November 29, 2007

Tidbits of News

Today a fellow mom spoke extensively with our family coordinator to get the scoop on the wait, referrals, court, the transitional home, and our rep in Ethiopia. She did a comprehensive job of detailing her conversation over at her blog and I won't try to recreate that here. To cram all the information into one blurb:
Our in country representative is now focusing on getting families through court and travelling, he has been busy getting the transitional home up and running, hiring staff for the home, and helpers for him. Once he gets through these next few weeks of work, families successfully make it through court, and travel, then he will be able to focus on referrals.

That is the really, really short of it. I'm saddened by the thought of waiting into March (PLEASE, I don't need a lesson in patience!!) for news of our children, but I feel a smidge relieved knowing that I shouldn't expect the phone to ring in the next month. I can focus on what is swirling around in our family--there is a blizzard going on right now. I can't seem to slow my mind down enough to process any of the "big" news I've gotten recently. When my mind wraps itself around this bit of news and I can find a way to gracefully relay the news that is slowly unfolding within our family; I'll grab a cup of coffee and update on that!

November 26, 2007

Back to reality funk

I'm one of those annoying people that cheerfully pop up from bed no matter how early the hour. Today I woke up and laid in bed for at least 30 minutes. For some reason I just couldn't get my gumption going to pull the covers off and creep into the cold bedroom air. I could hear the rain pouring down outside just warning me of another dreary, cold, midwestern day. The cat was curled on my chest, purring, encouraging me to stay in bed just a wee bit longer. So I did.

When I get home from a visit to our families, I struggle getting back into my routine. Today I blamed that for my funk. The responsiblity of being "mom" was weighing heavy on me, and it only got worse. In an effort to feel better I emailed my loving husband. He is not naturally an encourager. I would go so far as to say that he is the worst pessimist I know, he obviously read too much Pooh as a child and decided to mold his personality after Eeyore.

Here's what my message said:
I feel discouraged in "all things having to do with my life" right now. Something about the expanse of time before summer comes, perhaps? The weather is depressing, we have no referral, have no plan for our future, have a stinky smell in the fridge that I can't identify (I tried to), have a dead mouse in the garbage can in the kitchen, and, finally, we have some sticky residue covering the entire kitchen due to the madness of canning that went on before we left.

I should probably explain some of that. It was really just a boohoo fest for me, but the unknowns were pressing down on me as I spent time in prayer this morning. Then the reality of my responsibilities as "mom" cracked me in the head when Eli told me that there was a dead mouse under the table. Whoa, you mean I sat for an hour this morning with a cup of coffee, God, and a dead mouse?! Wait a second, what do we do with this mouse, since I'm the only adult here? See, if I was still at my Mom's house some other adult would definitely take care of this. Probably my dad, if not him then maybe Seth, or my mom, but I would be the last on the list. Because I'm still the child at my Mom's house, and you don't expect a child to clean up a dead mouse. Wake up call for me, as I try to formulate a plan to scoop up the dead mouse. All the while Everett is lamenting the death of the mouse and moaning about "why can't the cats just let them live so we can keep them as pets?"

After I dispose of the mouse body, I look around the kitchen and notice that it just seems dirty. After trying unsuccessfully to slide a canister of granola over on the counter, I realize that the dirtiness is indeed sticky applebutter/juice/sauce residue from the chaos of canning 2 bushels of apples in the last few hours I was at home. Though I thought I cleaned it all up, it was merely a facade of cleanliness. Then it sat all weekend to harden and possibly attract the mouse? ACK--too much to think about on a Monday morning after a holiday weekend. I need to walk away from the kitchen and convince myself that math is important enough to call my children downstairs and start school.

All the while I'm wondering, will we get a call about our children today? Will I even HEAR news of our kids before Christmas, because I honestly thought that maybe, just maybe, we would HAVE our five children together in our living room tearing through gifts this Christmas. I haven't thought this for a long time, but it was depressing to think that we have been waiting for a referral for OVER six months...ugh. So I sent Seth that email. This was his reply...

When I opened the fridge here at work this morning, I noticed it was QUITE stinky, but not to worry it's not my responsibility to clean it out so, whatever. Later, when I went back to reclaim my chicken I realized that the light was out and that the reason for the stink was that the fridge was dead. So, not only was my salad dressing rotten, but my chicken was now in questionable condition. On my way down to eat (and share the possibly rotten chicken) with Andrew in the break room that we've always wanted to eat in but never have because there's an unwritten rule that we have to work through our lunch hour and enjoy the possibly rotten left over pot luck thanksgiving gravy to go with my possibly rotten chicken down there, our boss verbally attacks us (I guess because we didn't invite him).

Oh yeah, and then we ate the rotten chicken far so good! If you need more encouragement, I've got more.

Isn't it a blessing to read that? When I tallied it up, I think he may have me beat, because eating rotten meat is far worse than chucking a dead mouse into the garbage. God knew what He was doing when He paired us together. On a bad day, Seth still makes me laugh.

And, by the way, I'm over my rotten attitude. I'm thankful that I've got a cat to kill the mice who sneak into the house, thankful that I have dozens of jars of canned apples, thankful that I have three great kids who actually love math, and thankful that I can trust God with our future.

November 20, 2007

Christmas Shopping

I'm part of an online support group of families adopting from Ethiopia who are using America World. Recently, there has been a discussion of fundraising efforts. In a moment of complete and utter genius someone mentioned supporting each other. Duh. So I'm going to post a few links here, for those of you planning on doing a bit of early Christmas shopping. If you are expecting a gift FROM me, then you might consider looking at the links and letting me know what your requests might be. That would be my elusive way of telling you that I am going to try and do some of my Christmas shopping online, buying things from these families. We all know that Sam Walton doesn't need me to line the pockets of his decendents, but these dear folks could use our help in getting their adoption accounts up to snuff. So skip the mad rush and shop from the comfort of home; from people who actually NEED the money! There's my sales pitch (not too bad considering...) and here are the links:
Scrapbooking materials from Creative Memories
Handmade soy candles
Ethiopian Adoption T-shirts scroll to the bottom
Ethiopian Adoption T-shirts
Simply Love T-shirts password kiki, click T-shirt link on the left
Hilary's Hope-awesome purses
Fair Trade Coffee check the left side of the blog
Books and bibles scroll to the bottom
Current-paper products

Hope you have fun shopping for a good cause!

November 19, 2007

Ella's Gotcha Video

I have a confession to make: I started a video for Ella's gotcha day and didn't finish it until last week. Her gotcha day is August 21, home three years!

If you can't see the video visit it here.

Crop for a Cause

It's taken me the entire weekend to recover from Friday night's fundraiser! There were so many people who helped (THANKS!) and so many kind people who came (THANKS!). I think the evening was a success and several ladies came to me hoping that we would do this again. I don't remember my exact reaction as that night passed by in a blur, but I hope that I politely replied in the negative. I think that everyone had a great evening and perhaps were challenged to get involved in the lives of hurting children.

I have to confess though, in the end, the night was more of a blessing to me than probably anyone else there. It was very humbling. I can't thank everyone enough. It took MANY people pitching in to make this work. I am so thankful that so many people were willing to do various jobs and so many people were willing to come (especially those who don't even scrapbook and just wanted to come to be supportive).

So the grand total--we brought home around $400! I am very happy with this (as I'd rather organize an evening like this than sit in my driveway having a yard sale) and so thankful to the people who helped and attended. Here's the one picture I have to post (since the other is an upclose shot of a dear friend eating and she would probably not talk to me anymore if I posted it online).

Also, in the fundraising realm...The Waals have been a blessing to us lately as they have spoken in several churches about their adoption. When the first group asked how they could help Tracy mentioned our adoption and they took up a love offering for us. They have given us several hundred dollars--we need to get them on some kind of speaking circuit! Thanks, guys!

November 15, 2007

AWAA's Transition Home

Our agency just opened a new transitional home! Last week, they transferred the 13 children who have been referred to families from Kid's Care, the orphanage they were in, to America World's privately run, newly opened, home. This is where each our children will live as they wait between the time of referral and our arrival. With the news of the home opening, came news that there are needs at the home that WE CAN MEET. I think it's very cool to be able to have a hand in the care that my child will receive before we even meet face to face. There are many ways YOU can get involved, too! AWAA is sending a staff member to Ethiopia to bring supplies and check things out before she permanantly moves to Ethiopia in January. She is going to be able to bring donations (monetary and otherwise) with her. A fellow adoptive mom has a very cool thing going on, if you are willing to donate money via paypal--she's making things come together to get the cash to Ethiopia. Go and make a donation and read about the amazing project here.

OR--if you live close to me or have a way of getting donations to me, then email me for a list of what the home needs. If you are really quick about gathering things, we can get them to the agency before the rep leaves for Ethiopia in a week. Otherwise, I'll be prepared to bring donations when we travel.

My mind is flying faster than I can keep up with it right now. I'm a crazed lunatic trying to get everything to come together for the fundraiser tomorrow night. I am excited about the evening, but don't want it to be ruined because I didn't prepare well enough. This information about the transitional home will be a great opportunity to share with all the women there, too. As I'm collecting opportunities to share with them, I'm realizing how many ways we can be involved in our town, state, country, and world! I'm sure you will all be eagerly awaiting a post Saturday to hear how it went (though reading about it certainly won't be as good as attending!).

Meanwhile, get busy making a difference in the world around you!

November 12, 2007

Happy Veteran's Day

Take some time today and thank a veteran for their service to our country! I'm very proud of my family members who have served (or are serving) in the military--including the cutie pictured above. Thanks to all of you, related to me or not!

November 8, 2007

Cut to the core

I just stumbled onto this post by fellow adoptive mom, Heidi. She and her son visited Ethiopia in June with Visiting Orphans, a group from our agency. That trip changed their plans for adoption, they met a group of older siblings and decided to adopt them. She posted yesterday about the grim reality of adoption. As I read I found myself nodding in agreement and shaking my head at the sad state of empathy that we in America enjoy. It's the same feeling I had when I finished reading "There is No Me Without You."

Heidi used this analogy to describe what is happening in America:
Imagine a building with many windows and one door. Inside that building are orphans of every race, suffering in every color, pain of every degree. You KNOW what is in there. Now imagine that every day thousands of people walk right past that building. Some are too focused on their own lives to even take a peek in the windows. Some take a peek, can't bear the pain that the sight brings to surface in their own hearts, and then shield their eyes and continue on their way. Some peer inside, shed some tears, and feel a bit of compassion for the ones suffering. Then some, a few, actually step inside the building.

They engage with the hurting souls. They look into the eyes of these children and mothers and fathers and see their own. Their own flesh and blood. And then they do something about it.

Because, once you have engaged with the suffering, you can't NOT do something. You can't go back to your suburban American capitalistic dream and thank the Good Lord for blessing you with your comforts, food, wealth, and health. You can't do it. You shudder and realize, Woe to me for not seeing this suffering before. For not seeing these souls as my own. For not doing unto others as we would have done unto us. As we would want done unto our own white children.

Go read the rest of her post, it will make your heart cry. And hopefully, it will challenge you to engage the suffering souls all over the world.

November 6, 2007


Every once in a while a wrestle-fest breaks out in our house. For obvious reasons it is RARELY allowed outside of the house. Mainly because we like to leave our house and if our kids broke out into a wrestling contest anytime they wanted to...well, we wouldn't be invited back. Not to say they haven't tried wrestling anywhere and foyer, grocery store, JoAnn fabrics, parking lots, baseball fields, living room of close friend who has immaculate get the picture. Most of the time rolling around with a sib is a great time (until it goes too far and someone gets scratched in the eyes), and this is definitely a condoned activity for carpeted areas of our home. BUT, last night we watched them indulge in some good, hard wrestling at our friends' house. Today, Tracy posted this video on his blog, it's too funny. It will give you a glimpse into what part of my day is like, enjoy!

November 4, 2007

Calling all croppers

Neither Seth nor I are salespeople. Especially selling something that someone doesn't absolutely, positively need. Because, honestly, we couldn't even sell ice water to a parched nomad.

This doesn't bode well for a couple who are heading down the 'fundraising' trail. After running through many brilliant fundraising ideas-I realized they all revolve around selling a product--my old junk (ie. yard sale), cookbooks, coffee, candles, T-shirts, home decor, spaghetti, pancakes. Then I thought about scrapbooking. When I talked to Seth about hosting a crop, he laughed out loud and said, "I don't get it, so ladies bring their own stuff and sit there all night scrapbooking and they pay to do it? They don't get anything, what are they paying for?"

I don't have a good answer really. Which goes back to my being a poor salesperson.

I had to change my focus a little bit to force myself to come out of my unconvincing sales position. I have to see our adoption as something bigger than our family. Needing funds for our adoption is only part of the reason for the crop, the other focus is the plight of children all over the world. Seeing "real" people adopting, seeing "real" children without families, makes the community realize this isn't Hollywood. There are real people behind the stories, and hopefully, this night will allow some of these ladies to see adoption as a reality. If one gal hears my story and picks up a brochure from AHOPE or America World and makes a difference in a child's life, that will be the ripple that makes the treacherous part of "selling" worthwhile.

I hope that in sharing what God has done for us, I can encourage those who have been hesitant to be courageous by stepping out in faith, in whatever God may be calling them to do. I guess, last of all, I can bring home some money for our adoption! I feel much more comfortable with the idea of fundraising when I look beyond my needs and think about the bigger picture. If only 5 ladies show up, the change in my adoption account won't be obvious, but if two of those ladies are encouraged to become involved in foster care, or support an HIV+ child every month...that will be making a difference with far reaching results.

With that said, if you live in my area, and are free November 16, take some time to gather up your pictures and spend an evening with friends scrapbooking!

November 3, 2007

She lives

This is a kitty update...a week ago our cat, Lucy, met me in the hallway as I was waking up. I thought it odd, because it had been weeks since she had voluntarily done anything. In her effort to die she had deemed a corner under Everett's bed as the best place to leave this world. She was unwilling to move (unless I hauled her out by the scruff of her neck to mercilessly cram a syringe down her throat), so it was unusual for her to be out and about. I carried her downstairs with me and plopped some food infront of her, the whole time pleading with her to just "stinkin' eat it so I can stop feeding you by hand." And, miracle of miracles, she ate the food! I didn't start jumping up and down right away, because eating on her own doesn't mean she's completely out of the woods. So I waited for a few days before sharing my jubilation with the children. Now, she has resumed all of her bygone activities--including waking me up in the wee hours of the morning and trying to sneak outside when a child is slow with shutting the door. I'm thinking this must mean full recovery. But the question still begs to be answered, what was wrong with her anyway?

After that vet bill, she's the most expensive thing we own (excluding cars, the living room furniture is a close second). Pretty sickening, glad she's still alive to be our mouser--though I'm not sure being mouse free is worth $800.