Author Unknown

Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid God might ask me the same question.

Mother Teresa

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."


Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Stocking" up for next year :)

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Now...we just have to figure out what names to put on the two new ones!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Christmas present ever!!

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Since we have received our referrals, I am amazed at the generosity and love that people have shown for us and our two little ones in Ethiopia!! I have to brag about a special gift because it was so overwhelming and came from such big hearts. I was told to hold it to Christmas, but I was about to burst at the seams trying to keep this secret!

I was talking to some co-workers the other day and they asked if my thirteen year old daughter would be able to go to Ethiopia with us. I told them she has been begging to go. She wants to give them hugs and kisses so bad and would love to be there on the trip home. But, money has been pretty tight lately and we didn't think we could swing another ticket.

A few hours later, my two bosses asked me into their office. They said they had a special gift for Adrian. It was a certificate for one round trip ticket to Ethiopia!!! I tried not to cry, but I knew how much this would mean to her. This is such an overwhelming gift and I hope they can see how much this means to our family. Thank you SOOOOOO much!

Here is a video of her opening the present. I didn't get it all...she spent a long time afterwards asking a million questions. Mainly, she couldn't believe they would give her such an incredible present...to meet her brother and sister and be able to experience their homeland. I hope she remembers every minute of it and will be able to tell them stories over and over.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our Referrals!!!

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As I look back over my blog, I realize it has been five weeks since I posted last. I admit that I was going through some adoption depression. On the baby girl list, we had taken one step forward and one step back. Basically, we were in the same spot for nine months. I was really started to get scared that something was wrong and our dream of adopting was fluttering away....

And then IT happened!!!! I absolutely cannot express this HUGE swelling in my heart and the uncontrollable crying and laughing and smiling. How in the world can somebody fall in love with two pictures and be this madly in love with them??

It was a Wednesday when we received the call. This is our busy season at work, so we were trying to keep up with the CRAZINESS. My phone rang, and the world STOPPED. It really felt like everything went to slow motion and things that were top priority two minutes ago had slipped out of my mind. My new coordinator said, "Are you ready for your referral?" I shakily stood up and found my way out of our high security office. I went up the stairwell to a hall where we could have a little more privacy. Honestly, I remember hearing her name and how old she was. After that, it was all pretty much a blur. I was shaking, trying not to cry, pacing up and down the hall, and trying to pay attention. It was finally happening!!

I do remember asking her if we can now see the file of one of the waiting boys. I have been begging for quite some time. There was one in particular that had caught my eye and I really wanted to learn more about him. He has the sweetest smile and playful eyes. I have been adoring him for many months and dreaming of wrapping my arms around him. I had fallen in love with his picture, and it was almost a done deal even before we saw his file :)

She said she would send me the files of both the three month old baby girl and the four year old boy! I ran back downstairs to my computer and waited....and waited. Something was wrong with my e-mail and I didn't receive all the files. Baby girl's file would not come through and that had to be the longest thirty minutes ever!! I realized IAN would be closing soon and panic took over!! I had to see her picture and couldn't wait another day! I e-mailed, and I called and I e-mailed again. I was desperate. My coordinator stayed late and made sure I received the file. Oh!! She is precious!!! I can't get over how perfect she is. Beautiful eyes, angelic smile, and the cutest little lips. It was amazing how you just know. You know that you just saw the picture of two kids that will be part of your life forever.

I know these children are on another continent and probably don't even know we exist yet. They have no idea the love that is waiting for them from our family and friends. I am already amazed at the generosity of people that want to help us get these kids home. Again, thank you to all the people that have travelled this journey with us so far. It has been a long wait, but totally worth it!! Next step - get a court date.

Until then...I can't get this smile off my face :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Moving up

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Up to #18 on the sibling list!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More good news

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#4 Toddler Boy









#19 Siblings





...and still #3 baby girl :)

And we have some more good news posted by our agency. They are making arrangements to work with three more orphanages by the end of the year! We are not sure how this will effect the number of referrals yet, but they are hoping to speed up the lists - especially the baby lists. We'll keep you posted...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Love Halloween!!

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The Chipmunks - Alvin, Simon and Theodore
Every year we dress the boys up together. We're wondering how long they'll let us get away with this...fifteen?


This picture cracks me up!


Office Halloween Party 2010. These people get serious :)


This is my costume - Charlie Brown. Won second place!! I have to admit, I kept smiling under the mask every time somebody took my picture...like anybody could see it..derr..

Hopefully next year we'll have a pretty princess to show pictures of!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Catching up

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#5 Toddler Boy









#20 Siblings



Oh! Toddler boy is catching up to baby girl! Actually, the person who accepted the referral today for toddler boy was #5. Hmmm...not sure what that is all about...maybe we'll start to hear something soon. We are still undecided if we should adopt one or two children. Some days I feel like we can conquer the world and others...well, raising the two we already have can be rough. Especially while potty training :) Still praying about our future decisions.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

#21 on sibling list

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Addendum

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Here it is! We received our home study addendum and we are mailing it off to our agency and USCIS. This will allow us to adopt two children, either gender, up to age 10.

At our agency, we have a waiting list of children that are older and are waiting for a family. It was wonderful to see several of the boys disappear this week as families decided to adopt them. Congratulations to all of them!

Right now, we need to get to the top of the baby girl list before we are allowed to look at any older child's file. We are hoping for a boy, preferrably between the ages of 4-6. So many have been adopted lately, sometimes I wonder if there will be any available when it is our turn. I finally decided to leave it in the Lord's hands. If He wants us to adopt two children, He will put all the pieces together at the right time. I'm sure the Lord knows if we can handle two more children or if we are getting in over our heads. When we finally have all the pieces, I hope the decision will be easy to make and we'll be content.

I haven't heard anything about wait list movement. It has been a couple of slow months with referrals. I'm hoping things will speed up and these lists start jumping!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

80's skating party

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We went to a 80's birthday party and it was awesome!

Adrian just wanted to wear this costume so she could walk around and say "Yo, Adrienne!"

This was Cole's first time to ever skate. He thought it was funny to fall down when he saw anybody else do it.

What a great big sister.

Look at my 2-year old skate! This was right before he decided that jumping in skates is much more exciting. His new favorite song is the Hokey Pokey.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And again

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.


#6 Toddler boy







#22 Siblings

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Moving up

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We moved up today on two of our wait lists. I love being on more than one list now :)




# 7 Toddler Boy










#23 Siblings

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Camping Trip!

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Last weekend we took a break from the crazy life and went camping with some friends at Mineral Wells State Park.

We rented a row boat and took Cole for his first trip on the water. I think the hinges were messed up, so the boat only went about two inches a minute. He loved it anyway :)
This is Cole and his buddy. Don't be fooled by the pink chairs. These boys are expert campers. This is our friend who will be having a baby girl in November. What a trouper to go camping at 7 months pregnant!


This is her husband. We've been camping with this family for many years. Can't wait to see what it is like when we both have more kids than we can count :)


Cole loves wearing daddy's hats.


Does that boy look happy, or what??


One of the few picture without his tongue sticking out!! I need to frame this one :)



Cole truly was a happy camper. Well, until we started taking the tent down. BIG crocodile tears starting falling and all he could say was "oh no, the tent!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

O Happy Day!!

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It finally happened!!! After almost seven months, we have moved up to #3 today on the baby girl wait list! And to celebrate, all my friends got together at the local stadium and made this picture for me :) Just Joking, but it feels that exciting!

It was my good friend, Heather that received the referral for a four month baby girl. I'm so happy for her!! I hope it moves very quickly so she can bring that sweet baby home.

Getting closer....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Twenty more toes??

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Mike and I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and are starting to realize we would love to adopt TWO children from Ethiopia!! I have been staring at the waiting child list for so long and keep falling in love with so many of them. I asked my husband if this could be a possibility and he said we should go for it if timing and money works out. In fact, he was always wanting to adopt two children. I was the one that needed time to grow and think about this possibility.

This is only possible because of the wonderful IAN families!!! I was so scared in the beginning to adopt anything except a baby. After reading blogs for a year and being a part of the wonderful Yahoo group with our agency, it doesn't look too scary. So, to all of you wonderful people that have adopted older children...you know who you are...THANK YOU!!! Amy, Dardi, Jen, Sharon, Jenni...there have been so many! You have been so honest with the good and the tough times with these children. I know there will be hard times and I should take my rose-colored adoption glasses off. But I also see all the wonderful "firsts" you have had with your children. They look so happy and it is amazing their personality changes from the first referral pictures that are posted. And everybody says "I couldn't imagine my life without this child." Your families have been wonderful examples!

So, I don't know what the future holds for us. Timing will play a big part in adopting two children at once. We might only adopt a girl, but would like to keep our options open for two. So, we are updating our home study and are adding ourselves to two more wait lists...

Announcing...



# 4 baby girl







# 24 siblings (ages 0-5, youngest a girl)




# 8 toddler boy (preferably older)





And, of course, we will always keep a close eye on the waiting child list :) I'm not sure what the future holds for our family, but we are very excited about the new possibilities!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Learning Amharic

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One year ago, I had never heard of the Ethiopian national language, Amharic. I would have thought you stuttered and meant Arabic or something.


Today, I ordered this CD from ebay to start learning some simple phrases and words. Since the first trip will be with my husband, I'm not even worried about getting around town. My world travelling Marine has that confidence to navigate any country. On the second trip, it might be just me or me and a friend. I would love to learn simple phrases like "where is the bathroom and can I get a taxi?"

There are several Amharic courses out there to learn from. I chose this one because I can listen to it while I drive to work every day. I couldn't find any reviews, so I'm hoping it will be easy to mimic and learn. There are several others, like Talk Now, that are CD-ROM format for the computer.

Here is another course by Amy Kendall especially for adoptive families. This would be a great resource for those adopting older children or kids from the wait list. It can be found on Amazon between $25 and $30. Be sure to buy a new one because the used ones are ridiculously priced :) It teaches very useful phrases like:

I am your Mommy
I am your Daddy.
You are going to live with us.
I will take good care of you.

I am also hoping one day my Ethiopian children would like to listen and learn some Amharic. I will keep this CD and maybe I can pass it on to them to understand their heritage.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Half a year

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Today is six months at #4 on the baby girl wait list. There hasn't been a baby girl referral in half a year.

Am I worried? Yeah, I am a little. I know there have been TONS of referrals lately for other ages/gender. Twin and triplet baby girls have found their forever family. So, it's just a matter of odds. Which gives me hope that this crazy streak can't go on much longer. Right? To all my fellow friends out there on the top of the baby girl wait list who haven't moved in six months - go eat some chocolate! It will happen!

Patience
“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” Barbara Johnson

“Patience, n. A minor form of dispair, disguised as a virtue.” Ambrose Bierce

Monday, August 30, 2010

I've been shot!

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...and I survived! This must mean true love for my future child to think I voluntarily have had six vaccinations now for our future trips!!

I know, everybody hates shots. But, I've had a traumatic experience in high school and I always wonder if it will happen again. We were only pricking our finger to test our blood type in Science class. I remember the needle poking my finger and one drop of blood came out. Next thing I know, I woke up on the floor. One student was heckling me because she thought I was faking it. It was so embarrassing and I was sore because I fell backwards on a chair. So, that would explain why I broke into a cold sweat when the lady called to confirm my shot appointment :)


The cheapest place I found to have shots is the county health clinic. Ours was located in a city hall and was super fancy. She prints out all the information on Addis Ababa and reviews it with you. You can decide which ones you feel comfortable getting. We chose:

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Meningitis
Polio
Typhoid
(already had Tetanus)

and if we travel outside the capital of Ethiopia, we will be going back for:
Yellow Fever
Malaria

If you are thinking about which shots you might get for your trip, remember the Hep A and B are a series of shots and require about 6 months to be complete.

Also, ask your health insurance if they will pay for any of these. When I inquired about "travel shots" they immediately said no. When I called back and asked specifically about Hep A and B, they agreed to pay for that.

The lady at the clinic explained to me "I would not feel like going to Six Flags today" after all those shots. And it was true, I was very tired for two days and ran a fever off and on.

So, now that's done...I'm ready for my referral :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This and that

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Things are very exciting at our agency lately because there have been a TON of referrals! Congratulations to all the happy families out there :) Weird part is, there still hasn't been one baby girl in almost 6 months. Craziness. The courts are closed now until late September and there is already a big back-up of cases through December. A big part of me is ok with not getting a referral right now until the courts start moving at a regular pace again.


We have also made a big decision to buy a different house. We love this area, but a little bit bigger house with an extra bedroom for baby would be really nice. We started looking at foreclosures and you would be shocked what great deals are out there! Some are almost twice as big as our house for the same price. We would really like to rent our house out as #2 in Mike's plan to collect rental property. That means we have officially pulled out the paint brush and will be fixin it up over the next several months. We are trying to wait until after our embassy apointment so it doesn't slow anything down with the adoption.



Mike has decided to change professions and become a police officer. He took the physical exam and a written exam this Saturday and passed both!! He has several more tests and interviews...I'll keep you posted. I've always wanted a man in uniform :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

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"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

unknown (Anon?)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sprinkler Fun

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

150 days

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at #4 on the baby girl list. Who woulda thunk?



We are still hanging on and know it will happen for us some day. If we hit 200 days, you might find me in a padded room and wearing a straight jacket :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Random Pics

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Company picnic at the Lake

Sack races - I think I came in second

Best way to get cool is to give your 2-year old a squirt bottle

Favorite cat in the world - Reese

This is monkey. Cole used to call him "daddy." Coincidence???
Love those blue eyes.
adorable...or creepy, I can't decide