Monday, June 28, 2010

Sad thing of the day

There is no "unknown" answer to circle.
Just Y or N.
I don't know what they weighed at birth.
I don't think anyone does.
I don't know if they have ever stayed overnight in a hospital.
I don't know about their birth or pregnancies.

This makes me very sad.

Friday, June 25, 2010

100th post!

So, my friend Jamey says that I have to do 100 things about me for my 100th post.
I doubt there ARE 100 things about me... but I will try!!

1. I have been married 15 years to a wonderful guy!

2. I am the mom of 7 kids!

3. We have a Great Pyrenees who thinks she's human.

4. We have lived in our house for 2 years now - almost a record for us!

5. I can't eat gluten

6. I like to jump on the trampoline with my kids

7. I hate the mall, but I love Buckle... Buckle is only at the mall, so I go when I need jeans.

8. I love coffee

9. I buy raw milk and fresh eggs from a local farm

10. I am very nervous about our trip to Ethiopia.

11. I love 80's high school movies and family sit-com's

12. I love to read, but rarely fiction

13. I may be the only person alive who remembers the kids' show Shirt Tales.

14. I know every line from Fools Rush In.

15. I hate when people say "quote" when they mean "quotation".

16. I was Chuck E Cheese for one summer in high school. 

17. Blood type O+... (100 things about me is HARD!!)

18. I've broken my nose twice.

19. I hate the sound when someone is cutting steak and they scrape the plate with the knife.

20. My husband is a chef  which has been a huge blessing with my weird diet.

21. My legal first name is Chrissy. It's not short for anything.

22. I love guacamole.

23. I am the only person in our house with green (or without brown) eyes.

24. Milk Chocolate makes me sneeze, but I love dark chocolate.

25. I could spend lots of money at the nursery (plant variety), but would probably kill all of the plants.

26. I wish I had a craft room so I could sew and scrapbook and leave it all out all the time.

27. I played the flute for like 2 months.

28. I was never a cheerleader.

29. I like going to "hot yoga" classes, but have not been in a couple of years.

30. I love Sunday afternoon naps.

31. I like the idea of sushi... but don't actually enjoy eating it.

32. I used to have this blonde streak down the back of my hair that was natural. Then I started coloring my 

33. I dyed my hair VERY red once. Not good.

34. I hate shaving my legs.

35. I never paint my nails because

36. I bite my nails when I am nervous

37. I currently have no fingernails.

38. I hate laundry.

39. I threaten to institute "Naked Day" so that I can get caught up on laundry.

40. I never remember how old I am. I have to do the math every single time.

41. I buy my daughter nicer shoes now that she is in my size... and 12 years old.

42. I borrow my daughter's shoes. She hates that.

43. I hate when people leave cabinet doors open.

44. I got sunburned today at the pool because I didn't think I needed sunscreen since it was cloudy. Classic.

45. I check out my blog reader map frequently hoping I have an Ethiopian reader. I don't.

46. I cried at Toy Story 3.

47. I was pregnant with our second child on my 21st birthday.

48. I graduated high school at 17.

49. I am horrible with numbers and frequently transpose them in my brain. 

50. My ideal weather is 75 degrees year round, except for Nov. and Dec. which should have snow.

51. It has taken me over two hours to come up with 50 items. I am very boring.

52. I consider driving 4 1/2 hours to Atlanta to go to Ikea just to get tiny tea sets for the girls. 

53. I would love to buy lots of land and start a family retreat/camp.

54. I want animals. A small cow, chickens, a lamb... 

55. I had a lamb in 4th grade thru 4H. His name was Lambert. I didn't read the fine print about the auction.

56. I don't eat lamb.

57. I don't think I could survive as a vegetarian.

58. I have to have a fan on to be able to sleep.

59. I buy those bags of cheap tube popsicles to hand out to all the neighborhood kids who come over.

60. Be warned: if your child comes over, they will be told they can have one...even if it's 5pm.

61. I met my hubby in culinary school. 

62. No, that doesn't make me a chef.

63. I cut my thumb in the butcher shop and got 8 stitches. 

64. Paul and I had our first date on Feb.8, 1995.

65. We got engaged on Feb. 22, 1995.

66. We got married 101 days later!

67. I have around 72 credit hours towards my Bachelors of Science in Religion.

68. I would like to write books and speak at conferences when I grow up.

69. My packing checklists give me a false sense of security - like I can get packed in a hurry.

70. I can't imagine being away from my kids for 2 weeks when we go to Ethiopia.

71. I also can't imagine what it will be like to have 7 kids in the same house.

72. I want to design some shirts for us to wear home - all matchy-matchy.

73. I rock at Guitar Hero on wii, but only left-handed. I am normally right handed. It's weird.

74. The most emotional day of our adoption journey was the day we were matched with our kids.

75. The 2nd most emotional was the day we found out our travel group assignment.

76. I cried hysterically both times. Can't-catch-my-breath-praise-Jesus crying.

77. I don't like sports on TV, but I can watch almost anything live.

78. I love riding horses.

79. I love campfires.

80. I miss s'mores with real graham crackers.

81. I love coconut cake!

82. I used to love to bake until I couldn't eat anything I made anymore.

83. I wish I could magically lose 15 lbs before I get on the plane for Ethiopia.

84. Hubby and I have one day/night in Germany on our way to Ethiopia!

85. I am very afraid of airplane trips. Not so much the flying part as the crashing part.

86. I am sad that I now get very sick on spinning rides at the amusement park. I used to love them.

87. I love my Polish Stoneware items. I have 2 dinner plates, 2 mugs a serving bowl and a pitcher.

88. We need a new family photo so I have one to take to Ethiopia.

89. I would like to get bento boxes for my kids to make cool lunches for this school year.

90. I know myself well enough to know bento box lunches are outside the realm of my ability with 7 kids.

91. I do well to remember to feed everyone lunch.

92. Sam's fish jumped out of its fishbowl last night. 

93. I found out bettas get gooey, sticky AND cemented to wood tables when they die.

94. I love lilacs and hydrangeas. 

95. I am stalking this outdoor glider chair at Kroger. I want it for my porch.

96. I have a hard time going to sleep with Paul out of town.

97. However, I do take up the whole bed when he is gone. 

98. I would like a chalkboard wall in my kitchen but there aren't really any walls in my kitchen.

99. I am very thankful this is not a cicada summer here in Tennessee. They scare me SO much!

100. I am thankful for my friends and family who have helped me through the past 6 months of emotional up's and downs, the waiting, the elation, the preparations, the questions, the doubt, the insanity, the exuberance, and the rest of it! I don't know what I would have done without you!! 


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Travel Dates!

We will be there SOON!

We booked travel for our 
agency's Travel Group 14!

We will hold them in our arms 
for the first time ever on July 23rd!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just looked down and saw...

Coffee and popcorn.
It's like my own little Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony in my kitchen!
I think it's a sign...
SURELY travel groups get assigned this week!
Come on group 14!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What do you wake up thinking about?

Well, if you are 6 months, 2 weeks and 5 days into the love of three babies in Ethiopia...
your morning thoughts may look like this:

Coffee and Blackberry...
what time is it in Eugene, Oregon at the agency office?

Perhaps sorting some paperwork for the travel binder is in order.

Begin ANOTHER "To Do" list

Perhaps do a little good-deal shopping on line to check something off of the ubiquitous to-do list!

Casually read over the packing list (one more time) and see what can be simplified.

Sit and wonder, 
Daydream and hope, 
Pray and plead
that today will be the day
they call and say its time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another reason why it's hard to wait

A friend dropped off some clothes and
inside that bag was this really cute pair
of baby girl crocs.
I don't know if they will fit...
but I will take them just in case!

I miss you, babies.
Mommy will be there really soon, I promise.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What's the holdup?

Well, it's like this.

Trying to phrase this in a way that does not come back to bite me in the rear...

There's this government agency in Ethiopia.
We call it MOWA.
It's the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

They are understaffed and overextended.

Following is my understanding of how the 
MOWA staff affect our ability to go pick up our children.

In order to complete our adoption, MOWA 
staff needs to submit 4 letters on our behalf.
(This may be per child, I am not sure.)

Letter #1 is for the court date.
(the lack of this letter is why our 
court date was May 18th, 
then we were rescheduled to June 1st)

Letter #2 is is to process the post-court paperwork.
This letter starts the process of getting our children ready to go home.

Letter #3 is so that we can get a birth certificate issued.
We need the birth certificate in their new names 
so that we can get the passport.

Letter #4 is so that we can get a passport issued.
We need the birth certificate to get the 
passport, and both to get the visa.

So where are we in this process??
Who the heck knows.

MOWA is closed this week.
HOPEFULLY it is for some kind of efficiency
 training or staff training or something...
because there are a LOT of parents 
who have passed court, are legally their child's 
parents and who are just waiting to be allowed 
to go pick them up.

We have some other stuff, too.
Stuff I can't go into on the blog for privacy reasons...
but some darn good reasons why we 
need to get the kids home soon.

Last week we thought we could go with 
the next travel group...
but surprise,
our MOWA letters were not written 
before they closed for the week.

This was a major set-back for us in that we have weeks that we need to be here and available for our extended family. Of course, MOWA does not understand this on a personal level. I am sure there are people there who would understand, but due to the fear of something sinister happening under the table, no agency is allowed to contact MOWA directly to ask for the status of a family's paperwork. It is excruciating to know that had these letters been written and submitted, we could be leaving in a week and be home in two and get our lives somewhat settled before all of the chaos July will/may bring in our family.

Our agency - they have been wonderful.
They totally understand and have advocated 
for us with the Ethiopian staff.
They understand our particular situation and have tried,
 unsuccessfully, to help get us there in the window 
we had available. They were willing, but 
MOWA was not caught up to our point yet.

I received updated photos of the kids yesterday!
While this was really nice, it was also somewhat 
heartbreaking as I have been able to watch them get 
older and older over the past 7 months since 
we first saw their photos.

I guess this qualifies as a "down" day.
We have a lot on our plates right now and
a lot coming up.
I just want my kids here
or at least to be able to plan the trip
with more than 14 days notice.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

While I'm waiting

Today I am more at peace with the wait.

I can't describe it, or explain why, so I feel that it must be from Jesus.

What are my plans for the wait?

Well... I can realistically presume we will be there within 2 months... so I have stuff to do.

I would like to finish de-cluttering the house. We have a lot of "clutter" laying around and I have this urge to simplify things.

I would like to organize the clothes for the new kids. We don't really know what sizes they will be wearing when they come home, so if I have them sorted into drawers, it will make things easier to pick through.

I would like to put some meals in the freezer.

I may shave the dog. I am SO tired of fur everywhere... maybe a hairless Great Pyrenees will be the next big thing?

I am praying for a front-loading washer and dryer. The extra capacity will be super helpful once we are a family of 9.

Also praying we can fence in the yard before we return home. Not sure where all this money is coming from... so these large purchases may just not be possible.

We will also need a giant van. Not going to think about that right now... I really don't see myself driving the big giant van.

I want to take the kids to the pool at least once or twice a week.

I want to go spend the day with my grandmother a couple of times and also go visit my great-grandmother.

I would like to get my craft table set up in my bedroom so I can sew and make some more bows for the girls.

I want to try out some new recipes for stuff I can eat that travels well in a suitcase getting smooshed for 20 hours in the underneath of a plane.

So... I have stuff to keep me busy these next weeks until we know for sure when we will bring our babies home. Those who have gone before me assure me that these weeks will fly by. I guess we will see about that!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I think the dry cleaner lost my positive pants.

My sister has this thing for Positive Pants.
It's somewhat like
"put on your big girl panties and deal with it..."
but in a more positive manner.
I wrote a post a long time ago wearing said pants...
but recently I have begun to come to the realization 
that either
A. Someone STOLE my positive pants!
B. The dry cleaner LOST them.
C. They are too tight and I have to lay on the bed 
and suck in my tummy to zip them up, 
thus rendering them banished to the far 
recesses of my mental closet.

I'm gonna go with B.

Not really.
I know I have been in a funk.
Even the passing court news didn't hit me quite as 
wonderfully upside the head as I was hoping it would.

Not that I am not excited... 
I am very excited to meet my children.

I am just tired.

Monday I felt wronged by the tone of
someone's voice over the phone.

Tuesday I wrote an email that was like
an internet fart that cleared the whole room.

Today I wait for a phone call with our
agency to help settle me down.

I don't think you can ever really be 
prepared for the emotions of an adoption.

The obsessing, the panic, the paperwork craziness, 
the elation followed by sheer devastation, 
the unknowns, the timeline madness,
 the joy, the fear,
the anxiety and
the peace.

It can be wonderful,
but it can also make you absolutely insane.

Right now, the next person who asks me how soon 
till we bring them home may wind up being my kleenex.

Then there's the fear.
What will this look like once we are home?
How many ways will my life change?
Will I have time to do ANYTHING for myself anymore?
Will I live in a complete disaster zone 
since I can't put any one child down for 
more than 5 seconds all day long?
What if they don't get along?
What if we DON'T bond right away?
What if, what if, what if, what if....

And the thing is...
You can't prepare for every "what if".

You can't plan for the unknowns.

All you can do is prepare the best you know how to do,
Ask for prayers for everything under the sun,
Hope you get to go get them soon,
try to be at peace,
and trust that (as much as you hate to hear it)
this part will be over soon.
How soon is soon?
I don't know.
That's the cruddy part.
It's not like being pregnant and knowing that 
no matter what, you won't go over 42 weeks.

I am hereby promising to relocate my positive pants.

I will not wallow in the muck and ickiness
of worry, doubt and fear.

I will know that all of this is beyond MY control..
so I can let go of my false sense of control.

I will relax and enjoy the last few weeks I have at home with my
4 kids and prepare to have 7 running around.

I will do my (awful, horrible, gigantic pile of) laundry
AND put it away
AND not threaten to institute naked week.

I will smile more and remember that my worry 
is causing unsightly lines around my eyebrow/nose area.

And I will squeeze into those positive pants if it kills me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

HA! What did I know???

THIS is a FUNNY, FUNNY post...
I wrote it long ago...
before I had any experience in this whole adoption thing...
If I could go back in time, I would SHAKE me!!

Check it out:

Enjoy the ride!

(written 10/22/09)
We took the kids to Kentucky Kingdom over Labor Day weekend this year. We enjoyed spending the day running from ride to ride, and watching the kids experience several "first's".
First roller coaster, first wooden roller coaster, first upside-down ride, first water ride, first water slide ride...

Our favorite was the Kentucky Rumbler! It's a wooden coaster but it is very well made and doesn't smack your head side to side into the padded harness while you ride. We rode it at least 10 times that day! The thing I remember most about the ride is getting buckled in at the beginning and the guy giving the instructions tells you to keep your arms and legs inside until the ride is over, blah blah blah... but then he says "
Enjoy your ride on the Kentucky Rumbler!"

I was thinking about that today as
 I scanned and emailed our home study application into the social worker!! This feels like that buckle-in warning.

Some notes to my future self as we embark on this ride:

Waiting in line: Sometimes there may be a wait. Waiting stinks. We all think waiting stinks. Being impatient while waiting will not make anyone move any faster. Just settle down, take a deep breath, and try to find something to do to keep yourself busy. People watch, play with the kids, hug your husband, plan the next fun thing to do. Before you know it... it's your turn!
Buckle in: You know this ride has up's and down's... it takes a long time to get up the ramp to the top and when you come down, sometimes you feel out of control. It's ok... you are totally SAFE.
Arms up: What fun is it to hold on, white-knuckled, eyes closed, full of fear? Arms up! Trust the harness to keep you safe and abandon your fears at the gate!
Say Cheese! :There is this point on the ride where they take your picture... try to remember that someone will see this and determine from that photo what you thought of the ride while you were on it. Remember others are watching you, for better or for worse, and you may be the only picture they ever see of this process. Be real, but watch that attitude.
Look around at the top: That point at the top when you are about to take off for the craziest part of the ride... that's the time when you are mostly still... look around and enjoy the view! Anticipate, but enjoy the moment you are in!
The end : Say thank you. Smile at the people getting on the ride after you. Don't scare them by telling them about the scary parts... let them figure that out for themselves. They might not be scared of the same parts you are scared of.
Maybe you even want to run back around and do it all over again! ;)

Taking care of "our own" first

I don't remember where I was recently when the topic of adoption came up...
I may have overheard it at the pool, or read some bitter person's blog.
However, the statement went something like:
"Why would anyone adopt from another country when 
there are SO many children in the 
US Foster Care system that need homes, too?"
Well, let me answer that from our family's perspective on this particular adoption.

We wanted to maintain birth order in our family.

I realize, this isn't a big deal to many families, but it was for us.
Enough said.

At the time that meant adopting a child under 6 years old from the foster care system.
We knew that wanting siblings and younger kids would be a tough call from the US system, not impossible, but more difficult.

We also feel that God didn't draw the boundaries on our maps and tell us to stay inside our zone.
Ethiopia is as much "our own" as Texas or Kentucky.
They are all His...
and He wants families for all of them.

So, for those "take care of our own" folks out there...
Go for it!
Adopt domestically!
But, if you read your Bible... God is pretty clear about going into all of the world... not just those boundaries someone drew on a map. 
It's not always about helping "our own", it's about who becomes your own.
I have seven children.
4 home-grown, and 3 from Ethiopia.
They are all MY OWN.
And that is a beautiful thing!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Court Approval!

We PASSED court!!

We have 7 children!

They have our last name!

They are no longer orphans!

We are theirs and they are ours!

It's just amazing.

We officially passed on June 1st, we just found out today!
Yesterday was our 15th wedding anniversary.

We had been waiting on the info about our court date 
since Tuesday at the opening of business Pacific time...
but there was no news.
I called the agency...
they still had no news.
There is a problem sometimes
getting news from ET to the USA in
a timely manner.
Sometimes it's a power outage,
sometimes it's no internet,
sometimes its whatever.

But we waited.
Tuesday... no news.
Wednesday... no news.
Thursday... no news.
But then today...
as we were driving back from our
anniversary get-away in Atlanta...
my phone went
And there it was!

THE email.

"Court Approval!"

I nearly crashed the car.

Hubby was on a business call and I 
excitedly passed him my phone, 
pleading (somewhat) silently with him to read it!!!

Once he FINALLY got off of the phone
 (which was probably 90 seconds, but FELT like 10 minutes)
he opened the message.

And so, at 11:27am today...
we found out we are the parents to 7 beautiful children!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mr. Passport

I have this Mr. Passport.
I went to the post office on the busiest mailing day of the 
Christmas season to put in my application
 and get photographed.

I got it in the mail in early January.
It was a fun envelope to open.
It was hope with a government stamp.
Like, "Here! Go travel somewhere awesome!"

Since then it has sat in our fireproof safe.
Just sitting there.
Getting all indignant.
Now Mr. Passport is like 
"Yo. Whassup with the box?
I need STAMPS.
Like COOL ones.
This box is TINY.
And not any fun."

I know.
I feel your pain Mr. Passport.
Soon I hope...
I will get you your stamp.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I apologize in advance for offending you.
It will probably happen if you keep reading.

You have been warned.

Just in case you are wondering, 
we have no news on our court date yet.

For some reason, emails are not arriving from Ethiopia to Holt.
No, I don't know why it is that Holt can't get court 
outcomes when other agencies are able to hear.

So, back to the title.
What is this you ask?
It's the "churchy" language people speak when they
try to encourage someone else or explain away their troubles.

For example.
We have been waiting, matched to our kids, since late January.
Our dossier arrived in Ethiopia in March.
People are in Ethiopia TODAY taking custody of their kids
who they were matched with in late March.
And what do I hear when I complain about this?

"It's all in God's timing."

Yes indeedy.
So if I have a piece of paper sitting on my desk for a 
month and neglect to sign it, that's God's timing when 
I finally remember it sitting there and mail it in.
Not just that I am an idiot and should have put a 
brighter colored sticky note on the front.


"God can take care of your babies 
better than you can right now anyway."
Uh huh. 
I feel much better now.
So, a homeless, starving child who lives in a dump 
scavenging food from the trash is better off there because 
the Lord can take better care of him than a parent could right now.
I think not.

This falls into the same category as things I heard when I miscarried.
"You wouldn't have wanted that baby... it was probably deformed or something."
"These things all happen for a reason."
"Jesus wanted to keep that baby with him instead."

I say, what kind of God would give you a 
child for a few weeks, 
instilling hope and joy,
only to rip it away.
Not MY God.
I don't know about YOURS...
but MY God says we live in a fallen world,
full of consequences of sin.
I don't think He makes mistakes.
I don't think he messes up a baby then says
"oops...recall on that one!"
All children are a gift from the Lord.
Which brings me back to adoption Christianese.

"Patiently waiting on the Lord".

Yes... but is it REALLY God holding up my paperwork?
Or is it MAYBE, just MAYBE another 
consequence of living in a fallen, imperfect world?

"God is just teaching you a lesson about something."
I am all for learning lessons, but when
you are in the middle of something super hard..
is it really the most wise time to bestow such 
wisdom on someone who is hurting?
Instead of loving the lesson we wind up disliking the teacher.
Which one of us would love a parent who teaches us about 
the stove being hot by placing our hand 
directly on the burner while it is glowing red?
I believe God ALLOWS things to 
happen so that we can learn and grow.
I don't think He sits up there just waiting to 
smash us to smithereens so we can learn 
something valuable.

So, please.
The next time you wish to bless someone with your 
vast expanse of Biblical knowledge...
remember this:

Sometimes the best thing you can say is just
"I am so sorry."
"I wish I had something to say that would help."
"What can I do to help you?"
"How can I pray for you right this minute?"
"I hate that this has happened/is happening to you."
just give them a hug.

And don't walk away after 2 seconds.

Let them cry if they need it.

And just be there.