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."


The how and the what

Yesterday at church, in between glazing over and thinking about baby, I caught something profound.

Q: Why is the how so important to God that the what is often delayed?

A: The how gets us to who He wants us to be.

The How.
We have lived the how and are still living it. Despite fighting the how, it does change us.

Measuring the How in our lives.

34 candles lit - one every Sunday - for her. For hope. In faith. With improving patience. That she is well and she will come safely to us someday.

14 ugly cries that took me from point A of panic, sadness, and despair to point B of improved understanding, clarity of mind, communication in my marriage, plans for the future.

4 ultrasounds and 6 rounds of Clomid. Several reality checks and reminders that life is a complete miracle, our bodies are fragile and children are beyond value no matter how they come to you.

1 husband moved from reluctanct to ready.

By any measure the How has changed both of us forever.



Ugly Cry - Good for Something!

Last month I won the ugly cry giveaway on Julie's blog and an Ezra Jack Keats 10 story treasury was the prize. It arrived today!

I remember entering this particular giveaway. It was on a day back in December when I had been doing a lot of ugly crying of my own. Julie asked for guesses on how many times she would cry ugly happy tears during the holidays. Apparently she experienced 18 full ugly happy cries.

I am looking forward to some ugly happy tears of my own.

And I think (I hope!) I'll have reason for them this week. It is hard for me to get too publicly excited. Especially after 2 or 3 disappointments this past year. But it does sound like this time will be different. We are almost there. So so close.

Until THE moment though I have been engaging in my own special nervous excited behavior.

1. Overtalking (basically involves chattering away at J the second he gets home while following him around the house - sometimes incorporates twirly 'soft socks on slippery wood floor' spins of nervous excitement.)

2. Chocolate eating. This happens both during sad nervous and nervous excitement. J gave me a brilliant V-day gift. Chocolates presented inside a completely EDIBLE chocolate heart container. Yes, a thick, dark, heavy chocolate heart that looks like a container but is actually yummy goodness.

3. Biting all skin off of lower lip. Ick.

Once in awhile I feel paralyzed by anticipation. I have never anticipated anything in life as much as this child. I'll be focused, working, being productive and then ... paralysis. Completely paralized with anticipation. It doesn't last long but is very debilitating....



How We Live Our Days

Spring is not here but I know it will come. That's faith.

I wish that I could send each and every one of you a real bouquet of flowers to thank you for the gifts you've brought into my life. I never imagined that my search for one little person would reveal so many wonderful women along the way. Life is messy but God is good.

Today I read a quote from Katie over at Amazima that said "the way we live our days is how we live our life." I have to fight it hard but I refuse to live my days miserable and impatient.

So I'm thinking of spring and all the promise it brings each year. I hope my flowers from Snowmass Village bring you the same joy and promise they bring me.

PS. If you are looking for wiser words today I really recommend reading Katie's post. Counting the cost. From a 21 year old. Truly I am humbled by what she has given.


Adoption and Fostering Update - Edited

Remember a few posts back when I mentioned that there was a little girl we've known about for a few months? Leah is there in Ethiopia with her. She has seen her every day this week while she visits her own daughter.

I've had a sneak peek into this child's world and still don't know if she will end up being ours or not. It is an odd place to be.

This little girl is missing some paperwork which is why we have not received her referral. On the 16th this should, in theory, get resolved. That doesn't mean we would get her referral on the 16th but hopefully her paperwork will be completed then. And a referral is not far behind.

While we wait to see her face for the first time we also wait for a potential infant referral. Last week there was movement on that front. This week so far have heard nothing.

It is...an uncomfortable situation to be in. Awkward.

Here is what I want. I want to look at a photo and feel that I'm looking at our child. Then I want to feel at peace. Is that possible? I know it happens for other people. Is it wishing for too much?

I'm editing the above question. I think I phrased it too vaguely. Seriously folks - when you saw your referral picture did you just "know"? What if you don't know? It's something I've worried about since day one and now with potential referrals headed towards us I'm getting worried about it again. How will we know if we should choose the vague - maybe there is, maybe there isn't, infant referral or the flesh and blood toddler?

I can look objectively at the whole picture and see that I'm trying to find a way to control our adoption. And adoption is a process where you simply don't have any control. That's been extremely hard for me to give up.

The fostering update is meager.
After the blur that was updating our homestudy to become foster parents. After taking a half day first aid certification class. After scanning and emailing a million documents. We wait. We've been told that we were misinformed and that our adoption training cannot count towards foster certification. We have to attend 2 full days of foster parent training in March.

Which is so ridiculous because the point of the fostering was that there were children needing placement in February. And we both happen to be home and flexible all of February. So providing an emergency home for 1-4 weeks in February and/or March seemed like a perfect fit.

It's almost laughable. Poor J. He had a real love/hate relationship with all of the international adoption training we did. (Because we switched agencies we had to complete two separate 10 hour online courses. In addition to the 24 hours in person training.)

I'm not sure what happens now. Obviously until we do the training we won't be getting a placement. But the training is in the middle of the work week and is not very convenient.

Lessons must be being learned from all of this. But the overarching theme to me somedays seems to be: I want to care for children - without too many parameters on that - but the world does not want to give me any to take care of.

It would be funny. If it weren't so bizarre. I think that's what we call irony.

I am remembering to enjoy: sleeping in, reading a book, working without interruptions, watching mindless reality shows that I would never have on with a kid in the house, walking the dogs without a stroller, having coffee with a friend, making last minute plans, celebrating Valentine's day without needing a babysitter.



Sometimes My Baby Room Needs Encouragement

Last night I was making tacos in preparation for our weekly L.ost tv watching date.

J ran out to the store to get avocado and cheese.

Along the route from delivering food from the kitchen to the living room coffee table I could hear the baby room calling softly.

I wandered in with my glass of ice water and turned on the light.

I stroked the gray and blue car seat. I promised it that we'd go soon to the firestation to learn all about safe installation.

I plumped the pillow I finally finished sewing last weekend. It looks extremely pleased to be given a place of honor on the amazing C.raigslist find yellow glider.

Sometimes I think the glider gives me a pitying look and a tiny glide of sympathy when I visit.

I took a moment to consider where we should hang the plastic tulip shaped lamp.

I read What's Wrong Little Pookie (my favorite Sandra Boynton book) again. And laughed out loud. Again.

Then I turned off the light and left.



Elephant in the Room

Last Friday I was part of a radio interview for a call in show.

The topic was supposed to be haiti and child trafficking.

I was being interviewed because of my professional work - not anything to do with our personal adoption.

The producer sent us advance questions before the interview.
I spent hours cramming my head full of talking points pertaining to those exact questions.

I have never been on a radio interview before. I definitely have never been on a call-in show before. In fact, I rarely listen to the radio and my experience with call in shows is limited to J's fascination with turning on C.ar T.alk to annoy me.

All of this lack of radio experience means that there was no way I could predict the twists and turns my interview would take. (J was all "I warned you about call in shows" when it was over like he is the call in show expert!)

Awkward Exhibit A:

Caller: Ummmm....yes....I am from xyz small town and I once took a first aid class a long time ago....will the Haitian government employ me to help?

My Ideal Host in Ideal Radio Land (obviously created just inside my head but not existing in reality): "well caller, that's a good question but not on the topic of ___________! So let's move on shall we? And remember...stay on topic!"

Actual Host: Grrreat question! Guest (insert my name) how do you respond??

Me: Aaahh. Yes. Um. (Now grasping for interview tactics I had gleaned from my tiny amount of prep time that day.) That IS an excellent question. But maybe a better question would be....(insert my own new theme for the conversation.)

Sigh. It went on for an hour. I got into the groove right around minute 59.

Now this is why I am posting about it on my adoption blog:

The Very First Caller asked This Question: (I did not hear it directly as I was accidentally dropped from the call at this time. The host called me back and summarized.) Something along the lines of...."Isn't it paternalistic and suspicious that so many white people want to adopt black babies from Haiti and Africa?"

Not prepared folks. Not in the preparatory questions!!
In my opinion not even on theme. And not really a question.

I had some adoption answers (specific to Haiti) prepared but not one answer flew to mind. I instantly reeled with the personal impact of the question/comment.

My answer was not all that profound. And I moved on quickly.

But what I wanted to do was rant at this person about how little he understands of love, about fighting for children to be in families and not in orphanages, and how trans-racial adoption has nothing to do with colonization or the assumption that African families can't be good parents.

My heart hurt after the program was over and I returned to this question. I feel like I may have sacrificed my personal opinions to the god of keeping radio land happy and not inviting more calls on the same topic. My colleague later told me privately that she feels this is the elephant in the room when talking about adoption.

Has anyone experienced a similar comment/question? If so, how did you deal with it?

Is it a big elephant in the room or is it just a baby elephant in a herd of adoption opinions?



Dogs, Books, Babies and a Glimmer of Hope

Have you noticed in my last several posts that I'm really trying hard not to obsess over our referral? I have been finding new things to obsess about.

1. Serious cramping/pain in my lower abdomen.
Day one: treated it as beginning of cycle. Early.
Day two: looked all over internet and decided it is early pregnancy cramping. Spent day having faux pregnancy which involved eating a frosty and fries (now that I am eating for two you know...) and calculating my due date online.
Day three: pain moves from lower abdomen to upper abdomen and after much more googling decide that it is side effects from my PCOS - obviously a bleeding cyst.
Today is Day Four and since I have way too many other interesting things to think about I've decided that I'm better. (Although faux pregnancy continues since I refuse to take a test and put an end to the daydream. By the time it ends I'm sure I'll have gained 5 lbs.)

2. Building a baby book library that is reflective of baby's race and culture and our uniqueness as as an adoptive family. This has become a major obsession and was fueled by an article I read by an adoptive father recently who stated that he had spent years helping his children adopted from Russia appreciate their culture. "Their MISSISSIPIAN culture." HUGH UGH. I know I ask this a lot, but what is wrong with people?

3. Milo. Well you saw in my last post that I am on a mission to rescue Milo in Thailand.

I can't help but feel personal responsibility and guilt that I left Milo (fully knowing that at some point the tsunami volunteers would all leave and probably not consider taking him) and brought Talay home with me. She was a cute little puppy. Milo was an older dog. I think it mirrors some of my guilt in our adoption. If I really analyze it. We've asked for a baby/toddler. Instead of one of the older children who I know need and desperately want to be adopted but have less hope of growing up with a family. I'm no therapist but after analyzing my obsession with Milo that's what I've come up with. Not that I plan to stopy trying to help him. Am planning a fundraiser for Milo and the S.oi D.og F.oundation here in Denver.

(BTW, did you see how FAST the organization found my post and commented yesterday? Wow. Serious proof of the power of G.oogle A.nalytics.)

(My last night on the beach in Khao Lak. Milo was so happy to go to the beach.)

(Milo playing with Talay. I flew home the next day and Talay arrived by cargo a few days later.)

4. I have saved the best for last for those of you still reading. There are referral deee velllll oppppp mennnttttsss...... (read the last word in a sing songy voice - that helps.)

What to share? What not to share? I would share it all if I thought it would be ok with our agency.

Bare minimum details. A little girl that I have known about for 2 months will be paper ready for referral at end of this month. She is a little over our ideal age range. But her name has found a place in my heart and thoughts. We have never seen a photo of her but a friend is at her orphanage for the next 10 days and will email me a little report with pictures and her thoughts.

Our agency is going to be working with a new orphanage. One that cares specifically for kids with the special need we have requested. When I opened my email this morning and saw the details my stomach cramps and malaise just sort of disappeared. I might even organize the basement this weekend!

I hope. I hope that after reading my last week of posts nobody comes away from this blog wondering why we are adopting. I hope that you will leave a comment if you want to talk more offline. I hope that I am not too much of a downer but have helped anyone considering adoption to think through some of the issues clearly. I'm glad to have this forum, and all of the amazing adoptive mothers who are willing to dialogue, because there is always room to examine, debate, and discuss when we are talking about children's lives. Thanks.

Signing off with hope,



Coming Out

I feel like I'm coming out of the closet....I am not an "adoption advocate."

There. It's been said. I'm hoping my followers don't all drop and run en masse.

How I realized this?

Yesterday I set up a coffee date with a woman from my church who is also adopting from Ethiopia. We were connected by email but haven't met in person yet.

Almost immediately after setting up our date I began having anxiety about what kind of path our conversation will take.

I realized I am not an adoption advocate because as I had mixed feelings it dawned on me that I am not the go-to girl for all things adoption related. I don't encourage others to adopt. I get nervous around people who I sense are part of the movement to get every Christian to adopt an orphan in need. I don't advertise about our adoption. I don't get excited when I hear that there is an adoption movement or a church starting an adoption ministry.


I am cynical I suppose.
I have read a lot of blogs and websites that present false images about adoption. I detest the adoption agency ads with photos of smiling healthy babies with taglines like "I am waiting for you to come and find me." Schmarmy. And really totally untrue in my experience.

Haven't we all learned from our adoption experiences that these days there are very few reputable programs that actually have healthy infants "waiting" for families. In fact, I can't think of one. There may be healthy babies waiting out there but they are not immediately available. China - 4/5 year wait now?
Ethiopia - most large agencies are 1-2 year wait.
Russia - majority of kids have special needs or at high risk.
Korea - phasing out healthy infant referrals for mostly special needs infant referrals.
Haiti- 2 years (although I have heard reports of 3+ years.)

So I have a hard time with the happy, warm, fuzzy belief that there are beautiful orphanages tragically filled with healthy infants who all happen to be double orphans waiting for us adoptive families.

Reality is that many kids who are adopted have one living parent. Reality is that most agencies have 90% of adoptive families registering for healthy infants while 90% of their immediately available children are older or have special needs.

That is a huge reality gap pertaining to adoption. So I can't be an adoption advocate unless I can be real with people and unless people get real.

Here is my personal reality check -those of us who want infants or toddlers (with or without special needs) are adopting to expand our families. That is the reality. I don't know anyone who is adopting an infant or toddler to "save an orphan" and quite honestly that would not be an appropriate reason to adopt anyway.

Here is the world's reality check - the vast majority of kids in critical need of and available for immediate adoption are older kids. Kids with special needs and long-term disabilities. I could be an advocate for adoption if both of these realities were part of the adoption discussion. If these were things that every adoptive parent understood or wanted to understand.

But I'm not sure that is the case right now. Many do understand. And many do not. And holding adoption pep rallies where realities are not presented are not my cup of tea.

You can see why I am nervous about coffee with my new aquaintance. I hate being a downer. But I hate unrealistic adoption small talk....

While I am on my soap box here I am going to say one more thing that may cause the last few of you reading to officially drop me.

I don't like the word orphan. There. I have said it.
I don't know a single child who would want to be called an orphan or who would consider it anything other than a discriminating and negative label.

And when we talk about "143 million orphans" in the world we are talking about children who have lost one or both parents. Vast majority living with a surviving parent. I just think it does injustice to the reality of the situation and diminishes the importance of that surviving parent.

I hope you don't all leave me or hate me. I have learned a LOT by reading adoption advocates' blogs. I have had my heart softened and prepared by adoption advocates. I have had deep and sustaining conversations with other mothers who have or are coming to these same conclusions. And I have been encouraged and loved and supported by people who would not agree with me and whom I would hate to alienate.

But I just can't find it in myself to be an adoption advocate. And I think that's ok. I am not anti-adoption. If I were, I would not be adopting! I have mulled it all over quite a lot and decided that I fall in the middle somewhere. Pro-adoption for kids that have been relinquished and are in need. Whose surviving parent made an educated choice or who do not have a willing surviving relative. But anti-adoption when it is provided or promoted as the only, or even the "best" answer. The be all, end all.


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.