonder.........

I will spare you more thoughts. That's how I try to get to sleep at night. Some nights, I wish someone would just whack me on the head with something heavy! I did this when I was pregnant, too... so I guess my brain thinks I am expecting! Maybe in a way, I am!