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."


What Brings You Here?

Yesterday Bridget from Sticky Mango Feet came for a visit with her daughter Elia. And yes, I absolutely think of her as Bridget from Sticky Mango Feet.

We had a conversation about blogging, that due to double child interference, didn't get very far. But I thought a lot about it last night.

Adoption blogging is this very interesting phenomenon. I clearly remember the very first adoption-related blog I read. It was Leah's. We met in Ethiopia (she was there visiting Myra, I was there for work.) When we parted Leah handed me a card. I thought it was a business card. And it was, sort of. It was labeled "Noah and Myra's Mom" and had her contact information and blog address. I was confused. (Ahhh, I was so clearly NOT in the adoption loop back then.)

Leah's blog introduced me to other adoption blogs. Which lead to many ugly cries in front of the computer. Which lead to the ordering of a waiting child dvd. Which lead to the walking and talking. Which ultimately lead us to Ariam.

There is something about the blogging community that is impossible to get anywhere else. Maybe it is the semi-anonymity that gives us permission to be very very real. Even ugly if we choose to be. Maybe it is the freedom to add, clarify, delete that makes communicating so much easier. Definitely there is power in writing and sending ourselves out into the universe this way.

The thing Bridget said that I found so interesting was that blogging has a way of making us more mindful of how we approach our adoption. We both agree that it holds us more accountable. You (that vague nebulous 'you' who I hardly know and yet feel so connected to) make me more accountable to A. Because I have to think before I write. And because I have to think before I write, I actually have to think before I act. Think about the way I approach sleep, think about the way I approach community, think about how I talk about adoption, think about how I represent our family. I can more mindfully think through challenges because I can bring them to the community to find support, answers, and ideas.

Maybe most importantly, because I publicly represent certain adoption values on this blog, I actually have to find a way to live them in my work and home life.

It deserves a lot more discussion. (Maybe minus the two adorable distractions!) But my point is simply that blogging is not just a way of documenting each milestone in Ari's development. Blogging for me is accountability, memory, planning, processing, and connection.

That being said. I am asking this: READERS DECLARE YOURSELVES PLEASE!

It's come to the point where I am not sure who is reading here. I have received incredibly kind and supportive comments from new readers on old (very old) posts lately. But often commenters' profiles don't show up in the comments so I have no idea (other than a first name) who you are.

If you read here regularly could you please comment? And if we've never met by email I'd love it if you'd leave your email address or some other identifying link.

I don't use tracking software. I don't know who is reading from Finland or Zimbabwe or New Zealand. If anyone is. I don't use the program that tells me who found this blog and how. I have no idea how long you linger on each page or photo (but I do know that there are programs I could install to find this out!)

I have zero time to faff about (it's a British phrase, possibly spelled incorrectly) with installing these things. I just know that I'm nearing 20,000 hits in one year and would so love to know who is out there with me. Are you reading to see photos (mom- ok I so know that is you), are you reading because you are considering adopting? Are you reading because you are a friend and I don't email you or call you often enough? :) Are you reading because you are interested in the same things I am: ethics, race and identity, sleep crisis, reluctant husbands, vulnerable children, special needs??

If you are Morgan and Jackie then you don't need to comment because I know you are reading to keep tabs on the little light I've been entrusted with.

Thanks in advance everyone!



  1. Hi - I am Kate, a stay-at-home mom to my son (bio.), 15 month old Patrick. We have started the adoption process, we're about 1/2 way through the dossier now. I read your blog because I am trying to soak up everything I can learn about adoption, adoption from Ethiopia, issues APs face, etc.
    So, thank you and to the other blogging ET adoptive moms! It is so helpful, I can't imagine going through this process without hearing others' stories. Thank you for sharing :)

  2. It me...Cathy :) I read when I get a chance. Mostly to spot Miss A in some of Kiya's clothes. Just kidding. I am so sorry I haven't sent you the shoes. Is she still in a size 5? With all of Kiya's stuff going on I have been a lot distracted and have totally dropped the ball on some things. Hope all is well and more pics of A. She is just so darn cute :) And I still have Leah's business card even though it is old news and her family has doubled. I didn't realize you had met in person. We did too. She and Noah came for a visit just before we both got our referrals.

  3. Hi! I follow your blog. I am an American married to a Swede, living in Sweden, with a 2.5 year old girl from South Africa and a 14 month old from Zimbabwe. My 14 month old and your daughter have something in common!
    I read because I am interested in how your daughter progresses since she and my daughter are about the same age and have that particular thing in common!

  4. Love all your thoughts about accountability. I guess I had never thought of it that way, but it's SO true! I'm loving seeing how your daughter is transitioning into her new world and how you as first time parents are adjusting as well - we're about to go through all the same exact stuff.

  5. I LOVE reading your blog! I've been reading ever since we started the process to adopt from Ethiopia last summer and I went crazy reading as many adoption blogs as I could (I didn't even know what a blog was before we started the adoption process)! I really appreciate your honesty about adoption and I just think you're so darn funny, your posts always make me laugh. Keep writing :)

  6. I read!
    : )
    I hope you keep blogging about the big topics as well as your cutie patootie : )

  7. Hey. It's me. And I'm reading cause I'm secretly stalking you and planning a move to (insert your street town...). YOU KNOW I"m just kidding! I totally relate to the 'accountability' of our little blogo pseudo community. It's so true- that it makes me a better mother- and motivates me in my everyday! Thank you- (and all others) for making me want to be a better mom.

    oh- you can turn off the anonymous commenters option if you want to!

  8. Hi,
    I am a two summer volunteer from A. I stumbled on your blog from someone else's-- not sure who at the moment-- and recognized your little one and one of the nannies. I have a blog if you are interested, I can send it to you. My email is tjones6575@gmail.com- and I respect you wanting to know who is reading. I just like seeing how all the kids are doing in the states.

  9. YES YES YES YES and YES to what you've said about why we blog!

    You know who I am, but saying hi again anyway :)

  10. When I read the blog entry today asking for people to identify themselves, I had my stubby little fingers poised on the Post a Comment link when I read "If you're Morgan or Jackie..." Don't think you're going to stop me that easily. I read your blog religiously because I adore your daughter, adore you and Jeremy (I know we've never REALLY met, but does it matter?), I care what you think about and, hey, we might be related one day! Oh, and I have lots of family members who still go to Baylor. Maybe I can gain creds with them by saying that I kinda know the daughter of possibly one of their professors. Yep, I know I'm stretching there!

  11. I am a silent reader who is also a blog abandoner. I feel like no one is reading mine, but I still read others.

  12. Hiya! You know me! :) But I will take this opportunity to tell you that I LOVE your profile pic at the top - always have and have always wondered where you were?

  13. Hi!
    I'm a reader--have been for--jeez, a while now I guess. I have a bio daughter (3 years) and we're approaching our 3rd month waiting.

    I don't have a blog, but I'm a shameless reader of others'!

  14. Hi Amanda,
    It's me...your fellow AAI stalker. I always enjoy reading your blog and I understand that strange feeling of not being so sure who is reading. Keep writing, lovely!
    Julie, living in PA with Donovan and Noemi Sosina, home from Wanna Sept. 2009.

  15. I'm new to your blog. I'm a single Mommy to Abby (Home 3 years this January from China). Feeling the pull to adopt again but don't know how financially I could swing it :( Your daughter is BEAUTIFUL :)

  16. Hi! I'm Bridget from Sticky Mango Feet and I think we've met! ;)
    Love you, Amanda! I want to go out again soon....just the two of us! Maybe dinner?! I really, really had a wonderful time with you yesterday and I'm so glad my flippant comment resinated with you. I felt reenergized just by hanging out with you yesterday. You give me so much hope and you're just so EASY to talk to! (do I sound like I'm on a match.com date?!) Ha! Stepping back now so as not to freak you out completely.....
    You know what's crazy.... Leah was the first person in the ET adoption community that *I* met! Her parents live 15 min. from me and we met at an old coffee shop she used to hang out at in high school. Weird, huh? She only had Noah then....and now look at her! Amazing! Too funny.....
    So, yeah, dinner?!

  17. Hi,
    I'm a new reader, can't remember from which adoption blog I wandered over here. I have a 4 yr old daughter, adopted at few years ago from Guatemala. I enjoy your blog and hope to one day adopt again. Oh yeah, I'm from NJ.

  18. You know me so well, Amanda! Of course I read to see pics of my adorable grandbaby...but I also love to read what you write - you are a wonder and a beautiful daughter!

  19. Hey I read - as I have time which is in a crunch these days! Since I have now met the lovely Miss A. in person you better believe I'll be keeping up with her doings! (and yours too!)

  20. I have your blog on my igoogle page, along with Shawna and Jen's. <3 Lyndi

  21. Who am I?
    Heather--- I have known Jeremy for a loooonnggg time. I think since kindergarten or first grade. He was one of my best friends in high school. I think the world of Jer. One of the most awesome guys I know! Jer told me about your blog and I am hooked. I have met you Amanda a few times. (Amy's wedding and graduation)

    I have your blog as an icon on my iphone and I check it daily. I LOVE reading it! I am a bit of a junkie. You have a beautiful way of expressing your emotions through words. I truly appreciate and respect the way you express yourself in such an honest way.

    Adoption is so close to my heart because my only sister was adopted by my parents when she was born.I have always been fascinated by it. We are so different and so the same. We giggle (cause we love it)when people tell us that we look alike. We don't look alike but her children do look like they could be biologically related to me. It's really weird! Nature/nurture??? I don't know. What I do know is that I thank my lucky stars everyday because my sister is my best friend and I can't imagine my world without her.

    I also enjoy following your blog because even though I am far away (and Ari doesn't know me) I feel like I am a little part of her world.

  22. It's me, Karina:) I love following your life through your blog now that you're so far away and have so much to report! Can't wait to see you soon!

  23. Leo el blog porque soy tu amiga y quiero saber de Ari... And I don't want you to forget your Spanish. Pablo and Camilo already know Ari is coming to visit.

  24. Hi I am Holli.
    I found your blog through Leah's.
    I am a fellow blogger and AP.
    My blog is private but if you would like to read will invite!
    Thanks for sharing and always being so real.

  25. I read your blog long before I knew our lives would overlap! And, I can't stop reading... You have a nifty habit of writing that which I have been unable to find the words to express! Keep writing and I'll keep reading (:

  26. I love your blog! I have a 15 YO son and just this year adopted my 1 YO daughter from ET. Such an amazing experience.

    I really like your writing!

  27. I'm the Cox's former dog-sitter from DC who takes the unusual approach to the blog in that I'm always interested in how Taley and Cass are reacting to having a big sister. I love my girls and know they love their very special human sister. Canine agenda aside, I can't tell you how much your blog and the issues you raise have challenged me to think outside my comfy life and really look at my own hidden prejudices. I'm eternally thankful to Ariam for showing me this.

  28. Hi! I'm Nora and I'm a PAP. I started reading adoption blogs about a year ago and quickly made a favroites list of the blogs that I found to be thoughtful and challenging--yours is at the top of that list. We've spent months and months talking through the ethical considerations in IA and in adoption from ET. To be honest, I don't know where we'll be adopting from right now...but I really appreciate your honest dialogue about your experiences. And Ari is just beautiful!

  29. :)
    My name is Michelle. "Mom of Brock, Erica, Micah and Derek"

    I go to know you on a walk through the streets of Addis.
    And we had different opinions. And yet "so VERY the same" opinions.
    And I am overwhelmed on a regular basis that God would plan it so our paths would cross and I would get to watch this amazing process unfold in your life.

    And I am proud of you.


  30. Jaymi here from way back in your childhood visits to Iowa! I'm totally addicted and have read every word that you have written on here! And Ariam is SO CUTE! I mean seriously....she has just blossomed into this adorable, happy girl that makes me smile just looking at her.

    I've always been interested in adoption, and appreciate the thoughtful input about what is best for the kids--staying in their home country or international adoption. This blog also touches on so many other issues that I am interested in: child development, international issues, navigating this crazy maze called parenting....

    Above all, I find your writing to be very clear and real. The world needs more of that.

  31. I'm Jenny and have 5 yr old twin girls from A's orphanage. They've been home one year. We live in CA. I believe I found you from one of the yahoo boards (?). I enjoy your writing, thoughts, and hearing about your beautiful daughter.

  32. Hi, we've "met" in blogland already. :) I found your blog when we were at the beginning of our adoption process and I was spending hours of our WAIT time scouring the internet for anyone who might be "in our shoes." Your story/journey/process is so similar to ours that it only took a moment to decide to continue reading.

  33. I have kept up since you came to visit MN and sat in the McD's playland with Luke and I while the kids played. I miss having you closer and have always felt like we can easily pick up being "bossom" friends like the years have not passed us by. I have really enjoyed sharing in your life changing experiences through the blessing of Ariam. I have honestly cried many tears for many reasons at my computer reading your posts. I am really glad you have chosen to blog, and equally as glad that I am reading. Maybe someday we will get to vacation in your neck of the woods... there are many people there we would love to see! Love, love, love you guys!

  34. I'm still reading. I am reading because you are a smart woman. (That and the adorable baby factor). :)

  35. I am reading because we are connected through our kiddos being crib friends even though my Micah is much older but about the size close to your daughter. Anyways, I too love the blogger world of adoption, have met many many friends and couldn't imagine my life any other way. It is amazing though how many people come forward when you post that question who are you?

  36. Oh yeah, one more thing, I loved the note about Morgan and Jackie. The two angels that watched our little ones while in ET and now are watching from a distance because they will forever love them. Two incredible women I have never met but love like my own immediate family

  37. I'm admitting that I don't usually read your blog but I just happened to stumble upon it from Claudia's. I met you at the park around the corner from Bridget's house.

    So glad to see you have your girl and are doing well!

  38. Hi! I'm Kate. I found your blog through a friend's blog... but I'm not sure if I remember which one. My husband and I have one daughter, Meron, from Ethiopia and are in the process of adopting siblings. My blog is 'Something About Merrie'
    Nice to meet you... and I think your daughter is lovely. We love her name, as well. In fact, it has always been on our 'short list' of favorite Ethiopian names we are considering...
    Thanks for writing, best of luck to you all.

  39. And I'm your aunt, keeping up with you, Jer, and my beautiful grand-niece. Can't wait to meet her in person! Love you! Glori

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  41. I am your friend and I love reading about what is going on in your life and what new things your baby is up to! And of course, you are a great writer and you say things so eloquently... I love reading your blogs... many make me think about things differently or ponder things I've never thought of.

  42. Love the honesty in your posts! I stumbled across your blog today as I'm "blog hopping." I'm an AP to a 6-yr-old from Guatemala and a PAP, chugging along in Ethiopia.

  43. I am Joy. Morgan is my sister in law and Jackie is my mother in law. I read your blog b/c I think it is honest and fresh. Plus it makes me wonder if Morgan is dealing with the same issues.

  44. Hi, it's Lisa from your town. From your church. Even tho we see you on a semi-regular basis I still skim your blog from time to time...because we can't get to talking about these things with two one-year-olds yelling and sitting on each other! So I feel like I know you better after reading. Which is the good and bad thing about blogs, b/c we're not actually having a conversation, I'm just reading your journal. Which makes me laugh, cry, and everything in between! You're a great writer.

  45. I found your blog months ago...maybe back in January?? On the YWAM blog "That we Might Be Adopted." I decided I liked you....or at least the "blog you" so I just kept reading! Now I check in to see pix of your girly girl! Thanks for sharing!!

  46. Hello! Im stephanie and I found your blog through Leahs blog. I attended the same church as Leah in Gurnee, Il and started reading her blog when they moved to Korea. At the time I started reading your blog, I was getting started aquainting myself with the adoption world. I have always wanted to adopt and at the time, my husband and I were on year 2 of unsuccessfully trying to conceive. We now have a 3 week old son. :) I would still like to adopt in the future. I love reading your blog and admire your authenticity. Keep it up!

  47. I was just introduced to your blog tonight by another adoption blog stalker - your 'white mama' post is just true, real, and honest. I loved it. Which is why I got sucked into a time warp and re-read all of your posts from Day 1 to present. We just submitted our dossier with AWAA and are also waiting on a baby girl. So the realness, I am in love with. I love reading how hard it is - cause the books don't give you that. And I am a planner and like to know what we may be up against. I love reading how amazingly wonderful it is - cause I can't wait to be writing about that too. I also visited ET a year and a half ago - so all the descriptions take me back and make me smile. I'm in love with the country - but I also haven't had to deal with their govt., medicine, and living there. Visits are much nicer.

  48. Hi - I found your blog through A Bushel and a Peck and I am reading yours because I am basically obsessed with adoption...especially from Africa...especially from Ethiopia. I am a Kindermusik teacher...I work 1 day a week and my husband is a high school English teacher. We have 2 bio kids, Eli (4) and Hannah Kate (2). And as you might expect we have about $150 to our name...so adoption is a pretty far off goal for us. But I do know who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and I know who has given me the desires in my heart. I know someone is missing in my family...I don't know where that person/those people will come from or how they will get here...so for now I would love to hear more of your story because it is so encouraging to hear the mountains our Father is moving to gather his children under his wing...praying to be a part of His redeeming plan for orphans...while we wait.


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.