Every tree limb overhead seems to sit and wait, while every step you take becomes a twist of fate.
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road...

If you are new to our adoption blog please take a moment to scroll down to the archives at the bottom of this page and start with July 2009 post "Watershed."


Going Private?

This post is specifically for friends, invited family, and fellow adopters who have followed this blog, read the blog, or who are "blog stalking" quietly and wish to continue-in a way that is supportive and constructive.

I feel like my privacy has been seriously compromised in an event that happened this week while I have been traveling for work.

And unfortunately internet was down at my hotel so I wasn't really able to take the action I needed to. (I'm writing from the airport headed home.)

I guess it is something I should have predicted, this privacy problem, but it is easy to blog away your most personal thoughts and feelings without considering the massive scope and scale of the internet. Which is public. I'm not good at self editing or censoring so since I really don't want to change who I am or how I write I need to find another solution.

I'm not sure what to do.

Should I go private or should I remove all identifying information here?

For those of you who have made these kinds of decisions could you make a recommendation please?

My concern about going private is that I think I will lose connections, readers, people I have come to depend on. And I certainly won't meet anyone new. But I'm not sure how to successfully remove identifying information.

Ok, whew. This has been a hard week. On top of two previously hard weeks. Blogging is my only outlet and I feel so seriously compromised that my stomach is just churning. Once I address this privacy issue I will share with you a little about what happened.

~You know who.


Father Reluctance

What can I say? I have written this post three times in three different ways.

There is no way to talk about J and his years of "father reluctance" without sharing too much information that is not mine to share.

I want to wrap up my last post which I realize I left on a bit of a cliffhanger.

So I'll just say that this whole process has been hard on J, who entered our marriage almost 11 years ago saying that he would NEVER have kids. Now it is ironic that to have children, which he is still very nervous about, it requires him to a. divulge every bit of his personal, medical, financial, and professional information to a social worker (homestudy) b. join me at US government offices around the city c. pay lots and lots of money d. join me at expensive doctor's appointments and e. provide samples to fertility specialists

Ironic isn't it? Poor man.

But he is a very good husband and I know he joins me in all of this because he loves me. And he trusts that he will be able to love a child. But this whole thing is still a huge stretch for him.

I wonder sometimes if God is testing us to strengthen our resolve. To make it that much easier to love and adore a little someone who was fought for so hard.

So to wrap up the last post. We decided to continue to pursue the adoption. And we are currently #1 on the waiting list. So it WILL happen at some point.

I think it was very easy for J to consider postponing the adoption while we pursue fertility treatment because he has a much harder time loving the idea of our future child. Do the rest of you have similar experiences with your husbands? I have sought a lot of advice from others and I've come to the realization that J, and men in general, have a harder time attaching to the idea of a child whose face they have never seen. He is in agreement with the adoption. But his heart has yet to fall in love.

I am not sure what we will do about the fertility problems. But after a lot of discussion, and of course ugly crying on my part, we agreed to work on it this year. Some of you have recommended books to read which I plan to look into. I have found some interesting websites and blogs. We'll see a fertility specialist. We'll explore our options. I wish we were rich and could just freeze up some eggs for future use! But that is not our reality so we will see what can be done and make a decision sooner rather than later.

J has come a long long way. And I don't blame him for needing this time to come around to fatherhood. I appreciate that we've been able to spend a lot of time together. We have traveled all over the world. We hiked the Samaria Gorge. Went swimming with whale sharks in the Yucatan. Lived in Thailand and drove our little scooter to watch the sunset on the beach every night. We explored temples in Cambodia and pigged out on pizza in Italy. We listened to a Christmas concert in a tiny chapel in Oxford. And we have celebrated the 4th of July on the Capitol mall 6 times! I will never regret the time we have spent together - just the two of us.

But for everything a season and we are entering a new season of life.
Our conclusion is that we don't have a plan A or plan B. We are just trying to make a family.



Here is where I confess a lot of crappy fertility stuff and ask that you be sensitive in the comments

Held in emotions. I'm sure everyone has them. The older I've gotten the less acceptable it has become to: get teary eyed when I'm being confronted with a mistake, yell at my friends or sister when I'm angry or hurt, stamp my foot and roll my eyes when I'm not getting enough attention (I actually did that in the middle of a 7th grade performance by the way), or put my head down on my arm on the desk and sob.

The adoption books would say that I have learned to self-regulate. To not lose control and let it all go over every bump in the road.

But yesterday, wow, yesterday proved what holding it in for too long can do.

All I had to do was write an email back to our church's worship leader telling her no thank you, I don't want to do a reading at the Christmas Eve service. That's it. One sentence max.

Instead I found myself writing that I did not enjoy 2009, I would not AT ALL like to read aloud at the church service or engage in any way, that I have a ban on all things Christmas at the current moment and that unless she wants a sobbing mess at the front of the church terrifying all of the pretty children in their Christmas dresses I should be kept far far at the back. I skipped baby dedication last Sunday. Historically my favorite event at any church worldover. That should give you some idea of where I'm at with church events that involve kids and celebrating.

Have I mentioned that I really don't know her all that well?
But I dumped all of those pent up emotions all over her and then cried huge ugly tears all over the keyboard as I hit send. Very very ugly tears. Not Demi Moore in Ghost pretty tears that just slide one at a time.

The rest of the afternoon, as I sat at my desk (again, thank God for working from home), I half worked and half cried. Ok, well I half worked and I all out cried. Several, SEPARATE, huge ugly cries as I wrote other emails to some of you dumping all of the upset from this last week into those messages. Then a friend, a very good friend but one I haven't talked to in a long time, called me in response to a question I asked her and since I didn't recognize the number I answered the phone (of course pulled together in case it was for work.) The second I found out it wasn't a work call I lost it - crying, hiccuping, the whole works. Wow. Don't try that on a touch screen cell phone. The screen gets very very wet and slippery.

Several people said to me yesterday that I should just blog it out. Yesterday I couldn't. And I am torn about putting words like sp-rm here on my blog just in case gross freaky people end up here looking for s-x talk or something.

But here goes nothing. I am going to get creative with the dash symbol so fill in the blanks.

Last week - Tuesday morning.
The call telling us there had been a mistake and we don't have a baby waiting for us right now.
Bad day. Sad day. But sort of to be expected on the rollercoaster of adoption.

Last week - Wednesday morning.
My ob/gyn called.

Back Story - You see, something I don't think I have mentioned much here is that we have been trying to get pregnant. For almost a year. (AAI allows this - most agencies don't fyi.) When we started trying and I found out I had PCOS really soon into the process, we also decided to adopt. I'm not a girl to wait around and find out if I'm fertile or not. I have always known I wanted to adopt and all of the signs were pointing to it after I visted AHOPE last year in Ethiopia.

Throughout this "trying to get pregnant" situation I have been on some drugs, I have had some ultrasounds, I have taken some basal body temps, blah blah blah. Nothing too in depth but sort of escalating testing of different parts and fluids and whatnot.

It has not been overly concerning since BABY GIRL IS WAITING in Ethiopia (in theory.) And we are young! ish. And healthy! ish. So I refused to get worried. And to be fair, we both agree that timing is not ideal and it would be better to be pregnant next year. So we "tried" but did not stress out.

On Wednesday the ob/gyn called with Jeremy's sem-n analysis which we finally had done about a month ago after reading an article about how type 1 diabetes can decrease male fertility by quite a large percentage. (There is no definitive data but the studies that have been done don't look good.)

He had bad news. News that no matter how realistic I've tried to be I really had never considered. He also said that there was nothing more he could do for us. Which sounded really...final. He said that we need to see a specialist. We need IVF with ICSE. Yeah, that's right. We don't just need NORMAL IVF, we need a special, extra expensive, EXTRA procedure too. I have never actually been over in that IVF camp to begin with - spending all that money when you don't have a guarantee of anything. But let me tell you here - when a doctor says to you that getting pregnant any other way would be a miracle you sort of sit up and listen and really assess how badly you want to be pregnant!

So I blithely informed him "well, you see, we are adopting and probably getting a referral in 2010 so that's ok, we'll just revisit this issue in a year or so."

To which he very sternly informed me "actually, I see you are turning 33 on Friday of next week and I hate to tell you this but your fertility peaked at 27 and really hits a decline in a hurry at 33. When/if you go to a reproductive specialist they will tell you that you should have tried to resolve this by 32. Your eggs aren't getting younger. At the very least you should freeze some. You might have a 30-50% chance at successful IVF this year but they won't tell you the same in 2 years from now!" (Ok, I didn't not relay that word for word but you get the idea.)

I did some online research and he is right. While my ovul-tion problems are not insurmountable and J's fertility results are not all bad - together we make a wrong. And that wrong will be harder and harder to fix starting on my birthday tomorrow. Tick tock tick tock I can actually hear the biological clock. Mine has become a deranged cuckoo clock.

Whew - BTW I am doing so so well writing this. I could not have written it to save my life yesterday.

That is the crux of the story. Minus the two days I spent not speaking to J because he hinted that we should halt the adoption and go after the fertility stuff full force. Minus the enormous and emotionally draining conversation we finally had about it all. Minus all of the research and thinking and praying and crying. Minus the final conclusion we came to.

But that is all I will blog today. Because I really am doing a little better and taking deep breaths. And for Cindy I will take a walk and sing a little. And for Lisa I will consider Barbados. And for Jill I WILL wear the ergo you sent all weekend - possibly with a doll inside. And for Mimi I may take a Christmas card photo of myself wearing a snuggie and holding a giant chunk of chocolate that I've been working on for a week (ok, I'm on the 2nd or 3rd now) in one hand with a baby carrier on my back and my laptop under my arm. I cannot think of a more appropriate card to express what the last 6 months of 2009 have been like.




There are certain blogs I read when I need to laugh and others when I need to feel like it's ok to cry.

Is there any mommy out there gives me both, regularly, and so eloquently.

This post today made my stomach flip a little. I know that we are so very underprepared to be a peach and brown family. I wonder if there is anyone out there who can adequately prepare? I try to let other's experiences and answers soak into me so I'll have some of the right words for baby when I need them.

Thanks to all of you who blog about this topic. I think the more we talk about it the better.



Wordless Wednesday - almost

J - thanks for hanging in here with me.


You take the good you take the bad you take them both and there you have...

December 8th today and already this month has been a rollercoaster of adoption news and feelings. Started with World AIDS Day on the 1st and really has not slowed down since. This morning I got a call. Not the call. But a call from Erin Henderson, our coordinator, nonetheless which is exciting just because you know that when you hear her voice you are getting close!

It is cold here. Have you seen the weather map? Almost a millon square miles covering CO-MN of cold and snow? I say this because it explains why at 8:30am I was still snuggled into bed downstairs - in our "new" bedroom - when the call came. Cold = one of my favorite things which is my R.estoration H.ardware blanket in bed with my laptop. (See end of blog.)

So the phone rang and it was a private caller. This could mean one of three people: my supervisor/chair of Faith to Action Initiative (but since she is also not a morning person I couldn't imagine it was her), my colleague in NY who is two hours ahead of me and so would definitely not still be in bed snuggling under her blanket, OR someone from our agency.

It was Erin and when she said "hi, this is Erin Henderson" my hands started shaking hard and my breath got suddenly very short and choppy. I said "it IS????"

And then as she is trying to explain her call which began with "this is not a referral call" an ENORMOUS spider emerged from under my laptop (which was on my lap and have I mentioned IN BED???) and began spider leggy flopping around my covers. I hate spiders. I am terrifed of spiders. I should have thought of this possibility when we moved to the basement which is probably the winter getaway for all sorts of spider folk. I think it dropped on me from the ceiling. I was on the phone, shaking, trying to hold it all together while scanning the ceiling for a spider web and leaping around the room trying to fling it far far away.

I actually had to stop Erin and tell her that a spider was on me! Certainly a first for her in making these calls I think.

Somewhere in all of that Erin explained that her news was not good news. Worse than a spider in my bed in my new bedroom?? Yes.

Last week our agency had some new baby arrivals. We were in line for one of them. This week they had some further testing done and both have been moved to the healthy infant referral list. Good for the healthy babies...really. That is the way that these things work at times. Although this situation is a little stranger than it seems. But I think it is best to leave it at that.

I am not devastated. I'm very very proud actually that I didn't run with the news I had last week and shout it from the rooftops. I even refrained from telling our church adoption group anything on Sunday. It was a test run of self control for me.

Now we are officially #1 for a baby girl. Who is definitely not in care yet. BUT there is also the possibility of a toddler referral of a girl who IS in care.

Have I mentioned that this is a rollercoaster of emotions?

It is a hard balance of wanting to rush and say yes to anyone and anything because the waiting is so hard and also carefully considering what we can handle and who is the best fit for us.

That is my news for today. Tuesday, December 8th, 2009. I have a feeling there is more on the way but I cannot even begin to imagine where we'll be on the 18th. My predicted referral day.


PS. Favorite thing: R.estoration H.ardware blanket of soft perfection. Ours is steel gray. It is machine washable. It is soft and fluffy like a kitten on one side and smooth and soft on the other. Repels dog hair, retained its fluff and softness through the past year, and is the perfect companion for the cold of Colorado. If I could make all of my clothes out of this material I would.


Favorite Things - the good plates

My mom has always had good plates - china, pale and creamy with curls of pink and green and gold flowers. As far back as I can remember we ate from the china for Christmas Eve, Thankgiving, Easter, birthdays, and then on just because days. Just because my girlfriends and their moms were coming over to plan our spring break trip. Just because we had friends staying with us from out of town. Just because it was advent and advent candle lighting goes well with dainty china.

When J and I got married we chose "regular" plates because no other china pattern could live up to my expectations.

One year ago I was talking to my grandma and grandpa on the phone and complaining about my lack of china. (Don't ask me why this came up.) During that call grandma told me that she has the same set as mom. It was my great-grandmother's. Apparently my great-grandfather brought back two sets from a trip sometime in ancient history.

They told me that when the time comes and they are done using it they would box it up and send the whole set to me. I thought I'd be waiting at least another 10 years.

But the time came only 6 months later. Over the course of 2009 both grandma and grandpa became old. Not regular grandma and grandpa old. But very sick, almost died, moved into assisted living old. It was shocking. And very sad for all of us to see. Grandpa, who used to love collecting golf balls, competing in Christmas light competitions, and who could still beat me at a game of pool - can no longer drive. Has his meals made for him. Grandma sleeps almost all day every day. When I ask grandpa how he's doing he says he's happy to have grandma still with him. They lay in bed holding hands a lot.

The box arrived several months ago. Boxes. Three of them. Filled with beautiful, girly, fancy, good plates. And cups, and bowls, and smaller bowls, and smaller plates, and huge platters, and lidded bowls, and many pieces I will never know how to use.

On Thankgsiving day I went into the basement and spent an hour delicately unwrapping enough for our family dinner. I carefully washed each piece marveling at how not one was chipped or scratched. Then I served Thankgiving dinner on the good plates. For the first time.

Thank you GB & GD.


The day I've been waiting for has finally come - not a referral post though

I have been waiting for YEARS to decorate a baby room. In DC we had the perfect room that just waited and waited and never became a baby room.

Here in Denver we have seriously downsized. And the few little things we've accumulated for baby have piled up in my office which is now overflowing with storage and baby books and misc. furniture.

As I write this very sentence darling J and our friend Dave are heaving and grunting and pushing our bedroom furniture downstairs to the basement family room.

Why is he doing this you might ask? Why would we want to move the entire master bedroom underground?

To make room for baby of course!!

I love small houses and I hate small houses. I love that our little bungalow is easy to clean. I love that it is old and has character and is located in a very cool little neighborhood. But the downside is that most of these bungalows only have 2 bedrooms.

Until today one bedroom was our master bedroom and one my office.
But after today one bedroom will be the office and the back bedroom, the one with carpet, will be a baby room. Not for her to sleep in at night. But for me to decorate. And for naps I suppose.

We will all sleep downstairs together in what used to be the family room. It is warm. It has soft carpet. It is much bigger. I'm excited!

Pictures to follow when it is all rearranged.



And she treasured these things in her heart...

Oh Friends! Oh my! Oh dear! (Uffda? Insert wide range of Scandinavian expressions of enthusiasm here.)

Words cannot even do justice to the email I just got from our agency coordinator. In fact, as I write this I've had to go back and double check to make sure I wasn't dreaming that email.
I just can't share the email right now. I'm still treasuring it up in my heart.

But the subject line was "news" and it was a good news email.

It sounds like SHE is there. In their care. And we should learn more in about a week.

Bonnie, you are so so right. I don't want a referral if the paperwork is not in order. I can't imagine the pain of failing court over and over and watching the months of 2010 slip by. So I am cautiously excited but will reserve outright joy.

I am not going to post this news on facebook. Or send out mass emails. So if you are reading this please keep it close for now. Suddenly I am nervous. I feel private. I feel like I'm just about to sneak away and open a gift from a secret admirer.

But for now this is a happy news post for everyone who has so faithfully followed here, commented, affirmed, suggested, and rejoiced. The wait is nearing its end. And the real wait is just beginning.

Here's a picture of Cassidy expressing how I feel. Note the focus in her eye? (Picnic lunch was on a nearby table and she knew good things were about to come.)



Will the F*ancy T*iger restore my creative energy?

It took me oh, about 4 hours to regret that previous post. Not because of your cyber butt kicks Shannon (so funny though!)
It's just that truly every minute I waste on calculating and agonizing I really am not living. At all.

I'm just going through the motions. And I was doing so well these past two weeks! Blew all that good energy in one day.

I caught a little of O.prah today and she was talking about a new book, H.alf the S.ky. I so appreciated that she had guests talking about development and the importance of the GIRL in the developing world. The power that girls have to change the world if given education and a chance.

I miss living in DC sometimes. These were conversations I had regularly. I miss talking about development and I'm sad that when people ask what I do and I say "international development" here in Denver I get blank stares.

I think I am understimulated and losing my creative abilities - just totally gave them over to the world of adoption last spring.

In an effort to wrench my soul out of the clutches of the evil adoption waitlist, tomorrow night I am going to a store called F*ancy T*iger! With a friend and we are going to learn to use a sewing machine (GASP!). I plan to bring my African fabric and see if I can finally get those pillow covers made. Maybe I will fall in love with sewing (yeesh, is that possible??) and have a creative outlet.



Registration detox

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for the results of the giant B.abies R. U.s registration event. But the wait is over! And thanks to some great comments (and a little prep from Holly) I think we have a decent registry put together.

Here are the highlights and some kudos to commenters.

On Saturday mom and I had peanut butter on toast for breakfast (you know, protein for energy) and lots of tea and water for hydration. Mom did a few calisthenics in the living room. We both ended up wearing pink (...?) We left coats in the car to prevent overheatedness. We pushed a cart so we didn't have to carry the purses. Mom wore her new super comfy tennis shoes.

We have a phrase in our family "it's serious time now" which perfectly described Saturday.

We thought it would take 2 hours. It took nearly 4 plus a half hour lunch break. Dad was not thrilled to be left home alone for that long. Jeremy was at work and relieved to not be involved in any way. (Although of course I went online and gave him a tour of some of the things "we" chose later that night.)

Some of my favorite necessities:

1. B.ritax carseat - thank you Korana, Seema, Leah and Ana for comments about B.ritax. It was also well recommended online. We only had to spend 10 minutes or so in that aisle. I registered for the B.ritax Bou.levard Castle.rock. A convertible seat so it doesn't matter what age baby is. It is soft and padded and even reclines. For the price it better be like riding on a cloud in a golden chariot pulled by unicorns.

2. The stroller was a difficult thing. I agree with Leah , Stephanie, Ana and others that the e*rgo is a must. But I thought a stroller for airports/malls is important. Ended up registering for a $20 umbrella stroller. Thank you new blog friend Jill. I think it will work for now and we'll just see about later. Very very tempted by the joggers and B.obs and other strollers that cost more than my first car. Resisted temptation. Had frugal mother along. It was helpful.

3. Inflatable bath tub. Thanks to Ana because I watched you use this several times and it seemed so great. And thanks to Jill again. I actually read Jill's comment after we came home from shopping and I had registered for everything on her list.
4. G.raco Bl.ossom 4 in one highchair. Turns into a booster, a travel seat, and an older toddler chair. Does anyone have one? My only requirement was that this product be very small (like lives in the corner/tiny/invisible highchair small) because our kitchen is the opposite of roomy. You get the picture.

Now for the questionables category:

1.Do you think I really need 7 beautiful soft fluffy blankets for baby? Thanks to Claudia I entered the registry feeling very concerned that I make sure to have enough blankets and whatnot. But she has twins. I'm thinking 7 is a lot for just a singleton baby. Oh but have I mentioned how soft and fluffy they were? My first page of the registry is all blankets...not the practical kind. The floating clouds of marshmallow variety.

2. The Comfy 3 in 1 soft seat potty. It looked cool. Who doesn't want to be comfy on the potty? The alternative was a very chilly Swedish looking minimalist Bj.orn chair. But reviews of my 3 in 1 potty are not great. Apparently the soft seat cannot handle being immersed in water.... ??

3. Play.text bottles with plastic liners. Seems easy for Ethiopia. Sounds expensive and not dishwasher safe for Colorado life. May only be used for travel. We'll see.

4. Things got confusing around health. Ear thermometer was the final choice although I am very tempted by the pacifier thermometer. Nail clippers with a magnifying glass? Teeny tiny blunt scissors. What do you use those for? Teeny weeny baby brushes? It was a lot to take in.

Frivolous stuff that I really liked and almost bought on the spot:

1. BPA Free N.uk Animal Pacifiers. Stage 2 (what does that mean - is it related to age?)
Well, no matter how they function or what size they were. The point is that they looked like little animal mouths with whiskers and noses!

2. A bathtub toy that attaches to the faucet and blows bubbles. This was only one of about 5 bathtub things I HAD to have. What baby wouldn't decide she loves it here with us after being shown the bubbles??!

It was a long day. A complicated day. I think we handled every product in the store. And I didn't register for that many practical things. I think toys, books and blankets are the largest sections on the list. But I feel so much more confident about what we need now. And I can always go back. Things like the exersaucer and stroller can wait. Wipe warmer? I'm not sure. Mom insisted that warm washcloths will save both money and the environment.

There are also still many things I prefer at online stores like this diaper bag which is begging for an Ethiopian flag decal. http://www.pokkadots.com/itemsDetail.cfm/pcid/536/cid/551/item_num/DD-BLK

and this owl (along with a million other things on etsy) that belongs in the baby room:

But I made it through the holiday and that is what counts. Made it and conquered it. AND have not emailed our adoption specialist in almost two weeks for an update. This is record breaking.

Thanks for your fun comments and advice.

For Cathy and Sara - The B.elly B.utton book made me laugh out loud.

And for all of you haters of noisy toys-wow you are so right. I had never thought of it before but played with the toys pretending that they were in my house. Goodnight peace and silence.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. It's been so much fun meeting new readers/blog friends. Hopefully tomorrow begins THE MONTH. Birthday....Christmas....referral?



Product Advice Please!!

Mom and I are braving the crowds post-Thanksgiving to actually visit the baby/toddler products in person. If you remember, it took me hours to register for just a handful of "stuff" online with T*arget. And really, I just don't know if I need a blow up travel highchair seat afterall. J keeps ridiculing me for that and the xylaphone toy. :(

So a date has been set to visit those giant baby warehouse places and poke and prod products until we are screaming for a nice tall glass of formula to take the pain away. Or wine.

I want to register because I learned the hard way what not registering gets you.
As soon as we announced our engagement 11 years ago this week the strange gifts started rolling in. Clocks that chirped like a different bird every hour. An enormous glass plate painted with big red hearts. A pastel portrait of us - life size.

Since Christmas and my b-day are almost here AND I just know the referral is coming in time for those great events, I decided to be prepared with a gift registry. You know, it's casual...I'm cool...whenver it all happens is fine...whatever. Just in case... ;)

I am taking mom to avoid J brain melt which looks something like this:

Open scene:
J and I enter B.abies R. U.s at 1pm (we do do this once in awhile to buy gifts for others.)

Me: oohh, ahh, where should we start??

J: I don't know. Baby stuff? (Looking around very suspiciously.)

Me: But which first? Safety? Toddler toys? CLOTHES? or should we test strollers?

J: Why are we here again?

Me: Ok, here is the registry. Let's get focused. Let's find burp clothes and receiving blankets!!

J: What are the use of these things? What a waste of money. No, I do not think they need special cloth squares to catch baby puke. Why don't they just cut up old shirts they don't use?

Me: Dropped jaw. We are SO far apart on understanding. Let's move on to pacifiers. How about the nuks (insert J question: what is a NUKE?)

Scene 2
I am absorbed in examining tiny baby hooded sweatshirts. J is nowhere to be found.

Conversation at 1:2opm

J: We have been in here FOREVER.

Me: We've been in here for 20 minutes. Let's at least plan for another 20. Hey, lets go look at cribs.

At this point J is done speaking. Eyes are glazed over and if we go anywhere near the crib section he ends up magnetized by the rocker gliders. And it is over. Close scene. I find baby gift and practically carry his comatose body from the store. It takes a long nap and several hours for him to recover.

Sooooo...needless to say we have never opened a stroller, poked around at a car seat, examined a diaper bag, or compared product design of a sippy cup.

Mom and I will attempt to pre-shop and register this week. I hope she holds up better than J does! Whether we receive registry gifts or not it will help me narrow down an exact list of what we need so if I take J back to buy anything I will be able to point out each item with reasoning for why we need it.

Can you please leave me a comment with your favorite baby product and specific style/manufacturer? I think we'll do both baby and toddler stuff - leaning more towards the middle age range of 12 months old.

Thank you!!!!



Kreativ Blogger

Thanks Amanda and Co. for the Kreativ Blogger nomination. Not at all sure what that means but will follow the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog (which I won't do since hers is private.)

2. Identify 7 things about myself. Hmm. Not at all sure what that means but here goes nothing. Seven things about me right now.

- I really like President Obama. I have a dream that he will help us reform health care so that J will not die of diabetes related complications someday due to being underinsured and baby will get the care she needs without us aquiring millions of dollars of debt. That would be so nice. Oh, and if I ever get pregnant it would be wonderful to have maternity be required coverage on our private policy. (see previous sentence about not aquiring huge amounts of debt.)

- I was regularly identified within my group of best friends in HS as the friend who would get married and have kids first. I am the last. It's weird. Now I know the least of all of us when I used to be the "expert" on all things babies and kids. Weird.

- I love to travel and would go without ever owning my own home if it kept me free for travel and adventure. (Don't think Jer will go with that. He is dying for our next fixer upper.) I have a map framed in the office that I put pushpins in. It makes me very happy.

- I sometimes find it hard to have the last name Cox. Not when I'm in England. It is the quintessential English surname. But once, in my first office job in NY, I was paged as "Amanda C.ock please call the front desk."

- I have freakishly strong and fast growing fingernails. But no extra money for manicures. :(

- I worked in Thailand for 6 months in 2007. I got lonely during a 3 week monsoon. I marched up to a construction camp with a pack of puppies living under a truck. I took one and marched back home. End of story. That's how I got Talay. Good thing J doesn't ever read this blog. He still thinks I was given her as a gift and could not give her back...I need to come clean someday.

- If I won the lottery I would start a foundation to fund projects that support vulnerable families in Africa so they can keep their children. This basically happened to my boss and that is how she began Fire*light Found*ation and then the F*aith to A*ction I*nitiative. I feel lucky every day to work with someone with such similar values.

That is it! And now I have to tag 7 others with the Kreativ Blogger award.
1. I read A Bushel and a Peck religiously for creative adoption advice. I know that when we get baby I'll be going back to her archives. And Lisa is obviously a really talented photographer.

2. DaMomma is not an adoption blog. But this writer is my go to for laughs. I am giving her the Kreativ Blogger award for her Percy the penquin world travels series. If you visit her blog scroll down a few posts to see Percy in Paris.

3. Is There Any Mommy Out There runs a pack of 4 under age 5. Whoa. Her daughter is adopted. She has written some articles about adoption disruption which she experienced several years ago when she gave up her son. She recently bought a professional clicker counter to count the number of times she hears Mommy each day. I found that incredibly creative!

4. This blogger has found very very creative ways to keep herself anonymous. I am fascinated with her and her tiny tiny new twins that just arrived home with her to...somewhere in England I think! (again, very anonymous.)

5. Ethiopia or Bust is really a very well designed blog. I enjoy looking at it. So Amy gets a Kreativ blogger nomination for very pretty colors and design. Her son is also very well dressed!

6. Leah of course gets a nomination for the most creative family celebrations. I am blatently copying her flag raising ceremony for baby's future birthdays. From her cute "Noah and Myra's mommy" business cards to her new talent with photoshop Leah oozes creativity!

7. the eyes of my eyes are opened - yeah yeah, I know she is already the most popular blogger out there it seems. But I can't help myself. I feel such affection for this new mother. For her long wait. For her desire to educate herself on all things adoption and Ethiopia during that wait. For her way with words. And for the way I feel after reading her posts. I wish I lived in LA just to be closer to her and her beautiful diverse community of friends and neighbors. I'm jealous. No idea if she is creative but she must be to draw such a large circle of admirers.

Whew. Final step for Kreativ blogger award is to notify those you nominated on their comments section.

Leave a comment here if you have a blog to recommend to me!!


My Blog Created Global Change!

Ok, well not global change per se. But after posting that an unfavorite thing is when favorite bloggers return home from ET and stop posting often enough for my liking - THEY ALL updated their blogs. Still not naming names but a large handful of the best of the best posted awesome updates today. Repleat with photos.

I realize that many families with children excuse these bloggers for being overwhelmed with new parenthood, wanting more anonymity, whatever whatever.

But I don't have kids and I rely on these bloggers to keep time moving forward for me. They provide inspiration, answers to questions, hope, excitement, and instill belief. The good, the bad, or the ugly, if you have brought us into your lives already we want more when you get home. Yes, it I feel entitled to your life. That's what you get for starting a blog! ;)



It was a good week

It was a good week. A sunny week. A week without too much angst or stress.

J turned 35. Without any fanfare or celebration, which suits him well. I made him salmon. We ate at the dining room table which doesn't usually see much action. We had candles and laughed at some of the birthday wishes he got in the mail.

I can't believe J is 35 already. I remember celebrating his 21st birthday together. It was our 2nd date. November 19, 1995. I was 18, soon to be 19. I thought I was so incredibly grown up.

We went ice skating. It was November in Minnesota. Ice cold and full blown hockey, figure skating and broomball season. We went to the R.ose A.rena in Ros*eville where I had taken figure skating lessons for a few years and we skated circles around the outdoor rink. He had his hockey stick and he pulled me while I held the back of it. I remember asking him what he was passionate about. Do you know, I don't even know what he answered. But I think he liked the question. He made up nicknames for me that are all too embarrassing to repeat. I spun around and pretended I was a far better skater than I really was. We squared off in hockey. I kept up pretty well. I told him about my 9th grade crush on the star hockey player at high school. I went back to my dorm and wrote in my notebook that I was in love. For good. And the rest is history.

I wish I had photos of us then that I could easily upload. Maybe someday I'll have all the old college photos sent off to be turned digital. It would be perfect for times like these.

This week.

We walked the lake 13 doors down every evening and continued to be amazed at the profile of the mountains at sunset.

We wondered daily how Talay can still smell skunky after so many baths and skunk treatments.

We went to Sun*flower Mar*ket and found our free range turkey. It was a small holiday miracle that they had any left. We try to only eat free range poultry. No beef, pork or lamb. I will post on that some other time.

This was not our turkey. But I like to think that what we are eating enjoyed a life like this handsome bird.

It was a week of early bedtimes for me - kicking back on fluffy pillows, a sip of Nyquil, and drifting off in front of The Tud.ors DVD collection playing on my computer. No, I wasn't sick. I really need sleep and it was a good catch up week. I did not cry at church this morning. I did not even feel like crying!

Nothing to report on the adoption front other than the feeling of extreme calm stealing over me. It could be the Nyquil - but my guess is that it is getting close and every inch of me knows it and is relaxing finally.

So here is an update on favorite things. Despite some of your snarky email and facebook comments I have decided to continue this theme because I think deep down you like it!
1. In response to requests the website for Voluspa Candles.

2. My next favorite thing is not something you wouldn't want to give as a Christmas gift (unless you're weird - hey, I don't know all of you) but you will want to eat it every night from now until Christmas. Drum roll please....Home Run Inn frozen pizza!!!!
If you have ever wondered if there isn't something better out there this is it! Available at Wh*ole Fo*ods and Sun*flower Mar*ket. Uh.ma.zing. And this is for you Kate, who never comments but who I know is reading here because we drift into adoption talk every time we are supposed to be talking about work - Ba.na.nas. ;)

Now here is a special, possibly once only category of UN-Favorite things. (So no emailing me back with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens comments.)

For a limited time only sharing with you the darker side...

1. I really really hate when my favorite bloggers reel me into their lives and homes and families and angst and drama and adoption stories, then fly off to Ethiopia or wherever only to return home and never to be heard from again. Or at least not post for stretches of 4-5-7-14 (gasp) days at a time. AND not post photos after arrival home. This comment is in no way intended just for my new favorite blogger - Claudia with the 15 dogs in Yemen you know who you are - but for all of those out there who have left me hanging.
2. I really really hate the compulsion I have to check for an intruder behind the shower curtain before I use the bathroom. It isn't every time - just when I've come home after being gone. Why would an intruder want to hide in our shower you ask? I have no answer. But if he is there I really don't want him listening to me use the bathroom.

3. I really really hate all things laundry related. J does the laundry in our house but that doesn't mean I don't have to put it in a basket when it's dirty or fold and put it away when it's clean. HATE it.
4. My final un-favorite of the week is this unbelievably bad treat we bought at Who.le Fo.ods. It is ice cream wrapped in gooey rice krispie bar. The concept was very good and very tempting. The reality is that those two foods should never exist together in the same box.

I would like to thank Amanda and Company (who has a private blog that I cannot link you to) for a Kreativ Blogger award. I will read the rules and post about it tomorrow!



ANTM, CPR, and Candles

AN*TM - you know, Am.erica's Next To.p Mod.el...do you watch it?

Now tell me this, how did Laura not win? How is that possible? So disappointed. Those producers are just lucky that I am emotionally too busy to send them angry emails.

I'm starting something new in this blog leading up to the holidays.
I'll still post about what's happening with the adoption of course. But I'm also going to end with one favorite thing. Something I love and why. If you do the same in the comments maybe we'll all get inspired for Christmas shopping.

Last night we attended an infant/child CPR class for three hours. It was the fastest three hours of my life. There was just so much to learn and practice! I have to admit that prior to this class I would have been terrified to do CPR on anyone. I think in the back of my mind I've always wondered if CPR really helps or if it's just something they tell you to do to keep you from completely freaking out in an emergency.

Ok, I am the first to admit that I was wrong. People who have someone performing CPR on them are something like 30% more likely to still be alive when the paramedics arrive. (That figure may be a little off but the idea is that you can actually keep someone alive by just doing ANYTHING.) There's technique (2 breaths, 30 chest compressions in 18 seconds, 5 cycles, etc.) but the 30% figure is for people who try anything even if they don't know what they are doing. Amazing. Then there's an even higher stat for those who do it "right."

About a year ago Jeremy and I were on a cross country road trip. We decided to take a scenic road through rural Alabama and it was just lovely as the sun was setting through fields and forests. Suddenly we came up over a hill and saw a car accident. The car had gone over a steep embankment and back up the other side, it had rolled, and as we pulled up we saw there were bodies laying all over the ground.

We couldn't figure out if the crowd was really helping so Jeremy parked the car and jumped out while I called 911. It turned out that nobody was doing anything - they were just gawking. To make a very long and gory story short Jeremy and I ended up being the "first responders" along with one other couple. One man was already dead, one had a huge hole in his head/eye, one was unconscious, and the last (my guy) was moaning and flailing and swelling behind his eyes. It was shocking. Now in the CPR class they kept stressing how in an emergency you should call 911 and start CPR - with the idea that paramedics will reach you in about 5 minutes.

We waited, in the dark, in a deep ditch at the side of the road, in Alabama, with dying men, for the longest half an hour of my life. And when the paramedics came they needed our help for another half an hour at least. We didn't try to perform CPR because it was obvious the one man was dead and the others were all breathing. But I often think back on that and wonder if there was something more we could have done (not that I'd have any clue what to do.) It stuck with me as a reason to make sure I know CPR.

After last night there is now not a chance in h.ell that baby would choke to death or stop breathing on my watch with my CPR skills. And anyone in an accident better watch out for me because I'm ready to practice CPR at the drop of a hat. Deep sleepers and shallow breathers as well as infant or child choky food coughers had better watch out for me because the part where you actually check for signs of life sort of went in one ear and out the other. I am ready to use my skills!!

Unfortunately I'm not sure I would be much use to J in an emergency. I had to practice the heimlich on him and I couldn't figure out what I was doing. He's so much taller! Standing behind him I couldn't figure out where his belly button was (that was kind of embarrassing and involved sort of searching around with my hands in front of a class of people trying not to laugh) and my arms were stretched so there wasn't much extra room to get momentum. We decided that it would be best if he didn't choke on anything, ever.

They gave us our first pacifier! And they showed us a lovely swaddling wrap thing but didn't give us one. (I was disappointed - it was so cute and soft and pink and probably way too small for baby but I was coveting it.) We also talked a lot about SIDS. So here is what I took away from the SIDS talk. 1. I will never leave baby in a teenager's care (I am convinced they just are not good caregivers and that is 100% based on recollections of my own days as a babysitter when I would always put babies on their stomach to sleep because I thought it kept them quieter and in a deeper sleep. AND let's add in a choking hazard - I would bribe toddlers to take naps by giving them grapes or raisins to munch on.)
2. Baby will be allowed a pacifier until she is 20 (sucking reduces SIDS.)

Hmm I'm sure there is more. We talked about bubble wrapping her and then tying a leash to one of our waists and around her.

I'm making it sound funny but safety is so serious. Choking, accidents, and SIDS kill kids all the time. One of the major concepts I left with was that no matter how many fancy safety gadgets you buy nothing can replace supervision and training your child. (And bubble wrap and leashes of course.)

That was my serious post for the day. If you haven't taken an infant/child CPR class - go. Sign up for one now. Ours cost only $45 for the two of us total and took 3 hours. It was through a local hospital and tailored specifically for adoptive parents. I cannot even believe I would have considered having a child without this class.

Mom and Dad - prepare yourselves because we are PRACTICING over Thanksgiving so you will both be up to speed and ready just in case.

Now AMANDA'S FAVORITE THINGS - #1: Vol*uspa (pronounced vuhl eh spuh) Candles

The $16 medium sized ones in the black ceramic container are the best and most cost effective. Last approximately one year and fill the house after just a few minutes. So so much better than Yan*kee Can*dle Com*pany candles and they have such creative scents. My favorite for the holidays is called Cardamon Fig and is most perfect for the kitchen. They are sold in lots of stores in Denver but also available online. Seriously I think these make the perfect Christmas presents. Not your average candle.



I'll Be In Touch Soon

A quick note to say that our agency coordinator's child is out of the hospital and doing better (which we are very thankful for!) and that she and I emailed today.

She said that we are officially #2 on the waiting list.
She also said that AAI is now working with two new orphanages and so wait time for referrals of children within our specific parameters will be decreasing.

She didn't say how long it would be before we get to the referral but if wait times are decreasing then maybe we have a chance at knowing who SHE is before Christmas...?!

She ended the email with an "I'll be in touch soon." Yes. That's what she said. Now in the normal world that statement might mean anything.

No. No. Now that I reread it I think actually in any world - adoption or "real world" it would indicate that we will talk again at least in the next couple of weeks. Right? Wouldn't you think that if they said it after a job interview? You wouldn't say to yourself "ah, well, maybe another month or so."

So? Would you? Want to start taking bets on the date of referral? My birthday is December 18th by the way so I am placing my bet on the best birthday present ever.


PS. Still have not forgotten about the interesting well thought out blog topics and posts. But there will be enough time between court and actual travel to post about a million topics at least.


He gives and takes away

I love a certain baby at church. His name is Bear and he's about 5 months old. I've known him since he was born. He is half Latino and has this warm light brown skin and big brown eyes. He is soft and warm and smiles a lot.

This morning we had another freak fall blizzard and so church was cozy and candlelit and designed to get us in the Thanksgiving mood. We were all especially appreciative to have made it to church (although we all live in the neighborhood so there isn't much of an excuse if you don't) and feeling a sense of community.

I was holding Bear and he fell asleep against my stomach with his little face turned in towards me and one hand holding the neck of my shirt. He was wearing a knit cap with two little pom poms that almost looked like ears and he was just the sweetest thing.

He was so warm. In a chilly room his body heated up my whole core and our breathing rythme matched. It was a spell of pure happiness. I could almost see her face, almost see the day when it would be me. Almost there...

I have had more than my fair share of anger at pregnant women, friends included (so so sorry about that-hopefully it will change very soon), extreme dislike for all things related to easy baby conception, happy holidays, even frustrated that between the 3 families our church is sponsoring for gifts this year they have SEVENTEEN children. I don't poke around at stranger's babies anymore, I don't ask pregnant women their due dates or ooh and aah over their stomachs. Nope. Just keep on moving - don't let the eyes stray.

But oh, when I actually get a baby in my arms it is magical. Our good friends from California have a little baby boy (hi Mason!) who will just tuck his head on your neck for a little snuggle when he's handed over. mmmm :)

Back to Bear. Warm. Heavenly. Magical. Candles. Good sermon. Friends. Music. Faith. Ahhh.

But near the end he woke up and I handed him over to mom (hi Nicole - hope you don't mind that I am using you in this story.) And then we sang the song. One of my favorite songs really.
Buuuut...I sing along to it on a CD. I have NEVER seen the words written out or thought about them much.

Here it is. My comments are between the lines.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Nice! Cheery! We're sort of moving to the music, everyone smiling.

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Eh, desert? Not a problem. It's cold out. Actually I would appreciate a desert.

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessings, yay!
Here comes the clapping now and everyone sings towards the chorus a bit louder. It's a favorite!

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Oh, the sun! Yes, I love the sun! The world is as it should be when the sun is out! I love this song.

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Gah. (that's for you Amanda out in Hawaii!) Suffering feels familiar. It feels like the feeling I had as I got cold after handing Bear over. It feels a little like saying goodbye to T. mm. pain. I'm getting worried. There is a tear in the corner of my right eye. Oh dear. No, no. I know what is coming next in this song. I've just remember the last few words.

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Here they are. Here we go. Here are the ugly ugly public tears. I'm reading the words. I cannot sing the words. Even though I've mindlessly sung them before.

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

We recognize that He gives and takes away. And we are supposed to (or some are ABLE to) choose to say blessed be Your name. Huh. Have I said huh enough on this blog?

I was considering baby's birth mother. Is she out there right now? Is she giving up baby? Is baby leaving her now? Is her mom cold and alone? Can she even consider still saying Blessed be Your name? I COULDN'T. I know I just couldn't.

So you can see how this ended. Tears, shaking shoulders, face mushed into Jeremy's arm. So embarrassing. I detest public crying. Unless I'm with my oldest oldest girlfriends who have seen me cry about just about everything under the sun since 9th grade. But newish friends at church who really don't know me and who only really see me smiling and giving positive cheery adoption updates - it was not my best moment of 2009.

And now the song is stuck in my head. Stuck.

Here's what I'm wondering. Do you have any good songs to suggest for a playlist that can help replace this one? Any year, any genre, anything. Caveat is they must be powerful, inspiring, meaningful-and I do like to sing along if possible... They do not have to be Christian. Could even be country.

And now I am headed to a girls' night of watching The Ama*zing Ra*ce and eating carmel corn. So I promise I am not just a pathetic mess incapable of leaving her computer for an evening.



Word puke - how's that for a gross title?

I want to post here. My not posting should not reflect anything exciting in day to day life that is drawing my time or attention away from the adoption world and blogging. No, not even close.
And I've written 2 other drafts that are saved but not published yet.

I just don't feel motivated to hit publish post. I don't feel like either posts reflects my actual state of mind.

I think of myself as a pretty resilient person. Have moved a lot, started over in several places, lost friends and made friends, made it through a lot of school, and the ups and downs of getting married really young. Experienced disappointments and exhilaration in fairly equal share. So I'm embarrassed by the place the adoption has brought me to. I'm embarrassed that I can't maintain a sense of self and self control! I can't shake the obsession with "checking" on other blogs and worrying about the waitlist and timing. I can't even publish my well thought out post on the problems with orphanage care and the incongruity between our knowledge that orphanages are detrimental to child development and the Christian passion for building and supporting orphanages.

I want to add something through this blog. I wanted to write about topics that speak to people. That's what I promised back in July. And instead it has turned into a free for all vent and word puke of emotions. I'm disappointed in myself. I really didn't see this coming in July. I really thought we were going to be the exception and I would just ease right into parenthood with little T, we'd be to Ethiopia and back with her by Christmas, and life would move along.


There's really no going back. I'll still post my well thought out blogs. But for tonight I'll just say that I have spent most of yesterday and today trying to figure out what number we are on the waitlist. That number has become my world.

Here's the worst case scenario.
Worst case - we are still #3 and our agency coordinator is in the hospital for several weeks with her sick child and unable to match anymore families or update the waiting list. (I completely understand if this is the situation. Her baby is sick. Nothing could be scarier.)

Best case - we are #1 on the list. It's confusing. I've met some new women these past few days through our agency forum. One told me that her referral of a baby girl (since she was #1) moved us up to #2. Another woman told me that she knows a different family that accepted an infant boy referral last week so that should have moved us up to #1.

Is that possible? Could we be #1 and not even know it??? So am I supposed to glue my phone to my body now and wait for the "referral call"? That could add another layer of obsession to this whole thing.

J and I went to the cinema grill tonight and saw the Ti.me Trav.eler's Wi.fe. There was a moment near the end when the little girl curls her body into her mom's on the bed and they fit so perfectly. I can't wait for that. Talay likes to lay on the bed with me but her bony little dog body does not exactly make a perfect fit.




I'm so busy with work today. I really shouldn't be posting!

But excitement has gotten the best of me and I have to let it out somewhere!

This morning I was perusing my daily yahoo digest of posts from AAI families. The very very last message was from a woman on our same waitlist. She was posting to say she just received a referral!

In theory, this is the referral I was told about last week and so in theory we just moved up a spot to #2. Of course I have to wait to hear from our agency coordinator to know for sure but I feel pretty confident.

At the rate things are moving right now it is approximately 4 weeks between referrals. So maybe we will be #1 by my birthday which would be fantastic.

We'll see...
But for today I am claiming #2 and that's good enough to make it a great day.



Book Recommendations

I love to read. I read a huge variety of books, articles, magazines, etc. I read everywhere!
(I really need a Kindle so I can stop lugging books around the world with me.)

I read The.re Is No Me With.out You while I was living in Thailand several years ago. (This is the Bible of Ethiopian adoption circles.) And while it was very interesting I think that it only scratches the surface of the myriad issues relating to HIV/AIDS, adoption, orphans and vulnerable children and child protection. In fact, in my opinion, it has created a situation where we tend to glorify a woman who, despite very good intentions, didn't always do the best for the children in her care. It is also a book that, taken only for surface value, has the potential to set us up to believe that international adoption is the only answer for Ethiopia's children.

There is so much more to getting involved in child welfare work than good intentions or international adoption. For anyone who wants to start delving deeper here are books that I'd like to recommend. I think every single one exemplifies the idea that good intentions are not always enough. Life is so complicated. Poverty, conflict, disease, family identity, cultural differences in the way children are viewed and treated... they all make it much more complicated that we can even fathom from here.

Here are some recent favorites:

This was such an interesting book. I read it in one day! It is about the Russian orphanage system. A damaging system - like all orphanage systems. It really hit home for me why kids with special needs are the most in need of adoption and how good intentions are not enough to be an adoptive parent.

I don't normally read collections of short stories. But I found this book several months ago and devoured it. It is hard to read. I think some people might come away from it thinking - obviously my adopting a small child out of Africa is the solution. But I didn't. I think the message to come away with is that the life of a child is complicated - complicated by poverty, disease and conflict - adoption is only a tiny bandaid. What are we doing to make system changes in the world? What are we doing to make the world a better place for children to live - in their own societies?

So. So. Interesting. I spent 2 years in graduate school exploring this idea - that every single "solution" in development could potentially create another problem. A very good read for Christians who feel called to "do something." Neither I, or the book, are saying that we shouldn't be working for change. But it is so important that we have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to actually accomplish what we set out to do.

This is the adoption book I've enjoyed most so far. It is very practical. Early in the process I got a lot of my information about adoption and adoption terminology ("gotcha day" "forever family" etc.) from reading blogs. But this book helped set me on a better path to understanding how the way that we phrase things, days that we celebrate, how we celebrate and even the way we view our adoption story can have serious implications for our child and her view of herself. It helped me create a new framework for the way we will talk, think, and celebrate in the future.

An AMAZING true story about a child soldier. So complicated. Family, conflict, reunification, reintegration, instutionalization, trauma, psychosocial therapy, art therapy, Africa. It has it all.

Happy reading isn't exactly the right way to end this. Challenging reading!



Moving up the list?

What a difference a week can make. Now the sun is out again, snow is gone, and it's back to the 60s like that huge blizzard never even happened. I'm seriously an old lady blogging about the weather. But I am obsessed with it. We moved here for our 300 days of sunshine/year and I am COUNTING!

Yesterday I had a little crisis of the - I really don't want to wait anymore - variety.
Jeremy was at a wood turner's association meeting in the evening. I had no one to entertain me. So I started fishing around online for things to make me feel better.

I think being a waiting adoptive parent makes you a lot like a drug addict. You need little hits - you need need them - to keep you going forward. To prevent you from stalling and crying and stamping your feet.

First I fished around on waiting child photo listings (this actually started over the weekend and was the thing that precipitated the impatience.) Fishing on photo listings is not a good idea. Never. I won't go into details but those of you who have given into that temptation know what I mean. Stay. the. course. Stay. the. course. That needs to be my mantra.

Second I decided to send a long emotionally demanding email to my friend, Leah, who has adopted twice and is entering their third (with our agency.) She knows what she is doing. She is patient with my long emails but gives good, solid, serious advice that helps set me back on track.
(Anyone else want to receive long emotionally demanding emails from me? Because if so please let me know and I'd be happy to oblige and take some of the pressure off of Leah.)

Third I did my self-soothing blog stalking. For those of you who haven't engaged in this sport it involves returning to the same exact blogs over and over obsessively hoping your favorite writers have posted a new post about their time in Ethiopia, a new photo of their child, or - best of all - a long detailed post about the day they got their referral. You read every detail soaking in the happiness vicariously.

Finally I opened a Tar*get registry. (Not that I am expecting a truck load of gifts. We will probably end up buying most of it ourselves.) But I did it. And I'm glad I did because wow there are a lot of online options. Tar*get online is even bigger and more complicated than Tar*get the store. I think I registered for about 5 things in over an hour. This is going to kill J. There is no way he can register with me. I think I need to "pre-register" and then take him with me and guide him. Ok, here are the things I registered for that I know I need for any age. A diaper pail. A clip on travel wipe thingy. A set of animal bathtub toys. A pacifier thermometer (because doesn't that just sound so much more civilized than the other options?) A xylaphone/piano toy. That's about it. All that's needed to be a toddler in America.

Bedding seems mysterious to me because I think I need silk of some sort to keep baby's hair nice. Is that right?

Safety stuff seems important but that is one area I think I will assign to J because it looks very boring.

Oh! I almost forgot! The one thing I am most excited about. I registered for a little red toddler wagon for pulling her to the park. (We have amazing parks at each end of our street.) It seats two. So Cassidy can ride along if she gets tired. Or we could bring a toddler friend I suppose...

None of these coping strategies gave me the high I was looking for. Including ordering Thai food.

So I emailed our agency coordinator. The one who sent me that great email back last month saying we were #3. I tried to control myself. I wanted to be the kind of person who could wait a month in between emails. But I needed the hit - the adrenaline rush I knew I'd get this morning when I saw her name in my inbox.

All of that lead up to say that we are still #3 but....moving up to #2 in the "next week or two." She must be in the process of giving out a referral this week and waiting for a family to accept.

This is good. This is good. I feel better this morning.

Leah reminded me that for every referral given there is a sad story. A family breaking apart, a child found to be sick, a parent saying goodbye or passing away. It is painful to think this way. As a professional I always used to view inter-country adoption that way. But as a mom on the waiting list it is interesting how different it feels. I have to remind myself of the sadness that brings a child to my number on the list.

The rest of this week I am going to remind myself to be praying daily for baby and the circumstances (totally out of her control) bringing her rapidly towards us.



Boutique baby fool-I should not be let out of the house without a chaperone

I am obsessed with this blog.

I spent...um...hours? reading it last night.

Maybe it is because the author lives in England and in my daydreams we are a witty little globe trotting family living in Oxford, eternally working on a Ph.D. thesis, attending church in a small stone building from the dawn of history, and riding the chunnel to Paris for long weekends.

Maybe it is because we both have an important J in our blog worlds.
Or maybe it is because she cracks me up and helps me laugh over some of our more awkward adoption moments.

Because it reminds me of last Sunday.

Last Sunday we were driving home from church down a street very close to our house with lots of boutique stores and restaurants when I spotted a new store. Or new to me store.
With baby stuff hanging in the window. Really cute baby stuff!

It's our first kid. I can still afford to daydream about boutique onesies and monogrammed baby carriers. We have not given up and gone straight to Bab.ies R. U.s yet. (Although I'm sure we will before too long. I mean, after we've spent $50 on a onesie and pacifier we may decide the child actually needs more than that to survive.)
So I make J stop the car, I hop out while he goes to the gas station or somewhere equally uninteresting.

I open the door and step into boutique baby heaven. It is quiet. It smells like vanilla and lavendar. I am alone. I reverently pick up a few onesies from the sale rack and stroke them. I go into baby daydream mode. I pet blankets and examine a lot of weird looking accoutrements (sp?) that I have no idea what to do with. My wet shoes squeak quietly as I head up to the cloth diaper section. A fascinating wall display of cloth diapers. But not your mom's cloth diapers. Pre-shaped, buttoned, snapped, velcroed, emroidered, multi-colored, diapers and more diapers.
I start picking them up, examining them, stroking the soft fabric...

Then that inevitable moment. It's happened in other boutique baby stores.

SHE - she of the fertile mommyhood with a giant baby belly and a toddler sitting quietly coloring in the corner - she who works at boutique baby store for the discounts - enters my baby daydream space.
And I have to interact but it is SO Awkward. With a capital A.

In one glance she can see that I don't need cloth diapers. At least not for my own child. But who would buy cloth diapers for someone else's child? So she feels weird and I am running through the stories in my head. But you see I haven't perfected this situation yet. I tried it out at a different baby store and it almost ended in tears.
I ask about the different diaper brands and she explains that what we need depends on age/size. She looks at me expectantly with eyebrows raised. I say - "um, not newborn. Not big toddler. I don't know - I guess about one year. Yes, one year old. Maybe. Or maybe closer to 20 months. A smallish 20 months?" I think she doesn't believe me so she shows me the adjustable sized diaper system. Good...good. Now the rainy day and cup of coffee I had at church are getting to me and I am shifting around wondering when J is coming back to get me and sort of wondering if I could just buy a diaper for myself?

But the diaper systems are complicated and multi-faceted and she has no other customers. And she is hinting for more information. And she has to show me every single possible diaper option with those raised raised eyebrows. And it is taking FOREVER. And I can feel the stress rising as I try to keep myself from giving out any personal information.

My eyes are shifty. I blurt out that we're adopting. She then asks two things that stump me completely. 1. What's her name?? and 2. When is she coming home with you?

I'm prepared for what country? for what age range? for boy or girl? but not for much more.

Ah, the 24 million dollar questions really. And I loathe saying I don't know.
So I give her a month and a name. WHAT? Did I DO that? What is wrong with me?

To make a long story short I ended up SIGNING US UP for a class on cloth diapering. Oh yes. I did it. November 7th here we come. Looked at every single diaper option without looking at any of the prices. (This one really confused J.) AND managed to LIE about my future child. Now I can never go in that store again without an adorable one year old named ------- within the next 4 months. Oh my goodness. What is wrong with me?

At least when I read my new blog stalkee's post about the double stroller situation I didn't feel quite so ridiculous. But the difference is that she DIDN'T FABRICATE a story about her children!!

Huh. I should feel worse than I do. I should probably stop going into these type of stores and stick with the big impersonal stores. But you see, the problem is that J and I don't have any "stuff." And it took us over an hour to choose the 2 tiny baby toys I took with me to Ethiopia last month. Given that kind of track record we really need to be at least window shopping now, comparing brands, etc so when we finally get baby we'll have more than a $50 onesie and pacifier. (Not that I've even bought these things but these are the two things I actually can identify in the baby stores at this point.)



Where I am vs. where I wish I were

This. Is where I am today. (The view from my home office looking into the backyard.)

How is this possible you ask? It is only October 28th you point out.
Where is fall? Where are the leaves? Where are my mountain hikes? Where is the sunshine Colorado promised us?

Why can't I see the hammock anymore?
Why didn't I watch the weather channel?
Why is our Wednesday night meals group cancelling when we all live within 12 blocks of each other? (Seriously - don't you find that a little strange?)

This is where I wish I were.

Talay is very unhappy with this weather as well. This is Talay today. (Very very sad about the snow. Or maybe just the camera. She has photo phobia.)

She has very little body fat. I have decided to get her a doggie sweater. Something with little snowflakes. Like a ski sweater. I have not told J. He will not like that plan. But she is cold! Look at her!!

Oh, if only my Thai colleagues could see her now. The smug smiles, the clucking tongues. Yes, they would be horrified. They warned me heavily that a Thai dog would die in the American winter. (Never mind the fact that if she had stayed in Thailand she would have starved to death or been eaten alive by mange by now.) A sweater, yes, that is what she needs.

This is where Talay wishes she could be (taken last year on almost this exact date!)

I wish I were in Greece. Jeremy I spent almost two weeks in Greece in May for our 10th wedding anniversary. All I have now is a postcard.

I had an adoption dream last night. I dreamt that the agency called and offered us 3 siblings. They were not little - they were at least pre-teens. I kept thinking "but I asked for under 20 months old didn't I?" It was so confusing! Here come the crazy dreams!!



Baby stuff from Africa

If you have a puzzle full of tiny scratchy wooden pieces I do not recommend removing the outer wrapping. The photo above is a picture of my nemesis. Africa puzzle. I bought it for a few dollars in Nairobi. Today I made a bad choice and unwrapped it. I lost all of north and west Africa.
Dozens of tiny tiny confusingly shaped sharp edged puzzle pieces on my office floor.
Luckily I work from home. Which affords me the time to work on puzzles. Of course it couldn't have been Sub-Saharan Africa right? No, it was the entire portion of the continent that I know nothing about and haven't thought about since I took an African civilizations class in college.
The dogs sniffed the pieces and considered eating them. Most of the pieces had jagged edges (new project for J - sandpapering every back surface of this puzzle - should be super enthused to do that!)
Did I use my trusty wall map to figure out which countries go where? No! I did it all on my own and it only took 10 minutes or so. Should only take baby, oh, let's guess at 6 years and at least 10 choking incidents, to get this puzzled solved. For now it is going away in the closet. Far away.

My optimistic summer has been followed by a pessimistic fall.

I think it's because I left for Africa before the leaves even turned yellow and returned to Colorado in a special edition of Denver skips autumn and embraces winter.

Halloween. Y.u.c.k.
Holiday season begins with pumpkin patches and hay rides and costumes and cheery little voices at your door all night.

In my overly active imagination this year we are a safari themed family.
Baby is a giraffe (a magazine - how dare they send this to childless couples?? - arrived last week with tiny children in tiny animal costumes.) So baby is a giraffe. Jeremy could be either a lion or an elephant - something big and manly. And I will be whatever animal is the happiest. We stroll around the neighborhood showing off. Baby learns to say trick or treat. We gobble her candy after she goes to bed. Ahhhh. Maybe next year?

In REALITY Jeremy has to work - this always happens on Halloween for some reason. So it will be another year of answering the door every 2 seconds. Enduring children who barely dress up shoving bags in my face without saying trick or treat. (Who are these parents???) The dogs will be freaking out as usual and I will be promising little hands that they don't bite (and praying that they never make me regret those words.)

At some point I will be stuffed full of cheery Halloween friendliness and so I will turn out the light and ignore the angry teenagers who start coming out later. I will sit on the couch, watch scary movies that I should never watch alone, wonder where my youth went (ahh, remember the year in high school when I convinced mom and dad to let me go to my first Halloween party with COLLEGE friends?!) and eat the rest of the candy in the bowl. Candy that I bought to suit my taste anyway.

Where is this blog going? Oh, yes I think I called it baby stuff from Africa.

I am finding ways to keep cheerful. Mostly this involves baby name game which I use regularly to torture J, my sister, and random friends who are stupid enough to bring up the topic. Window shopping - which actually looks more like looking in the window for one second and then bounding into the store followed by me asking a million questions to the store people and pretending that I'm actually bringing a little someone home in the next few weeks. (A couple of times this has ended awkwardly as they've asked her name, age, etc. Sometimes I make things up and other times I admit I don't know who she is. Bleck. I prefer making it up during this game.) Finally - grand finale - organizing Africa "stuff" in the office/baby room and choosing prototypes for furniture I want J to build for baby.

Whew. Finding ways to stay cheerful really does take a lot of energy!

First up - the bed that J is making for baby. He doesn't love copying other people's designs but we both loved this daybed and we need the bed and trundle for guests anyway.
(He's building a side rail into the design.)

Second, fabric I bought in Africa for making throw pillow cases for the room. A few of the fabrics are so cute that I'd like to have pajamas or dresses made. I cannot sew though. At all. I will have to find someone willing to do this for me. Preferably for free. Out of pity would be fine.
If you own a sewing machine but do not want to be my new baby seamstress it would be best to pretend you didn't read this.



Victoria Falls

After the safari in Botswana, Kate and I went back across the border to Livingstone and spent a day at Victoria Falls. It was dry season so there wasn't as much water as usual. But it was still spectacular and we got the idea. In wet season you can get soaked from a mile away!

One morning we took a tour to Devil's Pool which is a little pool at the very top of the falls on the Zambian side. First you swim over to this rock island. The current is strong but there is a rope to hold onto. Then you jump from the rock island into Devil's Pool. You can't see it in the photos but there is a rock wall underneath the water forming this little natural pool that prevents you from going over the edge. The water was incredibly warm.

We jumped in! It was a big stretch for me since I'm scared of heights. But it felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity.

We don't have many great photos in the pool because our guide was really excited about being in the pictures. We didn't realize it when we were there - I think adrenaline had taken over. But later looking at the photos Kate and I just died laughing at our new "boyfriend" and his enthusiasm. Sorry for this photo Kate - it is not our best. But it really personifies our crazy friend.

It was a beautiful experience and a really fun 24 hours at one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. After the Devil's Pool we ate eggs benedict and scones with coffee at a little outdoor patio looking over the falls and watched while the sun came out and created rainbows over the water. Breathtaking.



Even I am getting sick of reading myself whine!

I slept on it. And I read your comments and emails.

So many good points made!

So here's what I did. I emailed a full description of T - her size, her looks, the way she interacted - to the WACAP social worker to pass along to the family. And I told her she could share my email if that's what T's mom really wants. But I don't want to initiate contact myself.

That should give them what they need. And takes the responsibility out of my hands. Not that I have any hard feelings at all. But I think that my feelings about being in touch with the family were very selfish feelings of curiosity. A desire for closure that may or may not be totally possible.

I'm actually tired of the drama. I think this adoption feeds something in me that isn't my favorite part of my personality. Drama. Throwing yourself on the bed with a giant flop, eye rolling, deep sighing, whoa is me, drama.

Even I am tired of reading this sob-story of a blog these days. I just got to go on a safari! Note to self - life is not perfect and you can't always have your way. Need to be more thankful in general.

Time to move on and think about little #3. And we are #3 on the list! Seems like a good omen.

Today it is sunny and even though the snow was blowing over the mountains in the distance the air is still and warmer down here in Denver.The leaves are still on the trees. It is my favorite time of year and I've barely noticed since I got home!

So I'm finding new ways of keeping excited. I forced J into the baby names talk last night. (He was a really nice participant for about 10 minutes.) Then we talked about our birthdays which are coming up in November and December. For my birthday I asked for a whole day of looking at decorations, toddler "stuff" and visiting baby stores. ;) He was really ready to agree to anything to make me happy which is one wonderful side effect of the recent drama.

There is going to be no more whining here. I promise.


About Me

My photo
J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.