Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Every once in a while, I am reminded how much our little guy has endured with this transition and all in such a short time. It's the simplest things that we take for granted...

Everyday we check our teeth and remark upon their whiteness. Brushing our teeth is not a new thing, but doing it so often, is.

The other day he says, "In Etopia, I never see my teeth white."
"You didn't have white teeth?"
He responds, "I don't know...I never see."
Hmmm...."You had never seen your teeth in Ethiopia?"
"No, mom. I never see."
How is that, I wonder? "Do you mean you have never seen your face before?"
"No, Mom! I see my face," he laughs.
"Okay. Why haven't you ever seen your teeth then? I don't understand."
"I come to America and I see my teeth everyday. My teeth white!"
Now, I am confused.
"So, you saw your face, but never looked at your teeth?"
"Look, see. I see my face. I see my face in window." I am speechless.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Three Months, Really?

I cannot believe Eli has been with us for over three months! We feel as though he has always been with our family. Have our lives changed so drastically? I would say "no". He has brought his intelligence and energy to our house...and keeps us moving! Just a little update...

He came running in the house one day trying to explain a favorite toy in Ethiopia. I tried to find something like it online, but had no success. My husband came home and understood exactly what he wanted! This is the same day I decided to give him the "letter". After reading this sad, but sweet letter from his mom, he wiped his tears when his dad produced this toy! Any other kids recognize this??

Soccer came to an end with 18 goals scored in 6 games! Wow! He was fun to watch! He made some very nice friends and had a blast with some awesome coaches. A great way to be introduced to soccer in America!

Lauren performed the fall play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with a special appearance by one little brother, Eli. I don't know how I let them talk me into this. I prefer to watch and not be backstage, but this took a little supervision. Eli played the part of the Queen fairy's "adopted" boy. He did awesome and stayed right in character! Theatre could be in his future??

Things haven't been all that smooth. This last weekend we spent 24 hours in the hospital with Eli. With all the activity, we tried to fit in a little ice skating. Eli has fairly mastered street hockey and is pretty confident on skates. We decided to take this to the rink and what should have been a casual day skating in circles, turned into craziness! He fell(hard!)on the ice, smacking the side of his face and head. We ended up in the emergency room after an ambulance ride. This is devastating to me. I am a seasoned parent that has never had an incident with my kids. The thought that a little boy can survive 9 years in a disease-ridden, poverty stricken country, where he tells us children are crippled falling off cliffs and large meat-eating birds circle overhead looking for a meal, can come to a suburb in Minnesota, participate in a little ice skating and end up in the hospital! I guess I learned this...wear a helmet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Welcome back to motherhood.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Letter From Birth Mom...

I have always been puzzled by adoptive moms feeling hurt by the fact that there is a birth mom still wanting contact with their own child...until now. As you know, Eli has a mother who is ill and could not care for him, nor offer him a future. A few weeks ago, Eli announced that he plans to someday go home to Ethiopia and see his mom. He would like to work hard to buy her a house. I felt a twinge of hurt that he wanted to leave, and maybe a bit of surprise because I thought he understood that she wouldn't be there. However, my heart melted at the idea that he wanted to do such a thing and still loved his mom and wasn't angry with her.

Yesterday, I found out that there is a letter on its way from Ethiopia from his mom. Again, I have this feeling of uncertainty. At the beginning, I felt like this would be a beautiful thing. Now, I am apprehensive. What is the letter about? Will it be a positive thing, or bring about sadness? We have made leaps and bounds in the almost 3months he has been with us, and I want to continue moving forward. On the other hand, as his birth mom, I would worry if he would ever receive this letter, wonder if he is forgetting me or even hates me. I know from a mother's standpoint that giving her only child up was a difficult and devastating choice. I feel like my role is to finish the upbringing of this little boy and give him the chance he deserves.

I hope that this letter will give him strength to move forward and reinforce that his mother loves him and supports him in this new life. For me, I have to remind myself that he spent 9 years learning from this amazing woman. He is an energetic, brave and happy little boy with an "infectious" smile and such a blessing to our family...and it's all a credit to her! I pray this letter will comfort him.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back To School and Other Things...

It has been busy since the first day of school. Eli started 4th grade and he loves his teacher! She tells us that the kids fight over who will be his science partner! They started him in a lower math and the specialist brought him right back to class saying he will do fine with his classmates. He is loving playing football at recess, painting, computers, bringing a home lunch and riding his bike every day to school!

I had back surgery and have had some recuperation time. Thank goodness my parents flew in from California to pick up the slack! Thanks, mom and dad! At the same time, they got to meet their third grandchild! Eli impressed them with his winning smile and engaging personality...and...wore them out!! He is a bundle of energy and loves to do EVERYTHING!! He is lovin' school and his first days.

Soccer started and he had a successful first game with 5 goals and one assist. We won 9-1!! He has a team full of athletic little guys that he is becoming buddies with. Everyone has been so accepting and one of the coaches took him to a college game, which he loved! We so enjoyed watching him on the field with his tricks, while stylin' with his colorful Ethiopian headband! This first day, he and a teammate were the team captains!

I think we are doing so great! He finally eats and loves pizza. It was one of those obstacles he was determined to overcome. He loved the word "pizza" and saw that every other child in America loves this food, especially his big brother! He kept trying to eat pizza till he could say, "I love pizza!"

He would like to learn a musical instrument. My good friend gave him a harmonica and he loves that! He will do anything!

Many more of Eli's buddies are home from Ethiopia...and just before the court closures. He has been on the phone welcoming some of them to America and we wish them all well in the transition of their new homes and families. I couldn't ask for a better start to the school year. Our oldest is looking at a career as an officer in the AF, following in his father's footsteps. Lauren has begun her senior year and is now applying to colleges. We are thankful for our many blessings and look forward to this new school year!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I think I see how Eli sees our world...busy and fast-paced, on the go all the time. He asked me if all of America only talks about food and money? I said, "no. I don't think so, why?" He pointed to the radio where a financial planning commercial was playing, right into a food ad, back into a "make more money!" ad, returning to a "eat this and save money" ad...oh, boy. I turned to my favorite Christian station.

We find ourselves apologizing for the way we do things all the time. Yet, we are proud of our country and feel blessed to live here. I describe living with Eli like know how you always say "well, when we were kids, we were more respectful and obedient, thrifty, not wasteful and way more considerate...and, with not the conveniences or technology. That's the world he is from. There is no explaining a punishment or over-praising of accomplishments. There is no baby-ing, coddling or passivity. This child understands and respects authority, discipline and hard-work.

We turned a milestone in the past couple of weeks. The honeymoon was over...for both of us...and reality set in. Mom and dad mean what we say and there is no room for argument...just like the good ole' days. And guess what? He gets it. Now, we are a family! During the adoption process, one AGCI family said to me, "parent like you did your own." Even with an adopted child, we learned that kids are kids and some behaviors across the world are equally unacceptable. It was great advice for this transition period.

We love this little boy, who keeps us running and is so full of wide-eyed excitement. We took him to the Minnesota State Fair this week, where we thought the abundance of food would be a turn-off to him, but it turned out to be women smoking cigarettes...everywhere! He tried deep fried cheese curds and had his first sno-cone. He rode the giant slide and won a basketball at the basketball throw! This typically winds down a Minnesota summer for us. Very soon, we will be bundled up for cold fall nights and football!

We are nearing two months home in just 4 more days! It's so hard to believe all we have taken in and how much he has learned in that amount of time. Fall soccer is underway and he is loving it! He now understands most everything we say and is able to communicate in sentences of three to four words. He knows colors, shapes, his full name and various vocabulary words.

Finally, yes. Eli will start school September 8th in the 4th grade and is both excited and apprehensive. Grandma and Grandpa, from California, will visit this weekend and meet Eli for the first time, and be here for the first day of school! It was a tough decision, but he is very social and needs to start making friends. We pray that all goes well!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Favorite Thing In America...

Eli says that the thing he loves most about America is (drum roll)...the FOOD! Can you believe it?! He ranks among his favorites:

1. Hamburgers!(let's not forget he hated these at first)
2. Fish (actually, it was a tortilla crusted tilapia from Schwans)
3. Peanut Butter and Jelly (good ole' PB&J!)
4. Indian Food (we do this a lot)
5. Tortillas (or, American injera, as we call it)

Today at Open Gym, he added to his list, a perfect back-flip on the tramp and a front handspring on the floor!

We had a lovely "Welcome" shower from our dear friends. We are very blessed. The story of adoption always brings tears. I love our friends who are so sweet and supportive of this little boy. We wanted to take a trip to California to meet grandma and grandpa, but its too early. I also need back surgery so I can keep up with this active little guy. It looks like grandma and grandpa may be coming here instead to meet our guy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

3 month Post Adoption review

Well, it's actually only been one month today that we have been home! Yet, the 3-month from court date is due and our social worker is on her way.

It feels a bit longer that we have been home with Eli. It feels like he has always been in our family! Dave and I are amazed at how he fits in and how he is adjusting. He is a smart, sensitive, respectful and obedient young man. He has come up with two full sentences this week and completely trusts us in everything. He helped Dave reconstruct the deck with great ability using a chisel and hammer. He cleaned his brother's land mine of a room. He taught himself how to skate board in ten minutes (maybe less)...

It's not all perfect...he tattles on everything his sister does, and is becoming addicted to the PS2. He has a tendency to pout when asked to get off the gaming station and do something else.

So far, it's not like anything we haven't already been through (except for Lauren, perhaps). He couldn't be luckier to have a more patient and kind big sis, but right now it's all about getting in good with big brother, I think.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Week In Review...

We started our week with a little drama at drama camp. Eli was overwhelmed by the chaos and craziness of kids "improvising" at Lauren's drama camp. He said,(at least this was my interpretation)in Ethiopia, kids are obedient in class and the teachers have control. He left crying and frustrated. Later, we visited the dentist and had a wonderful check-up, with only one cavity and new pearly whites!

I learned that in Ethiopia, the bottles we recycle are washed and re-sold on the streets.

We shouldn't throw away anything! Especially an old broken toy!

Christmas is celebrated and Eli is happy that we celebrate it too! (by the way, he had an "artificial" tree, because real ones are "dirty").

In Ethiopia, he had a small dog named "Buchi".

His goal is to learn the "splits" like Jackie Chan.

On Wednesday, we cooked Ethiopian pasta made with "berebere". Wow! Was that hot!

On Thursday, we went to a Minnesota Saints baseball game! He LOVED it! He laughed at all the funny games that are put on between innings.

He ADORES his big brother, who won a baseball at the Saint's game and came home and gave it to him! Biggest, widest smile...ever!

He now loves McDonald's Hamburgers and still hates pizza...but eats everything else!

He learned how to count money and counted an entire jar of coins in various increments of a dollar to a grand total of $64.59! He kept calling it "diamonds" like it was so valuable...which it is, only that we seem to forget.

Last night, through much persistence, we gave in and took him to open gym at the nearby gymnastics center. We were amazed at how he jumped in and learned a front flip!

Saddest thing: He saw the neighbor kids with some friends over, and although he plays with them all the time, he said " friends." I'm sure it feels that way, but wow! we have not been home quite a month and have we made some strides! We couldn't be more proud of him! Soon enough...he will have plenty of friends.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Things I Have Learned So Far...

Here's a link to purchase this adorable "kiddie" DVD that my 9-yr-old loves!

There is a demo and is subtitled in English!

Next, don't be surprised if your older child has seen some American films that may not have been sensored. We have seen "Van Damme" (we never have seen it ourselves) and many Jackie Chan movies. He learned a few key phrases like "Oh, #@$&! from some of those fine American films, so therefore thinks it is ok.

Food likes: scrambled eggs, fried egg (fully cooked) on toast (to make a sandwich), any steak cut up like you see in Ethiopia (called "tibs"), milk, chocolate, kid's cereal (like Cocoa Puffs), peanut butter, any chicken (called "doro"), Sprite and Coke (they know very well), pork (if you don't tell them), fish...

Karate is a favorite for kids in Ethiopia, besides soccer. Some may even be proficient on the Playstation (which sounded like "police station" the first time I heard it). I believe our guy has played the PS2 soccer game more than our son has! He whipped him!

Riding a bike is a dream. Counting how many televisions and the size of them, a fascination and negotiating bedtime is like every other child. I tried this one the other day..."when you sleep, you get very your brother!" It kinda worked. He then asked if he slept and got tall, if that meant he could drive...ha,ha.

Good luck! I will keep passing on the info...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sharing the World...

Our two boys...sharing the blessed we are!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

One Step At A Time...

Is "cocooning" possible for 9-year-old active boys? I don't think so. We slowed down a ton, but are still going and making huge strides...this last weekend we traveled to Wisconsin to visit and meet grandma and grandpa. They loved him! While there, he swam in the lake, went fishing, tried wakeboarding and ate everything grandma made!

Last week, we had our appointment at the adoption clinic at the university. They drew 6 vials of blood to test for everything! Poor Eli. Afterwards he got a headache and felt sick in the car. It's no wonder! I said, "wow, that's a lot of blood from a little guy!" The nurse responded, "oh, he has quarts and quarts." Really? I feel weird after only 2 vials! Who are these people!?

The other night Eli called one of his friends who now lives in California. They talked and laughed for 45 minutes! It was so cute to see him share all of his news, eventhough I understood very little. Afterwards, he shared as much about the conversation as he could. I am becoming expert in the field of charades and mixed Amharic/English. Through this conversation I learned that his friend loves her new BIG house, does not like American food, has taught her sisters to say "I love you" in Amharic, fell off a bike over and over, is taking karate lessons, loves her new family and is happy in America! Pretty good, huh?

Yesterday, I bought him a watch. He seemed to be able to be close to telling time and was always asking me about time and timeframe. Today, he tells time beautifully! Really. TODAY. We went to the Mall of America for the first time and he reported the time about every hour! (he also went on the Ghostbusters ride...)

He asked about American hamburgers and I reminded him that we already tried a Mickey D's. I reminded him also that he looked at the meat and said "no meat. Ethiopia (pronounced "Etopia") no meat!" Whatever that means...this guy can put away a whole steak! He laughed and said " hamburger!" So, at the MOA, we bought him another Happy Meal and he devoured it! Now, we just have to eat some pizza!

Eli also shares that in "Etopia" they eat a lot of "findisha" or popcorn. So, we took him to see the movie "Up!" and shared a large bucket of popcorn, which I think he ate most of...and LOVED it! It was better than the movie!

Cocooning? What's that?

Lastly, here's something interesting...people are always asking about his mom in Ethiopia...who is dying...people want to know how he feels about it, how sick is she, will they stay in touch, will we know when she dies, how does he feel about me as his mom...etc. Well, I don't know the answers to most of those questions, but he now refers to his mom as his "Etopia mom". Which I believe, makes me his "American mom" and that is okay by me. Just as long as he obeys when I say, "stop stalling and go to sleep."


Just a cool pic

Meeting Grandma and Grandpa

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Food Thing...

Everyone keeps asking how the food thing is going. I mentioned that pizza was not a huge hit, but neither are hamburgers. He looked at the meat and said "no meat. Ethiopia no meat." Yet, he eats meat all the time! I think it was the formed patty meat that looked a little weird. He has eaten sausage, bacon, steak, chicken, salmon, ground beef, hot dogs...

He polished off his mongolian BBQ stir-fry dish. We added curry and lots of garlic. He has eaten everything I have made except Japanese food. He loves grilled meats with onions, garlic and peppers, but then that is similiar to "tibs" in Ethiopia. He jokingly looked at a package of tortillas in the store and said, "injera". I said. "yes! American injera!" ha,ha...but then I served it for lunch with beans and rolled up the tortillas like injera and we all ate it together calling it injera. He laughed and polished that off too!

We have heard the kids love eggs. He eats scrambled eggs almost every morning, following a bowl of Reeses Puffs. He also loves anything pasta. As far as fast food goes, the only thing we have had success on is Chipotle steak tacos and a Pot Belly meatball sub. I think we are doing pretty good!

My rule of thumb for cooking is lots of garlic, onions and red pepper flakes or hot sauce! It works for us!

Today, we baked blueberry muffins and he told me that he and the other older kids at
HH baked banana bread at Almaz' house! That Almaz! What an amazing woman! As if she isn't already running a children's home.

Are we having fun yet? Uh, yea! We sure are!! I LOVE this boy! (well, he may have done my dishes tonight too..)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Teaching new tricks...

Before meeting Eli, my description to others went like this: He may not know how to tie his shoes, use a fork, flush a toilet, use a lightswitch...he may not be used to the noise of traffic, ride in a car, eat our food, watching television, sleeping alone...we may also have to teach him his ABC's and 123"s...

Here's the truth...
~he already knew... how to tie his shoes
~do a cartwheel
~a handstand, better yet, a headstand
~write in English about mountains and valleys in Social Studies class
~multiplication and division
~Michael Jackson
~to read the word "pharmacy" on the Walgreens sign
~that the dancers on "Thriller" were wearing masks
~his left and his right
~that he would probably never eat injera(Ethiopia bread staple)again and was ok with it!
~how to blow bird sounds through his fists
~brush his teeth
~play a better game than tic,tac,toe
~eat with a fork and cut with a knife!
~take care of a baby
~many, many soccer juggling?
~put a match out in his mouth!
~sleep alone and through the night
~makes his bed...every day
~folds his clothes
~loads my groceries on and off the cart
~helps me not to lose at Old Maid...ME!

Things we have been able to teach him...

~ride a bike
~put the toilet seat up
~work the remote control?

Still trying to earn some parenting stripes...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Counting Our Blessings

We had another good day today! We all went to support daddy in the LifeTime Fitness Triathalon where he finished the Olympic distance in 2hrs, 39min! See? I told him he was still young enough to adopt! It was fun to take Eli to cheer him on since he is so obsessed with biking! Dave would love to have a fellow Tri partner! He sat on his big brother's shoulders and cheered with his "Go Daddy!" sign.

He played air hockey for the first time with a friend, and loved it! He pretty much loves everything. We are being careful about making sure he sleeps enough so he doesn't get overtired. Lauren came down with a fever, so the next thing will be to keep him healthy. It'll be a challenge since he keeps running in her room to give her hugs. I keep trying to explain that she is sick. This communication thing needs to go a bit faster!

We also found out that although he seems to like most foods, he doesn't like pizza. Dave and I introduce foods by putting them in front of him and trying not to make eye contact. It seems he looks at us to decide if he should eat it. If we look at him, he says no. If we don't look at him, he smells it, nibbles it and usually eats it. A friend asked how different we feel with this new addition. I don't know that our lives have drastically changed really. We are just way more entertained!

Friday, July 10, 2009

One Week Home!

Riding on a Motorcycle

Watching TV

Riding a Bike

Playing on the Computer

Loving Being in America!

I can't believe we have been home one week today! After a meltdown and a 17-hour sleep marathon, we are much happier! Yesterday, I contacted one of our traveling companions so that he could chat with their new older child. She was also having a bad day so maybe it was good timing. On our end, he left the conversation with a huge smile and was chatty all day (although we didn't understand him).

We are finding inventive ways to communicate. He picked out a new red shirt and asked "shirt tomorrow?" so that he could wear it again. I understood that! My son had sprayed a little cologne on his shirt before we took Lauren out for her birthday. I think he wanted to smell it for another day. We went to Mongolian BBQ and he got to bang on the gong with a tip! He laughed at that. I made his food a bit spicy and added some curry. He polished it off and went back for seconds. The food part hasn't been too challenging. I have had a back-up of injera and wat on days when he doesn't like what we have. For the most part, if I cook meats with garlic and onions, he eats it. We love stuff like that too!

Today, he went with daddy to check out bikes at the triathalon expo in downtown Minneapolis. Dave has a race tomorrow and Eli is going to love it! He is so fascinated with bikes and helmets (and he wears riding gloves). His other new addiction is Tom and Jerry cartoons. We found a classic collection and now everyone is addicted!

Eventhough he is nearly 10 years old, I found that an occasional nap does wonders for his attitude! I wonder if there was "rest time" at HH? Thanks to all our fellow bloggers that post pics. It was great therapy to look at those yesterday where he could see some of his friends happy and thriving. I also showed him pictures of families waiting to pick up his best buddies at HH.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Little Bump...

We have had 4 glorious days of smiles, hugs and kisses. We worried it was too good to be true. Today, we hit a wall. When they recommend "cocooning", they might actually mean it. I have never had a child who had a full-out tantrum. Unfortunately, his big sister got the best of it. (we were birthday shopping) We have done nothing but meet people, run errands, play, play, play, meet more people; visitors and going places...and more play. We still struggled with our sleep and jet lag, but he seemed fine. I guess not. After a huge display of kicking and screaming, he passed out for a 5-hour nap! Wow! He woke for a couple of hours, had a bath and then went to bed for the night. Tomorrow will be a better day...

Tomorrow, Lauren will be 17! Happy Birthday, sweetheart! It's been quite the birthday week!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our Days in Ethiopia

After three days, we are recuperating well. We flew home with Julie and I kept reminding myself that she was there for a month! We managed to stay healthy and never got sick. Maybe just a little...when we were all crammed in a bus for the hour long trek to the embassy appointment while smelling the diesel from the many vehicles on the road! I can't believe we are back and the long wait is over.

We took lots of pics, but many of which are of the children, which we can't post. Here are a few from the hotel and at HH...

Here is Lauren with her new baby brother, Elias Bereket "Eli"

This is our first meeting with Elias. He looks a little uncertain...

Oh, you've seen these guys before...they are as important to some of these little guys as the special moms are.

Eli with Almaz. She is one incredible woman! I can't imagine doing all that she does at HH and for the families.

We brought some punching balloons for the kids. They LOVED them!

Lauren with Eli in the hotel. This is the toy we sent in his care package back in April!

This is Danny the "guide". Lauren wanted to bring him home too.

Great to be with our little man finally!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


We are back! Home yesterday at 3pm after over 40 hours of being awake and traveling. I am surprised I'm still standing!

Hannah's Hope was truly an experience, as was Ethiopia...but in a hugely different way. We will probably never see that kind of poverty and suffering again, unless we continue to travel to third world countries. Outside of the gates of Hannah's Hope, there is a world of sadness, but inside, there is utopia and heaven on earth. The children at Hannah's Hope are blessed to have made it to this transition point where the next step is a forever family. My only hope is that we can offer the same level of love, acceptance and nurturing that our man received at this amazing place.

Bereket found us at HH and recognized us from our photo album. It was so sweet. He first found Lauren as she was filming another family's first meeting with their new baby. She felt a little tug on her jacket and looked down into the eyes of her new little brother and a warm smile of hello. She was in love! We were called in and here he stood holding her hand with a beautiful smile of welcome. I will never forget it.

I am actually able to post as Bereket now sits with his daddy watching Spiderman on this quiet fourth of July morning. He slept peacefully through the night and had a full breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage and a pop tart! He loves hot tea, so I brought home two boxes and we shared some Ethiopian tea with honey this morning. If you are traveling soon, the little boy "Danny" that hangs ouside of the Union Apartments Hotel is an amazing resource. He can take you anywhere and run errands. I gave him 50 birr (a little less than 5 bucks) to find me two boxes of Addis Tea and he came back in ten minutes with it. He told me it cost him 9 birr, less than 90 cents for two boxes! I was so amazed and told him to keep the change! You should have seen his face! He just got tipped almost $5 for running an errand! Then, I worried he would get mugged crossing the street back to his home...but he made it. You will LOVE this kid! His english is pretty good too!

Speaking of English, Bereket (who now wants to be called Eli), is writing in English at about a 3rd to 4th grade level, although probably doesn't understand it. He can read English pretty well too, like maybe first to 2nd grade? He does multiplication and division, and can draw like an artist! I believe in his language he is easily in 4th grade. He plays soccer like a pro, and showed us his hand stand, push-ups, cartwheel, and how he puts out a lit match with his mouth!! Whoa!!! Wasn't expecting that trick!

So far, we are doing well and loving having a little one around...keeping us young! We are waiting for the shoe to drop, but maybe shouldn't. He is respectuful, kind, energetic, happy, smart and so affectionate. He constantly holds our hands and gives us hugs and kisses. He loved on all the babies at HH and we constantly heard them calling his name to be picked up! We are enjoying him after a week and he says he is very happy. I am so relieved. I will post some pics later with more updates.

For now, Happy 4th of July! We can now celebrate our new citizen of the U.S.!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Traveling Tomorrow!

Anxiously awaiting! We leave Minneapolis at 3pm tomorrow and will arrive in Addis on Saturday at 9pm! I am not looking forward to the long plane ride with my sciatica, but hopefully I can do some pacing up and down the aisles.

I have checked and re-checked the bags, making sure we have everything. I have more snacks than clothing and lots of treats for the street kids, as well as those at HH. We are looking forward to hugging those babies whose families have asked us to find. Lauren is hoping to be put to work feeding babies, braiding hair and playing soccer at HH. We are sorry our son cannot join us for this trip because of work and school. We will miss you, honey!

Thanks again for all the support and well wishes! Back next Friday!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Travel In 4 days!

We are leaving for Addis this Friday! I am just putting together all the donations, meds, clothing, food...and organizing and reorganizing...thank you everyone!

Lauren and I are planning for a week of no make-up and no hair...we are going to spend the week as true beauties! Hope Bereket isn't scared away!(well, he always has his daddy!). My main focus is lots of snacks and entertainment stuff for our little man (maybe some snacks for the big man too) and the 22-hour flight home!

The day after we return, our country will celebrate Bereket's homecoming with a huge firework display!(well, it might coincide with our annual Independence Day celebration, but that's a minor detail). We will be taking lots of pictures of the look on his face when he hears his first explosion!

Lauren is on a mission to catch every moment of this trip and is creating a documentary for her high school. She works on the school cable network and will film, edit and produce a story about her little brother's adoption and transition.

She is also manager on the Varsity Boy's Soccer team, in which Bereket has been invited to sit on the bench and assist with practices. I believe he will get a matching team jacket! (maybe he can show them a few tricks??)

Lauren also coaches at the summer drama camp for kids and is anticipating he will come along and meet some friends. It's a good thing we got her this wonderful gift for her 17th birthday! much for the "cocooning" idea. (that's a term used to recommend we keep him on the "low-down" during his transition). We will try, but this is a busy household and Bereket may be left with only one choice..."join in!"

Time to scoot...I have some serious packing to do! Wait...did I mention he wanted to be a pilot? Sooo cute!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cleared For Travel!

Bereket's X-rays came back great and we are cleared for travel! Time to get bookin' on the travel itinerary. Will post when we have our departure date! Thanks everyone for your prayers!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TB test

Should I even write this??..So, Bereket had a reaction to the TB test...on to X-rays...we should know by Thursday. Could this be any more exhausting??

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Am Lovin' Mondays!

Today was a newsy day for sure! We first got the size update for Bereket's clothes. It looks like he is fairly on track with kids his age. But, then we got the most heartwarming update on his little personality...

"Bereket is a sociable, affectionate and beautiful young man. Bereket absolutely loves to play soccer! However, he does need a new pair of sneakers so please plan on bringing these with you. He is looking forward to meeting his family and always talks about how he wants to be a pilot. He is very smart, gentle and sweet spirited."

Adorable! I wonder why he wants to be a pilot?? Because of his new daddy? So Cute!!

Next, we received tentative travel dates. I thought we would be looking at July 3-9, for some reason. But...we are leaving next week!!! We will need to be in Ethiopia by June 28th! I can't even get my head wrapped around it! Shower cancelled for now.

So far, we have packed his clothes, boxers, socks, toothbrush and of course...brand spankin' new sneakers! See ya soon, buddy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our new baby (who is 9 years old)

I just wanted to update a little...after getting the wonderful news that we passed court, I have totally relaxed. Yet, there is still more to come...we had hoped the agency would call us with our travel date and clothing sizes. We are still waiting. While waiting, the world still goes 'round...some of the families in our agency didn't get such great news and my heart breaks for them. This adoption journey has definitely had its ups and downs. I feel selfish thinking that I want a travel date or a shirt size, when others haven't been able to travel or pass court. Forgive me.

In the meantime, so many of our friends have offered to give us a shower! I feel silly accepting this kind of help since we are not new to parenting...just haven't had a little one around in a while. We are truly blessed to have such supportive friends. We don't live near family, so these friends are our family.

Bereket is truly a celebrity here and people are anxious to meet him! I haven't been allowed to post pics of him prior to the legal adoption, and to be honest, I am not sure if I can now?? But, this last one taken by a sweet, agency family is so stinkin' cute, I can't help myself. If it disappears...I got in trouble!

Monday, June 8, 2009

We Passed!!

It's a happy Monday! We just heard that our Bereket is officially ours! We can now post his name and call him son and baby brother! We will wait for TB results and travel dates this week. It looks like a trip to Africa in early July for us! What a great way to celebrate Independence Day with a new family member and future US citizen! Oh! and Happy Birthday to our daughter, Lauren, who will also celebrate her 17th birthday on this trip, with a very special present! She is SO excited to be a big sister, finally!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hangin' In There!

Thank you to everyone that has been calling, texting and checking in. The support we have had has been amazing! Unfortunately, the only update we have received so far, is that there is no update...Our caseworker sent everyone an email saying that with the weekend, it could go into next week before we hear anything.

On a positive side, families with court the day before us, heard today that they had passed. Congratulations to them! Also, some of the families that were traveling this last week to pick up their children, are returning this weekend. They may have some news on our little boy!? I am hopeful!

We are hangin' in there!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

No News Yet...

I know I wasn't the only one waiting for the phone to ring! There were several families that had court dates this week and I know of only one who has heard anything. I wonder if they should even tell us when our case goes to court. Maybe I would just like to know when we pass!

Tomorrow could be the day we get news...otherwise, we may not hear anything till next week. Our prayers continue...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tonight's the Night...

Our case goes to court tonight after we go to bed. I can't believe this day has finally arrived! We may not hear results till next week...which makes for a long and agonizing weekend. In any case, I am praying for all of this week's appointments to be successful!

Thanks everyone, for all of the support and prayers...I will keep you posted!

Monday, June 1, 2009

3 more days...

In three more days, we will have our case evaluated in Ethiopia and hopefully, approved for adoption! I am constantly thinking of those families who are picking up their children this week. We would have been in that group if we hadn't run into a few snags.

I am trying not to think too much about the next couple of days...I am looking even farther ahead to after the TB tests, travel date, etc. Yet, it's exciting to think that by the end of the week, I may be a mother of three! So strange...I ALWAYS wanted three kiddies!

I am thankful for any prayers for a swift and joyful approval!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

So Cool!

I LOVE the color-blind world of adoption! Why is this story so amazing? I think any adoption story is amazing...but this adoption story by Dallas Cowboy, DeMarcus Ware and one special baby girl, is really cool!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

8 Days Away...

We are eight days away from our court date. When we started this process, that court date was everything...the final phase before travel. Now, it seems like just another milestone, a step in the right direction, yet, not homebase . Now, with the new TB testing, we will wait again. I feel like I won't be truly relieved until that test result is clear.

In the meantime, we are polishing up on our Amharic. (I think we have managed a few phrases). My friend Mona completes her schooling this Friday and says she will have all the time in the world to give us some language lessons. Good thing.

There have been some wonderful families willing to look up our little guy while at HH. They haven't had a whole lot of luck. He seems to be a bit of a mystery. No one has had a chance to really visit with him. I would love to know just one little he shy? energetic? happy? athletic? big, small, anything...

For now, we continue to ready his room, buy some clothing, pull out old toys and books, get some rest and wait...

For everyone else that just returned from Ethiopia and those going soon...thank you for being willing to help out and congratulations on your new addition!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Things I Have Learned From Mona

My Ethiopian friend, Mona, has an interesting story, some of which I can't share. Yet, talking with her has enlightened and educated me on a culture that is soon to be part of our family. Mona has now lived in Minnesota for 7 years, coming over on a lottery visa. She was very young and spoke little English. She is now a U.S. citizen, works fulltime, studies to become a medical technician and speaks English fluently. She is struggling with how to bring her nieces to live with her. Her sister passed away, leaving Mona's nieces as orphans. They have since been adopted by their grandmother, Mona's 48 year old mother. Immigration has approved Mona to bring her mother here as a relative, but not her nieces. Her nieces, 12 and 14 years, would be left behind in Ethiopia. Our trip to immigration services taught us that there is no consideration for these two girls in whether they are left alone...they cannot travel with their grandmother to the U.S. as they do not have a visa. Understandably, Mona does not want to see her nieces left behind, but what are their choices? When I asked immigration, "what happens to the girls when their grandmother comes to America? They belong to their grandmother." The response we received was, "We are not a babysitting service. We are not responsible for them." She must have repeated that 4 times in our conversation. What?! Is that a recording? We have an open door policy with every other country, some of which are a threat to our country...yet, we don't care about children (who are not a threat) left behind. Interesting...

Some of the things Mona told me were both funny and interesting. In Ethiopia, children believe there is money all over the ground. They think that in stores, you can have anything...for free! Funny, my kids use to think that too!. The people believe that American's have a golden heart, that we take care of everyone else in the world and are especially soft-hearted with children. She believes that is why America is a blessed country.

I asked, "What do the Ethiopian people think of foreigners coming to adopt your children?"
~Mona-"American's are generous and kind, and our own wealthy people do not care about their own poor. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer."
I asked, "Is there a fairly wealthy society?"
~Mona-"of course"
I asked, "Why wouldn't extended family care for a child who will be orphaned?"
~Mona- "They don't do that like in America. They are poor too."
I asked, "what would happen then to a child like ours?"
~Mona- "She is a very good mother to think about her child like this. Many times there are no plans for that child. He would be on the streets."
I asked, "Have your views changed about the American people since you have come to live here?"
~Mona- "a little. Most are very kind, but I have met some that are not. I still think Americans are wonderful."
I asked. "what was the most shocking thing you realized when you came here?"
~Mona- "how much food is wasted here."

Mona also tells me that she has not grown accustomed to our foods and the only thing she likes is pizza! I was a little surprised at that. She is impressed with how open-minded American people are in trying new foods and learning about other cultures. I have to agree.

I realize that one person's opinions of their people and country can be as different as the next, as it is in America. But there is a common thread of respect, kindness and appreciation that I feel has been evident in the Ethiopian culture, thus far. I hope to preserve those attributes and help others to learn more about this intriguing culture.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Getting Ready...

Today, we have finally decided to stop procrastinating and finish our little boy's room. A part of me feels it's pointless because I don't really think he will sleep there. It's our daughter's old room where she slept for 14 years! However, she was there from the beginning and the distance to mom and dad's room never mattered to her. Our room is located upstairs and two levels up. It could be a problem. Our daughter moved up there as well, just 2 years ago. The only other room on the same level as our little boy, would be our BIG boy's, who is mostly away at college...

Well, we have no choice, really, it will have to do. So we are taking the computer out and all of the storage. It's almost ready.

For my dear friends and family not familiar with the adoption process...I have some clarifications. I have had a lot of questions on the court date and realized that I didn't "get it" either at the beginning, middle and almost the end...

Our court date (June 4) is when the Ethiopian government reviews our file for approval. In many countries, they require the parents to be present for this part. We can stay put until we are given the results. If we pass, we are issued a travel date approximately 2-4 weeks later. As I mentioned earlier, there are some things that could hold us up, but we aren't going to entertain those thoughts...ha,ha

Then, we will travel to pick him up and that will be a 5-day stay in-country! Although we would cherish a longer stay and tour, we understand that this time around may not be the best time.

To answer a few other questions:

~Will he speak English? I don't think much. He hasn't been at HH very long.
~Will he start school in the fall? Only if he speaks enough English. I may try Homeschooling for the first time!
~How will you communicate with him? Besides books and computer help, my friend Mona??
~What about his mommy? I am anticipating a lot of sadness...I get it. We hope to meet her and she will always be very special to us.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prayers Answered!

When the news is good, it's GREAT! We have a court date on June 4th! My husband is out of town, so we will celebrate when he gets home! I can't tell you how excited we are...unless you have been through this, you already know!

Every step of this process does not come without worry. Basically, it works like this. The court appointment is for our son to become "legally" our son. Now, with some changes in the process, the US Embassy will require him to go through a TB screening prior to our travel. Hopefully, all will be well and we could travel 2-4 weeks later! What may determine not passing court could be if his mom does not show up at the appointment with the proper identification. For those of you that don't already know this, she is dying. If she passes before the date, we could be put in an abandonment situation (don't really understand why, since she relinquished him). That would hold things up. Or, if he didn't pass the TB test, that could hold things up as well.

I am going to think positive and assume we will pass, he will pass, and his mom will be there for us to meet! That would be so amazing! We are asked to write a letter to the birth mom if she exists, and I am just finishing it up. It's so sad, but I hope I can reassure her that we will give him the best home possible! Before she leaves this earth, she will hopefully have peace in her heart.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Praying for a Court Date

I told my husband and daughter yesterday that I feel like this is our week! I don't know why I said that, but that made me get a text from my daughter at school today, asking if I'd heard anything yet! I said, "not yet", which she responded "Grrr..."

Then,I jokingly said, "If you are serious about wanting to adopt one day, you may want to start on your paperwork now!" Okay, keep in mind that she is a junior in high school. She responded with "Can I?"

Hmmm...Knowing her, that will be her new mission. She still has Prom in a couple of weeks!

Every Sunday, we sit in church and we leave saying we can't wait to have our little guy with us! The wait is so agonizing! Anyone who has ever adopted, and those in the process know what I mean.

Praying for a court date...and others to pass court this week!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Little Update

I haven't had much to talk about lately. I was waiting for any update on our little guy. Well, today I received some new photos...none of which I am allowed to post, unfortunately. They were so adorable and answered some of our questions. "Does he know about us yet?" Well, he is pictured looking through the photo album we sent introducing ourselves. He is also wearing a Spiderman shirt we sent and holding the birthday gift we sent him! He looks happy and very content! We can't ask for more than that!

We realized that he is smaller than anticipated. The shirt we sent was an "Underoo", size 7/8, and we expected it to be tight-fitting. Instead, it is kinda long and a bit baggy! Oops! Hmmm...I'm thinking the other clothes we got him are going to be enormous! The great thing is, he can only grow UP!

Seeing our things all the way over there seems quite remarkable. It makes this entire event very real, a bit scary and tremendously exciting!

I am praying for all the upcoming court and travel dates! Hope to join in soon!

Monday, April 27, 2009


We just received a call that our dossier is at HH!! Yea! That was so fast! Our little guy has received the remaining medical tests and it all looks great! With a little prayer (maybe a lot) and our confidence in AGCI, everything is falling into place.

As this school year wraps up, we can distract ourselves with Prom plans and our son finishing his freshman year at college! Life still goes on. Soon, we will all be together...

We are now focusing our attention on learning Amharic phrases, deciding if we should add an American name to his beautiful Ethiopian name, planning for summer activities to help him make buddies and practicing sleepless nights...uh, just in case.

Like my hubby says, it keeps life interesting when you veer off the path of least resistance. We are so looking forward to making this trip to Ethiopia!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another Step Towards Bringing Our Boy Home!

I am optimistic that things are getting back on track. Our dossier was back from D.C. in less than a week and forwarded to Ethiopia! It is being closely tracked by several people to make sure it arrives. In the meantime, we hope the translation will be done shortly and maybe we can be submitted for a court date soon? I know it's a rush to get approved before the August 4th court closure date in Ethiopia, but I don't see why it wouldn't happen? Today, we received our USCIS approval letter. That's the final piece of paperwork, on our end, to be completed. (For my friends and family reading this, that is the immigration letter that allows us to obtain a visa to bring our boy home!)

The next thing is receiving a court date and passing. Then, we would travel to pick him up! I am praying all things keep moving along, and he is settling in nicely at HH. I am doing lots of reading and preparing myself for having a young child in the home again. I think we are all a little nervous and excited. I hope he will be happy here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Eyes Have Been Opened

This adoption process has opened my eyes to a whole new world! Before September of last year, I thought people only adopted from Russia, Guatemala, China and Korea. I had never really known anything about Ethiopia. Being an American born Puerto Rican/Japanese and having spent my childhood from one side of the world to the next,I thought I was pretty exposed to different cultures. This journey has opened up my world!

Since September'08, I knew nothing of Ethiopia, its culture, Africa, adoption and on and on...Almost every time my husband flies, he finds himself meeting people who relate to our journey in some way. A few weeks ago, he ran into an old friend who just returned from Uganda with two adopted babies. His babies had been left on the road, dying of malaria. He and his wife brought them to Minnesota!

Next, my husband meets my new friend Mona, who moved from Addis over 6 years ago and who will be my saving grace in our transition of our little boy. She tells me she lives in an entire neighborhood of Ethiopian people (less than 10 minutes away)and I have already had lunch with her in her neighborhood restaurant! Yes, I have eaten injera and wat. I love ethnic food of all kinds. Wasn't too crazy about the injera (wet, spongy, bread), but the wat we had (ours was lamb) was awesome! The people were so nice, and I was reminded that Ethiopians shake hands by touching the back of their closed hands together. I wonder if that is because they eat with their hands? I thought it was cute that before we started to eat, Mona said "Shall we wash?" Now, I know why.

Today, my husband flies with a beautiful Ethiopian flight attendant from Addis Ababa! He found out she is a Wisconsin grad and Badger fan, and like every Wisconsin Alumni, forever dreams to do it all over again. Our son is just now building some of those memories...ones I may never want to know about...

We have made it our goal to each learn 5 Amharic phrases and teach them to each other. This way we will each know at least 15 phrases, which is better than none. Mona volunteered to be our go-between and teach me to make Ethiopian food. Otherwise, she says she will have us to dinner! What a blessing.

I have always thought that parenting was an adventure, but this is going to be a ride!

Good News Monday!

I feel like I am taking baby steps in this process, but it's progression nonetheless! I just received a call from our caseworker. Our little boy has finally moved in to HH! She says he is very excited to be there and is settling in! Maybe this isn't all that exciting for some, but for me, it means that he is under the watchful care of the staff at HH and to anyone who knows of this place, that is a blessed thing.

I am so grateful that the staff at AGCI has been so helpful in getting us back on track as quickly as possible. We are in great hands!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dossier On the Move!

Our dossier arrived this morning at AGCI and was expedited to D.C. for authentication. This is going to be interesting. I always tell people that if they ever want to adopt, I will show them how to cut through the paperwork in a timely fashion. Now, I know it can be re-done in a matter of days! It's a good thing I ordered extras for all official documents!

There is some news on the HH looks like they will try to get him to the home by the beginning of next week. It's something...and for me, it's everything! Who said adoption is not for the faint of heart? You're not kidding!

I think I need some pictures on this blog...I will have to solicit some help from my computer-savvy's a generational thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dossier off! Again...

I just mailed our new dossier today to replace the stolen one. If you have the choice, you may want to ask your HS person if you can leave off SS#'s in your HomeStudy. That's not a good thing to have floating around. I hope we can get back on track for a court date. I would assume we are looking at another 2-4 weeks of authentication and the final translation before we can be submitted for dates. Wow, that's sad for me. I read on someone's blog that the courts may be adding a third judge. If that's true, that is a blessing.

Everyone is getting news about their children from our caseworker's visit and it all sounds so exciting! It would be a relief and my heart would swell knowing that a little one across the world knows about us and is getting excited to start a new life! Bless all those children and their new families.

We still wait to hear anything on our little boy. It has actually been three months and no update. It makes me a little nervous when I think about it like that. I would be content if he were in the care of HH, but his mommy has obviously taken great care of him so far. Our situation is definitely unusual, I think. I trust in AGCI and hope to get some news real soon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday...

Okay, so we hit the ground running alright! Now, we are just waiting for our physicians to sign off on the medicals and our city clearance forms and we are ready to overnight the paperwork! Our only concern is that it still needs to go back to D.C. then to Ethiopia for translation (which could mean another month out!). Hopefully, it will make it to HH without interference. This is crazy, but we are getting enough sympathy from those signing forms for us, that they are doing their best to get things done.

Sadly, yesterday was our little guy's birthday...hope his day was better than ours...Happy Birthday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tomorrow is Another Day..

Today's news was not great. It started out on a positive note. A while ago, my husband met a darling Ethiopian girl working at the airport. She has been trying to bring her nieces and mother to America, but is unable to bring all of them together. She is afraid the children will be left behind. Today, I offered to go with her to immigration and see if I can help her understand how it all works. As usual, we received standard answers that didn't help.

Next, my husband called with an unfortunate incident. We have been so excited for news from our caseworker about her trip to Ethiopia and to see if our boy has yet arrived at HH. Apparently, our entire dossier was stolen and we have to very quickly start over! I am trying to be understanding and calm. As the day wears on, I am beginning to stress about what it all means as far as court dates, travel, etc. I was sorta expecting a court date, to be honest.

Next, my dear friend lost her father and I was pulled over by a state trooper for speeding! It was a full day, but on a high note...our son is home from college for Easter and we are just going to enjoy it.

I will have to hit the road running early Good Friday...lots of papers to notarize and forms to drop off! Tomorrow is another day...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We continue to wait...

So it has been over a month since we accepted the referral. To date, we have no knowledge as to whether our little guy is at HH or not. Our caseworker made a trip to Ethiopia last week and returned to work yesterday. I'm pretty sure we are not the only ones holding our breath for her to call and give us updates. I hate to bug her...but the anticipation is killing me! Our friends admit they are afraid to ask how things are going because they don't want me to get frustrated with the reminder that we sit in limbo.

We also wait for news about Homeland Security. Our application went in mid January, and so we wait for that approval...looking for a letter...something.

We sent a package and photo album to our little guy. Hopefully, our caseworker took it with her. It will be his birthday in 2 days and we sent him a very cool Spiderman transformer type-thingy...a type of toy I haven't seen in our home for a good 10 years!

Grandpa (my dad) has been practicing some online Amharic and learning about Ethiopia. Isn't that cute? It took a while for them to accept this adoption idea, but I think they are getting pretty excited now! He says he will be the best grandpa he can be to his new grandson. So cute!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Accepted the Referral!

Today we mailed in the acceptance! It should arrive tomorrow. We gave each other the "tiger" and said a prayer that all will go well. Without having the full medical information yet, we have to take another "leap of faith". When the complete medical evaluation is done and all looks fine, we will take a deep breath of relief. If there are any issues, we are not obligated to go through with it...but I don't like those options. We can't imagine choosing a different child...this one is ours! Today, our adoption doc said that he already decided if we don't take him, he will! Well, that speaks volumes! This process is emotional, nerve-wracking, exciting, scary...but most of! Tomorrow, we complete the immunizations for travel for our daughter. Then, we are ready for the journey to begin!

Hopefully, our dossier has landed in Ethiopia today or tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Official Referral!

We received our official referral on Thursday! We contacted the doctor and it looks like everything looks fine so far...just waiting on a little more info. as our boy is not at HH yet.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Waiting for news...

Tomorrow is our follow-up call to hear if our little guy has been moved to Hannah's Hope. Until he is moved in, we will not get our official referral paperwork. We have only seen some sparce information on him so far, besides his adorable photos! We are looking for a medical report so that we can get it to the doctor. Hopefully, all looks well and we can be officially on our way! Our goal is to have him home by summer. Our daughter, Lauren coaches acting, voice and dance for the high school, would like him to be part of her summer drama camp! We will see...

The Pre-referral Call!

On January 16th, I headed out for a day of shopping with some girlfriends. I received a phone call with a potential pre-referral! I thought, "Oh this what I want?" I decided to call back later when we could talk and I could gather my thoughts. Now my husband was out of town and I would have to get a hold of him. I told my girlfriends that I felt guilty because so many families wait by the phone for this special call and here I was putting it off!

When I returned home, my son, home for college, and daughter were ready to see the movie I promised them, "Slumdog Millionaire". I quickly called about the pre-referral and wrote down some quick information before heading out to the movie. Eventhough there was email information about our little guy being forwarded, I still didn't know if I was ready to see it!

As soon as we returned, our daughter ran to the computer and pulled up the photos. She screamed her excitement at the adorable little boy staring back at her! "Oh boy" I thought, "here we go!" I came over to see for myself...that sweet little face of our 8-year-old "pre"referral. If we were interested in pursuing it further, we had till Monday (3 days) to decide. "Let's talk to dad..."

My poor husband. We put all the pressure on him as I knew he had the most to give up for this adoption...time, money, energy and retirement. He had thought he also was starting to enjoy the freedom of grown kids! I told him either way, we are fine with the decision. By Sunday, he would have an answer.

On Sunday, my husband drove our son back to college and took the long rode home to reflect on where his life was and where he wanted it to go. Our daughter and I waited for his return and decision. Little did he know that in the meantime, we had shared the news with all of our friends and they too, were awaiting his decision.

When he came home, after relaxing a bit, I got my nerve up to ask. (Somewhat paraphrased) he responded like this: "There are many reasons why I don't know if this is the right thing. There are many obstacles and I don't think I can afford another child. I always think in life, there are these moments when you are teetering on a limb and you wonder if you should jump. So, I am going to jump!"

And so we said "yes!"

Second thoughts...

Speaking of second thoughts, after the holidays, I felt we had been forgotten. I hadn't heard from either agency in over 3 weeks! Being out of town, we had to find a local agency to do our Homestudy. I made a call to AGCI and they quickly responded. With the holiday traffic and poor weather, we had missed some meeting dates, but all was well. We just needed to decide if we still wanted to proceed. We were beginning to feel the doubt again...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Here's Our Story...

Our son left for college this year and it was one of the hardest things for me to do...say "goodbye". He gave us the confidence to do it again! We loved his "boyhood" and can't believe it's over! Our daughter, a junior in high school, has been the driving force behind adoption. I used to torment my parents for a puppy, and then, for a younger sibling. It was only my brother and I, and I wanted a larger family. Now, it's my turn. With only two kids, I suddenly felt like it was all going to be over soon. Our daughter has tried on two other occasions to get us to adopt and each time, I put it aside. This time, she said she would be disappointed in us if we didn't follow through, and I thought "so would I."

We began this trek in October of 2008. I was on top of gathering the documents and finished by November. It took the Homestudy a while longer. In the meantime, we had second thoughts many, many times...but with time and money invested...we plugged along. I couldn't help wondering if we were too old, now 44 years and my husband at 51. He looks terrific! He is active and young at heart!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

It's not always cold out here...

Cold hands and warm hearts abound in Minnesota where adoption is as welcome as the first spring day! I love this place where "Minnesota Nice" has meant that even if you aren't native here, you can still find family, love and acceptance. After living in over 6 states and traveling as far as Japan, I have found home in one of our country's best kept secrets. Come spring, when the snow finally melts and the streets are swept clean, we look forward to traveling to Ethiopia to bring home our new son and little brother. With 24 years of marriage under our belts and 18 years of parenting, we are feeling older, wiser and a little more confident exploring this journey to adopt.