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."


Q: What is more emotionally draining than the adoption process?

A: The search for child care.

After the nanny debacle yesterday I had to have a very painful phone conversation with the other mother. (She's employed this nanny for a year to watch her sweetheart of a daughter.) I had to tell her about the lack of eye contact, the lack of touch, the disinterest in either child. I was shaking during the call and realized that if I were her hearing these things I'd be falling apart.

Today we visited four daycares with immediate openings.
(We visited 2 last week and 1 earlier this week. All three had waiting lists and we put ourselves on our favorite which was absolutely amazing and probably won't have an opening until spring.)

Two of the four today had really negative reviews online but had immediate openings. Of course.

I went into the daycare visits this afternoon with a huge lump in my throat. Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. Stress about the time away from work. Concern over the reviews.


I was tongue-tied and barely functional. We did a lot of standing around staring and looking like we were attending a funeral.

More draining than waiting for Ariam has been this realization that life cannot move forward unless we remove her from the house for 20 hours each week. How is it that after all that waiting and longing now we have to put her away from us and be apart? It breaks my heart. But it will break us, literally, if we don't do it...

Ok, the daycare visits.

Two of the four smelled bad. Like cafeteria food and old poop.
One had a room filled with little jail cribs, like an Eastern European orphanage.
None of the caregivers spoke much English. I am a huge fan of children learning Spanish at a very early age. But Ariam needs to hear and process English. She's just now beginning to babble and trying to say a few words. Not sure now is the time to introduce a (third!) language.

I felt like all of the children we saw were blank and bored and moving in slow motion.
At one of the daycares, within the 10 minutes we were there, Ariam got her finger stuck in a faulty toy and fell off of a broken scooter.

How can parents send their children to these places for 50 hours/week? How does this childcare thing WORK?!!! Please tell me if you have the answer. Because I can't do it. I can't leave her somewhere unsafe, icky smelling, dirty, with people who seem bored. And why do all of them serve disgusting things like pork meatloaf?? (No offense meat eaters but we really don't eat much meat.)

Oh my goodness. I can FEEL the panic rising. Never had a panic attack. Pretty sure the first one is going to be on Ariam's first day of daycare. Or it may be tonight while we discuss the options.



  1. We haven't met but I've been following your blog and really enjoy it. We are in the process of starting our adoption from Ethiopia. The daycare thing is brutal we are using in home daycare for our son and we have a wonderful provider (in Oregon)that we love like family. The good daycare's are out there, it just takes a lot of looking, network with everyone you know that has kids, ask other co-workers. Don't give up, you will find someone, don't settle on something your not comfortable with because you will be a wreck and not be able to concentrate on your work anyway. Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way that you will find someone soon.

  2. Oh my gosh this sounds so hard! I wish we were closer so you could send her to my house. Are there any in-home daycares you could check out? It might be worth waiting on one of the better ones. However, I hope you don't mind me saying this, but Spanish as a third language sounds SO great! She will not have any trouble picking up English and you can be quite sure that she will have it nailed before the school years. Hang in!

  3. Daycare is so hard. We loved our Au Pair situation when Noah first came home and then we used Montessori preschool. Although after reading all your posts and blog I think you sound like a in someone's home daycare family. Good luck!

  4. Ok, if cost is part of the issue, have you tried a local college? Or, someone who works as a camp counselor/ lifeguard/ kids' recreation person? Or, put an ad in the paper? My sister found an awesome nanny that way for her twins - a nanny who turned out to be a mom of now 5, two from Ethiopia? It's a tough economy and there are smart thoughtful effective people looking for work.

  5. One of our biggest problems is that we can't have someone coming to the house. Our new house will be under construction (the basement) for months which means we'll all be crowded into less space. I can't work from home with Ariam there. So no college nannies or babysitters. That leaves in-home daycare which I can't seem to find. I can't figure out how/where to look for these....

  6. Totally agree. It sucked. I finally found one and KNEW KNEW KNEW it was the right one immediately. They had no openings. I pressed forward. Told them how much I wanted him there. Found some connections and they found a spot for him. Shockingly- it is a 'early head start' program (but expanded). IT ROCKS MY WORLD. They are mandated to see testable progress in each child. so they do all the motor skills, hearing, sight and language testing and services on sight. My only sad part is that within months he'll be ready to move to the preschool class but--- I want his current teacher to move too.

  7. It seems like finding a home that Ariam can go to is your best bet. It takes more discernment and work, but when you find the right place with her, you will know it and you guys will do great! Suggestions for tapping into the network of non-daycare childcare:

    1) where did you find the nannyshare option? keep pursuing that lead to see if there is another similar option.

    2) call all of the local churches in your area and ask if they know any women who have home daycares, or who are stay-at-home moms but want to earn a little extra cash.

    3) Look for all of the preschool activities in your area (MOPS, Park district, Gymboree, YMCA, etc) and start stalking them. Put up fliers, chat with the moms there, etc. Your best connection to good childcare (especially in someone else's home) is to talk with lots and lots of moms.

    4) Are there any nanny placement agencies in your area? I worked with one in Chicago and they were able to set up nanny-shares, and their process for placing nannies with families was excellent and gave all of the freedom to the parents to meet multiple nannies and only go with the one they are comfortable with. They were a bit pricey, but that might be your best bet. They also might be able to refer you to another option for finding good childcare in the area.

    5) Some pre-schools take very young children. Have you looked at the local preschools in addition to the daycares?

    6) Craiglist. I know: FULL OF CRAZIES. But there are also a lot of people sincerely trying to connect. Just continue trusting your gut and checking references. If your gut and the references are both good, you should be fine---you've clearly got a good "gut."

    7) Someone is licensing the home daycares in your state/county. Find out who that is and see if you can get a list of licensed home-daycares in your area. Even if they are all full, they can add to your networking to find someone.

    You can do it! I can't wait to hear your excited post about the most perfect arrangement that you found! It's out there somewhere. Oh, and you are doing an AWESOME job of making sure your daughter has the best---way to be persistant!


  8. Been thinking about this all night. I'm wondering about an in-home care situation as well. I don't know how to find these either. I wonder about contacting any Montessori or Waldolf-y type association to find out any individuals who might be doing small group care. Some of these programs are a bit lighter touch and less industrial feeling than regular daycare and spend a lot of time out of doors. I'm also thinking of any "grandma" types that you might know. Do you know anyone that is pining for their grandkids that live far away or someone who is the grandparent of people you know or someone who wants to be a grandparent real bad. Someone like this would give her that nurturing one-on-one care and would be able to do thinks like check in with you during the day. I would trust your spidey-sense on any care or caregiver you choose. I would also call out any favors I had to friends to join me in the search. Is there anyone that could help you through this transition time? Maybe Sparky? Thinking of you and like others have said, I wish I lived closer to help.

  9. I feel for you. We were very lucky to find our daycare hence I am not pulling Kiya out while I look for a job. I would say try Craigslist....ask at church maybe where other moms' send their kids, find out who licenses in home daycares in your state....
    Sending big hugs and crossing my fingers you find a good fit. Hang in there.

  10. What did the "other mother" say when you shared your impressions? I am a big fan of craigslist. I am very specific in my post and can usually weed out the wackos pretty quickly. Also a VERY big fan of Montessori. Our local program starts accepting kids at 2yo. What about the local library? Is their a children's librarian? He/she may know some of the neighborhood child-care providers who are doing things with their kids other than watching TV! We have always used college/grad students and have had mixed luck. One is still like a member of our family, despite having graduated. Others barely had a pulse. Last idea would be the local children's hospital-- sometimes night nurses are looking for a day gig a couple days a week? I HATE leaving my kids even with the best sitter. It is the control freak within me. But, like you, it is a necessity for sanity. Hang tight.

  11. I don't have one more suggestion to add to this. You have such good friends with really great ideas. Just know that I'm available to help out any way that I can until you come up with something better. There is plane service from FL to CO, I am available, more than willing, adore your child and come with great references. I'm not kidding. If I can help, let me know.

  12. You might want to take her up on this. There is no help like Sparky help. Seriously.

  13. I'll never forget how I felt taking you to day care for the first time. We moved to Houston in August, 1978. You were 20 months old (?). Up until then your mom stayed home with you--since you were born. The move to Houston was traumatic. We were walking into the unknown. Your mom had to get a job and that happened rather quickly. And I had to begin classes at the university soon. So it fell to me (because your mom began working) to search for day care--something I hated to do.

    I'll never forget the first place I inspected. It was in a run-down old house not far from our apartment (so convenient). Inside I saw a whole bunch of children just sitting on training potties. Well that's the image that seared itself on my mind. The place was shabby and there weren't enough workers for the children. I went home very discouraged with a sinking feeling inside.

    After a few more disappointments I found the day care/pre-school at First Presbyterian Church of Bellaire--not far from our apartment. It was clean and had lots of workers and everything finally looked okay. (Nothing was "good enough" for you, of course, but this was okay.) And it wasn't too expensive. It was do-able.

    But taking you to day care every day broke my heart. I cried a lot the first few weeks. We had to drop you off very early so your mom could get to work on time. Then I had to get to my classes or the library or the church where I worked part time as youth pastor. You ate breakfast at the day care center.

    I'll never forget the morning we dropped you off and you ran down the hallway in front of a sign that said "No Running" singing loudly "No running in the hallway; no running in the hallway!" Through my tears I couldn't help laughing. I could tell you felt at home there.

    One day I came to pick you up early--as I sometimes did to take you to a park to play before we went to pick up your mom from work. You were taking a nap on a cot in a darkened room full of children. As I tip-toed in the worker put her finger to her lips telling me to be very quiet. I crept over to your cot and tapped you. You looked up at me and shouted "Daddy!" My heart warmed.

    I completely understand--on the emotional level--what you are feeling about putting Ariam in day care. But it will be okay. You actually benefited from it (I think). You learned a lot and socialized a lot. The only thing you really hated was your teacher flicking you on the head when you were being naughty.

    This is a stage of child raising in our society. It would be nice to be together all the time. Well, maybe not...! :) Remember you and your mom in Germany! Well, that's another story. I'm sure Ariam will settle in nicely and do well and soon you'll value the time alone. It's going to be okay. But the hurt in your heart is also something to treasure. Thanks for sharing. It brought back a flood of feelings from long ago--about you!

  14. PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS daddy! You obviously come from good stock, girl!!


About Me

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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.