Thursday, December 27, 2007

A little R and R at the end of the Marathon!

Season's greetings my faithful blog readers! I meant to get out a Christmas Wish to you all, but have just now cracked open my computer after the chaos and joy of the last several days! Here are a few highlights....
Fri and Sat...mommy sick with the tummy flu she very cockily said she wouldn't get :( (hard to make magic when you can't get out of bed!)

Sunday...back on track and into overdrive to make the "magic" happen! Sunday night, dinner and wine by the fire with dear friends....a great way to ease into the season!

Monday...So much excitement the air just crackled! Made carmel corn, finished wrapping, toted presents to the tree, solo-ed at church and had tears running down my cheeks as I thought of my daughter as we sang silent night. Loved having Nana and Papa here for our manger meal. Finally got kids to sleep and wrapped the last few surprises!

Christmas Day....OH WHAT JOY ! Three little boys in complete Christmas magic Mode! Put up the air hockey table...put on the football outfit as it was unwrapped...many shouts of it's just what I wanted! Then loaded the sleigh to go to nana and papa's new house for more presents and glad they are just an hour away now. And as eyelids finally started to close..."mom this was the best Christmas ever!"

Wednesday...But wait there's more...across town to Gr and Gr's house for 5 dogs, 5 kids, and adults surviving on food and wine...more presents more fun! Then back home, 3 sleeping boys, full tummies, full hearts!

Thursday...WOW....a tornado of christmas magic has hit...but lets savor the magic just a little longer!

I will post some pictures after I find the camera! I know it's around here somewhere...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Paperwork is in Ethiopia!

It doesn't necessarily mean anything is imminent...but we can check another item off the list. Our Dossier is sitting on someone's desk in Ethiopia! That is pretty exciting! Just happened to notice that the Dossier to Country box was checked on our CHSFS checklist. So, that means it was certified, authenticated, etc here and is now there to be translated and prepared for that all exciting referral. In checking with my contact at the agency, we are still in the 5-7 month window. Last year at this time there was a huge flurry of referrals. For all my "journey" mates sitting at the top of the list...may this month bring your long awaited news and may you move off that list!!

baby steps continue, but it helps to know a little progress has been made!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Warning: Pity Party Ahead!

I want my daughter. I am tired of waiting. I don't want to wait any longer. I want to set up her nursery. I want cuddles, and diapers, and middle of the night feedings. ( laying on the floor banging hands and fists....children running in with chocolate to cure mom's tantrum...okay slightly better)

I feel incredibly selfish, wanting this child sooo much. In order for her to come to me, she will have to go through great loss and tragedy, her birth mother will have to make one of the hardest decisions....and yet, I have to acknowledge that I am impatient. I do want her home.

It is looking like the wait is increasing. My contact at the agency said to be ready for a 7 month wait. So long February referral. Maybe by April. Just seems like such a long way off. Then there is that wait to travel. Waiting, waiting waiting....soo not my best skill.

Okay, done with the pity party. I am going to go indulge in Chocolate....lots and lots of dark chocolate!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

3 Months Down

Wow! We hit the three mark month today! There was a time a while back that I was thinking a late Dec, early Jan referral would be possible. Not so much the case now as things seem to be moving a little slower. J and I were talking about the process last night while making dinner. He was asking how soon I thought we would get her picture. I told him I figured it would still be a couple of months. He got a sad expression and then said..."then we have to wait 8 weeks to go get her" When I told him that it was actually closer to 12 or 16 currently he was pretty sad. He said "Mom that means we won't meet her for up to 17 weeks because you get to go a week ahead of mom, this is going to be really hard. I can't wait for my baby sister to get here"

Pretty sweet. He is going to be an awesome big brother. Right now the wait is easy... there is so much going on. At times I even forget I am waiting, but there is always that feeling in my heart and mind, telling me that something wonderful is just around the corner!

So happy 3 months down...hopefully less than 3 more to go!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

World AIDS Day

Today is world AIDS day. As a mother embarking on a journey to adopt a child who's life more than likely has been touched in some way by AIDS, I am passionate about this cause. The AIDS crisis in Africa is no secret. But as we sit in our cozy little homes across America and get lost in the hustle and bustle of life and the holidays, it is all too easy to forget that our brothers and sisters in Africa are dying of a disease that medication and education can help eradicate. Take action today...first, become educated. Because it is World AIDS day, there are tons of links on top news and web browsers with great information right at your fingertips. GO to and be a part of the RED campaign started by Bono and making huge strides. GO to the Lutheran World Federation website and find ways you and your family or congregation can make a difference, LOG on to and make a donation. And as you shop for holiday gifts, look for the product (red) items. Even a little bit, done by enough of us will make a difference. If it all still seems to distant, the goal to lofty, imagine my daughter...a child that most of you reading will have in your life. How will we be able to look her in the eye when she is older and tell her we were too busy to do anything to help her people, her country, her very soul? Take action...YOU can make a difference!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hooked on a Feeling

Can't explain this feeling in any way other than to say it is just my gut...I think baby girl will be born Nov. 30th. This was grandma m's birthday, and I can just imagine her tucked in up there in heaven, watching her great granddaughter come into the world. For those that knew grandma, you know what I mean when I say I just have that sense. (Got that from grandma :) ) Whether she is about to be born, is already in this world, or is on her way, I continue to pray that God protects her, and that God surrounds her mother with strength and healing as she faces circumstances I cannot imagine. God, protect them both....

On to the truly mundane....the list continues to move. However, I am bracing myself for a March or April referral at the earliest with travel in the summer. There are many families ahead of us. I am hoping to not travel the one week we have set aside for a family vacation in June...but I will go whenever that call comes!! I know that God has the timing all figured out and in all honesty, at this point, I am okay to wait...there are lots of things brewing and I am sure the timing will be just right. I know she will come.

Everyone here is battling the resp crud. The nights and early mornings are a symphony of deep frog coughs and sniffle-y noses. Rumor has it this one lasts about a month. :(. The first big snow of the season is being predicted for the weekend. I am ready...I think I have found all the jackets and mittens! We were rehearsing Michael W Smiths "Welcome to Our World" last night with the youth choir. I got all misty eyed, thinking of my baby girl. I think it might be a rather emotional Christmas....they always are when I am expecting and this time is no different! Bring on the kleenx.

Well, if you are still reading...hats off to you...this was a lot of random babble...but it's what's running through my mind. Have a great rest of your weeks...leave me a note, I would love to know who is reading along...and if you are the praying type, please say a little prayer for baby girl and her and in Ethiopia!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Number 57

We are 57...actually, I am almost 36 ( a few short hours of 35 left) but we are 57!! We have moved out of the 60's and are now 57 on the unofficial list for a referral! There were a bunch more referrals again today. It is so exciting to think about these new families being joined together! In reality, we are still a long way from our call, but it is getting closer! It is pretty awesome to think that last year at this time I was just dreaming of this process, wishing we could start, hoping we would take this journey....and now here we are. So exciting!

So anyway...57 when I turn 36! Gotta like those numbers!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. Needless to say, this year it has taken on a whole new meaning. I am finding that I am surrounded by people who have been touched by adoption. I love it when God just plops someone in your everyday world who is either traveling the path with you or has been on a similar journey. It is great fun! One such friend I have never met in person, but we have become "e-mail" sisters...sharing the ups and downs together. She just got her referral! What a happy day that was. Needless to say I was just a tidge jealous...but so excited for her, her family , and the new little person joining them. That is what this journey is all about. Bringing families together. I know it will be a while until our referral comes, but I completely trust God's timing, and am thankful to even be able to travel this road.

We have one more check to send in to the adoption agency. Still needing to get creative to get that final threshold crossed....I have a hard time "fund-raising" for this. It seems like it is a choice we have made and we need to figure out how we are going to finance it...yet on the flip side, at lot of the money we pay goes to help the kids still without families; needing medical care etc in the orphanage. It's something I am praying on...hoping for an answer soon :)!

As we gather with family this week to celebrate the Thanksgiving heart overflows with Thanksgiving. Thankful that we can offer our homes and our hearts to this child, thankful that our friends and families support us in this venture, and thankful that God is always at the helm, and that this journey called life is never dull!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Things are moving again

Yeah! There were a few referrals finally last week. The agency has initiated a new hotline for the Ethiopia program. They are still planning on a 5-7 month wait for those who are already that means it shouldn't extend, at least not too much. That is a relief. It is so weird not knowing when this will take place. It is hard to think about making plans for the upcoming months and realizing they will need to be rather tentative as "the call" will change everything!

I have been deep in thought about the whole adoption process of late. Not just our adoption, but adoption in general. I have been reading a lot about the Ethics of adoption, and whether it is a good thing or not. It's very easy to sit back and just relish the idea of finally having a daughter, thinking about me, our family, how great it is for us. Then the flip side looks at the family that this child will leave behind. I cannot imagine having a child in this world that I didn't get to see, hold, and love. I cannot fathom that pain. Then there is the issue of being a white family raising a black child. Again, I can lull myself into a happy, dreamy little place, where everything is perfect...but the reality is, this road is going to be bumpy. I think I am ready for the challenge, but I also think I don't have the capacity to understand the depths of the bumps on this road yet. So my heart is torn. I instinctively feel this is right...right for us, right for her, and that in many circumstances, adoption is very right. But I think you have to dig deep, you have to go to those dark places, both within the system of adoption, and within yourself and make your conclusions. So I am digging...somedays, I just have to lay down the shovel and dream about the little girl that will be my daughter, but I know that in order to build in her the strongest foundation possible, I have to pick that shovel back up and continue to dig, and search and sift. So baby girl, know that this mama is digging, I am ready-ing the soil that will feed the seed of your spirit...armed with all I can give you to make your life full of hope and light, not regret.

Monday, November 5, 2007

2 Months Down

Well, two months of waiting down. How many more to go??? That is the million dollar question at the moment. There have still been no referrals, so the line isn't moving a bit. I am trying very hard to psych myself up for a March referral instead of an end of January referral. It is all so unpredictable and I really don't like having no control. I do know however that at the end of all this waiting, we will have our daughter in our arms and that is what matters the most right now. Actually, this next month is going to fly by. It is crazy times at the store, and the boys have really full schedules in the next few weeks!

Ben and I went to McDonalds for lunch today. I needed some fries!! On the way out, I was thinking about the fact that he will start school full time in the fall. I asked him what I was going to do with out my french fry true Ben fashion he said "Oh'll have Ellia, and she will LOVE fries too!" So a little perspective from Mr. Positive!

Josh is in the children's chorus for the musical ( Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) at the High school and it opens this week. He is having so much fun and it is bringing back so many great memories for me. I still have quite a bit of Diva left in me...might have to find a way to channel a little of that need to perform. I truly do miss it! I have offered to help assistant direct the next musical in 2 years. We'll see where that goes. I have to remind my self...I will have 4 children !!

Well, here's to another month down...hopefully not too many more to go.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tricks and Treats!

It was a great night of trick or treating. We all agreed that next year will be even more fun, when we have a little pumpkin! Thought I would include a few picks of our little men!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hopefully, It was only a dream~

Yieks, woke up this morning in a complete panic! I had just had an"adding a fourth child" dream...maybe more of a nightmare! I dreamed that we had gotten a phone call, telling us they had the baby and were dropping her off in a matter of minutes (number one clue this was a dream!!). It was early morning and I was trying to get everyone packed up and out the door. I dropped everything to try and find a car seat and formula! She was suddenly in my arms and I was trying to get everyone in the car to get to school. I had her in this old scary car seat and kept looking at her thinking that I really needed to feed her! We got to school and I had to run around the building finding leaves for the kids lunches because I hadn't had time to pack them anything else...(once again...crazy dream!) I was ticked because I didn't have my Moby Wrap (fabulous baby carrier) and my hands were full of baby and leaves. My mom showed up and offered to hold the baby, but I said only I could hold her because we had to bond and I had to figure out how to feed mom put her hands on her hips, threw some leaves at me and said "you got yourself into this mess, you'll have to figure it out!" and left! (another sign this was a terrible dream) I woke up at this point. I think Freud would have a hey-day!

Here's my analysis...I am a little freaked out about bottle feeding...having only nursed. Life is pretty chaotic and I didn't think I was too concerned about adding a baby, but maybe my subconcious has another take on that! Packing lunches is always a pain in the butt and always a crazy time of the am, I must need to add some creativity! My parents are moving home to MN, I can find myself already planning to rely on them a ton (maybe more than they are aware :) ) and I know THE phone call is a long way off, and I am wishing it were closer. All I know is she sure was a beautiful little girl!

Referrals continue to be in limbo. It seems like our wait might stretch closer to 7 months than 5 months. So just hoping we have this little one in our arms before summer.

Off to think of some more creative lunches and read up on bottle feeding...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Worthy causes

This link was posted on the forum today. I found the video wonderful and the work that is being done on behalf of these women, so important. So many of the children that need to be placed for adoption, are placed because there is no food, no way for them to be supported. It iss making changes in the day to day lives of these families that can lead to significant changes! So check this out!

Another organization I feel very strongly about is Ethiopia Reads. There was just a wonderful article about this group in Good Housekeeping. It was in the Oct issue, so if you haven't grabbed it yet, do before it is off the shelves. To learn more about this great program go to:

I will continue to research ways we can all make a difference in Ethiopia!


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our Missing Piece

We had a fun family get together yesterday. The kids were rowdy, chasing around with their cousins, the kitchen was full of moms, and dogs and great smells, the table was packed with food, laughter, and conversation...and yet, as full of a day as it was...I couldn't stop thinking of the missing member. Talk turned to summer and plans for the lake..."We're reserved and paid up" grandpa announced...all I could think is will she be here by then? This morning at church, one of our friends stopped me and said, "I hear big things are coming up!" I thought he was talking about us singing in the next service....he was talking about my daughter! Another older lady, stopped me and smiled.."Each time you come to church, I always look to see if she is here yet!" I reassured her that everyone will know when she has a name and a face. There have not been many referrals in the last few weeks. We are # 63 on the unofficial list (which makes us about 120 on the big list) It is looking more like a 7 month wait to referral than a 5 month wait! Some days the wait is so hard.

Part of my solace in all of this is reading other blogs, and our Ethiopian adoption forum. I stumbled across a blog of a woman from Duluth who is currently living in Addis, working for an NGO and volunteering at an orphanage. Her stories of abandoned children, orphans left on doorsteps, and little children taking care of other little children brought tears to my eyes and a fervent prayer to my heart. God, bring these children it food, a warm blanket, or a family. As we prepare more for our trip, I am researching what more we will do. We are so blessed, and our adopting of this daughter will help her, but there are so many left behind. So stay tuned...If you are reading this, you have been called to take some part in this journey,'s a big calling, and one we cannot afford to let go unanswered.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I-171H Approval!

What the heck is that you are wondering??? It means we have been deemed acceptable to bring an orphan into the country. We have now crossed the next hurdle of approval! Yeah!

I had a great dream about Ellia last night. I haven't really had many dreams about her yet...dreams about the process but not about her. She had this gorgeous cork-screw curl hair and the most amazing eyes. I was packing her diaper bag and choosing what outfits she was going to wear that day. I woke up with a warm longing in my heart!

It was kind of humorous, yesterday at the shop, I was having a slow hour and was re-arranging the doll display. I carry an adorable soft baby with beautiful corkscrew hair. I held her and talked to Ellia in my ever so quiet shop. Later, I was checking out a sample diaper bag, thinking about it's practicality and if I would ever use it. I guess I tucked those moments into my sub-conscious and they became the stuff of dreams! So glad I have a job that leaves happy thoughts in my head to dream about!

Dad and Josh went on a Cub Scout camping trip last night. The previous night they had been getting out the supplies and all 4 boys were sitting in the driveway being completely male. I shouted down from the upstairs window...."This is why we are adopting a GIRL!" I must admit that I do feel left out of their little world sometimes. I am not wired the same, I just can't get excited about motors and snakes, and frogs. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to parenting a daughter (and yes, all you nay-sayers...she could turn out to be a total tom-boy...but atleast she'll bring a little estrogen to the mix!)

It's 90 here in MN on October 6th! Whatever! The boys are going boating, I am working...if you're in the area...drop in! I would love to chat!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

One Month many to go??

Not sure where that month of waiting went! Holy Moly it went fast thank goodness! I think time will continue to zip by until about January...then the wait is going to be down right painful. It still feels so incredibly surreal that we will have a baby in the house in as little as 7 months. WOW. And that we will be traveling to Africa!

A bit about the trip...once we get the referral, all of her paperwork goes through court and then we are given a travel date. It seems like this is usually 8-12 weeks after the referral. They try to give you about 4 weeks to plan for travel, but it has been shorter and longer. We will most likely leave MN and travel to DC to catch an Ethiopia Air flight. This seems to be what most people traveling from MN are doing. The flight from DC lands to re-fuel in Rome and then lands in Addis Abbaba. I can't quite imagine being on a plane for that long! I will need to save up some great books and hopefully will get an i-pod for b-day or Christmas to block out some of that airplane noise.

Once in Addis, we will stay at our agency's guest house. This will be a great experience. It sounds sort of like a combo of Survivor meets amazing race...meets summer camp...meets labor and delivery! I can only begin to imagine what an awesome experience it will be! I will go into more details on the trip later...for now I am off to celebrate one month down...and take in a gorgeous fall day!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Journey...not for the Faint of Heart

"We're adopting our 4th child"
"Oh really? How wonderful! China or Guatemala?"
"Ethiopia actually."
"Isn't that somewhere in Africa?"
"Yep it sure is!"
"So your daughter will be black?"
end of conversation....
I had this conversation with a fairly regular customer at the shop not too long ago. I was saddened and disappointed by her reaction, but unfortunately not surprised. I have been amazed at the "conversational double takes" that have occurred as we have told people we are adopting from Ethiopia. The best comment I have received was from a friend who hadn't learned of our plans. I told her "Ethiopia" and waited for the look of confusion that is becoming all too familiar. Much to my delight, she smiled and sighed..."Oh that gorgeous latte skin!!" Exactly...that gorgeous skin, amazing eyes, and the history of a people living in the basket of humanity. It is the country that has touched my heart, and a people I will proudly call family.

This week on The View, it was discussed that Paris Hilton wants to go to Rwanda. Sherri (Sheppard) said, “Oh, those poor babies. People used to get Chinese babies, now everyone gets African babies. It’s a Louis Vuitton bag.” Barbara said, to set the record straight, that she is not going there to adopt a baby, but to bring attention to the area so they can get more aid. So my wanting to adopt a child from Africa is similar to me going to buy a lovely (or ugly) designer purse. I think NOT! Needless to say, I believe The View has been inundated with e-mails from families adopting children, not accessories. I also hear all the time..."oh that child will be so lucky." No she will not. She will have been through a horrible and tragic loss, she will go from her mother, to perhaps 2-3 other caregivers before she comes to us. She will be uprooted from her family, her culture, and all that is familiar. I am not the ideal person to raise this child. Ideally, she should be raised in her country by her family. This will not be possible for her, and I will be her next best option. She is not the lucky one, I am. I am lucky to call her daughter and have the chance to raise her. It is an honor and a privileged to be given the opportunity to raise her. She is not an accessory...this path is not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

How life will change

It is very quiet here this morning. Ben is off on a date day with grandma and grandpa, the brothers are happily cocooned in front of Sat am cartoons, and I am sitting in complete peace and quiet. These moments are so few and far between. As I sit sipping coffee this morning, I can't help but think about how different life will be in just a few short months. We will have a baby here again! Wow....I am pretty comfortable in my little life right now. The boys are pretty self sufficiant (messy...but they can get their snacks and get dressed all by themselves!) My world is pretty ordered and predictable. I can not wait to have it turned upside down! I think of waking in the morning to baby smiles, laying on the floor, playing with stacking cups...having my house cluttered with "baby stuff". OH I just can't wait!

I started making a list in my head the other day of what we need to do to get ready for this little one. We have given away most of the baby gear. Toys and blankets are in abundance from the store...but there's the highchair, the exersaucer, the car seat...time to get the list of essentials figured out and start scavenging! What a fun quest!

I promised myself I would take advantage of this little oasis of solitude and realtive won't be back for a few years...but i am so glad it is just a little rest stop along the way...bring me the chaos of 4 kids! I am so ready!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Things to ponder

We had an interesting discussion going on the Ethiopia Adoption Forum today. Someone posed the question..."What, if anything, do we owe Ethiopia after we bring our children home?" This question has been stirring in my soul all day.

I truly feel that we do not "owe" Ethiopia anything. Now that being said, I do feel that we owe our daughter the chance to learn the customs, culture, and heritage that is hers. Ethiopia is now a part of our family and our culture. I also feel that God has guided us to adopt from Ethiopia first because this is where our daughter is and secondly, because we are supposed to do something with all that we will see and experience. The trip we will take to Ethiopia will change us in more ways than adding a child to our family. I am fully prepared to be impacted to the roots of my soul.

I think God has plans for us...big plans. I don't think we "owe" Ethiopia anything in the sense that we have a debt to pay, but the fabric that is Ethiopia is now woven into the life that is mine, and the threads will undoubtably cross and create a new canvas, one that I can only imagine. God has called, we are answering. We owe it to God to listen, learn, and act... to be God's stewards in the country that gives life to our daughter, and new colors to our canvas.
Maybe it will take the shape of small changes in our life...only purchasing Fair Trade Coffee, supporting the Children's Home Society in the growth of their Ethiopia program, or raising the awareness of the plight of Ethiopia's orphans in our congregation ...or maybe it will be much bigger...something bold and important that I can't imagine yet. All I know is that Ethiopia, her people, her land, her spirit...are alive in my soul...and I listen and wait for all God has in store.

Friday, September 14, 2007

5 days magically gone!

I just got an email from our program specialist. She said we were officially waiting as of the 5th!! So we have 5 more days under our belt than we thought! Whoo Hoo! Love that! She also said we can certainly hope for the referral in 5 months...but it is hard to say for sure! So that was great news for a Friday afternoon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This journey has two sides

There was a comment made on my last post (I deleted it...I was a little ticked). In a relatively nice fashion, I was reminded that this daughter only comes to me through great loss on another mother's part, and that I shouldn't forget this mother in the joy of my raising this daughter.

How could I forget this mother?? She is carrying our shared daugther! I cannot even imagine the pain and heartache she will go through as she brings this child into the world and then must entrust her to be raised by someone else. I pray for this mother on a daily basis.

As I took my morning walk, this mother on the other side of the world that is carrying this precious child, was all I could think about. Was she cold? Was she hungry? Was she excited as this little one moved in her womb or does it fill her with fear? Has she already placed this sweet child to be raised by me? As I walked because I wanted to, I imagine her walking because she had too, for water, for food...

SO yes, there will be times on this blog that I relish in the thoughts of raising this child...where I celebrate the joys of raising a daughter...but never far from my heart or my prayers is the mother that is growing this child we will share. We are connected for life, by a thread that connects us heart and soul...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Has my daughter been born?

As I drove in the beautiful fall sunshine today I couldn't help but wonder about my daughter. Is she born yet? More than likely if she isn't born yet she will be in the next month or two. I think the youngest she could be at referral is about 2 months. It is so very surreal to think that I have a daughter on the other side of the world. I was thinking of this process, compared to my pregnancies. With the pregnancies, I started talking to the boys from the moment I got those two lines on the pregnancy test, and even though Ellia isn't in my womb, she is flourishing in my heart and I talk to her every day as well. It is different, and yet so very much the same. True, I am not connected to her in a physical sense every day, feeling her kick and wiggle, but she is already such a presence in my little world. As I wander through my days I imagine her , crying in the car as we shuttle the brothers back and forth, I imagine her sweet little face at the dining room table, disrupting her brothers and getting into all of their stuff, finding treasures on the floor that haven't seen the broom in a couple of days...giggling at the cat...snuggling in the night...

One whole day waiting...could be a long wait!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Officially Waiting~

We are officially waiting! The predicted wait for our little Ellia is 5-7 months to referral and 8-10 weeks to travel. I am soo over the moon right now I can hardly type! We can now officially claim to be "paper pregnant"!


Friday, September 7, 2007

Waiting to Wait

Okay, so I might as well just get this out there now. I suck at waiting. I like things done if not now, then yesterday. If I have an idea or a project I jump in with both feet and arms flailing to get it done. I was overdue with each of the boys...not a good mental health situation. How ever am I going to survive this wait? Right now I am waiting just to get word that I am officially waiting! YIEKS!! The dossier arrived safe and sound. We got an email from our program specialist who said she hoped to review it yet this week, but to know they got it. Well, now it is Friday afternoon. I am thinking I will have to wait all weekend to be officially waiting. In the bigger scheme of things, it really doesn't make a big difference if we wait an hour or a few days to get on the list...referrals seem to come in batches...but there is much to be said for getting the official word that everything looked good and we are on our way.
So I pray for patience. I am sure God is getting tired of hearing this prayer from me...but it is what I will need most. So patience, and a quick progression to "officially" waiting, so I can really need patience!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Baby Sister... we're getting closer!

The dossier is on it's way to St. Paul and from there to Ethiopia! We should be officially waiting in the next few days. As a girl who likes to accomplish her goals...I am pretty excited this am! I had set out knowing I wanted to be done with the paperwork before Eric went back to school. Eric went back this am and the dossier is on it's way and now all we do is wait! I can't believe we really got this far! Baby girl here we come!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Really honey...I have no idea how it got in the cart!

Shopping for a girl is going to be soo fun! (okay not going to already!) I was at Target, just getting the basics like dish soap and clorox cleaning wipes. I had to take a spin through the baby a baby boutique owner I always cruise the aisles and see what we might both carry. So today, I just happened to be thinking a tiny itty bitty bit about my baby girl and low and behold, the perfect crib set jumped into my cart! It was on clearance and in the colors I was planning for in the nursery...I hemmed and hawed...put it down. But darn it all if I just couldn't get out of the store without it! Even the boys chimed in with "mom, it's perfect...just buy's the only one's on sale" (boy I have raised them well...their wives will thank me someday!) So now SHE has a crib set...I am giddy with excitement. Isn't it just the sweetest???!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel!

At the beginning of this whole process, I was most concerned about the dossier paperwork. I am not sure why this hung over me so much, but I was stressed from the get go...anxious to get the info and get it done. It has been a piece of cake! We are just about finished, just need to get our passport pictures taken and meet with our notary. It looks like we will be officially waiting sometime next week. I cannot even tell you how excited that makes me! Once we are official, we are really on our way. Whoo Hoo!

We are in the last dog days of summer. It is definitely time for these kids of mine to head back to the hallowed halls of education! They have had a fantastic summer. Our first full summer in the new house was so wonderful. They have built whole cities in the sandbox, collected more frogs than I can count, road their bikes from dusk to dawn, played kick ball, football, baseball, dodgeball and capture the flag for hours on end, swam in the pool til they grew gills, had bon fires, camp-outs, backyard movie nights and sleepovers. It was truly a summer that dreams are made of! I can't wait for them to share all the wonder and excitement of summer with their baby sister next year!

In the mean time, we get ready for school. New pencils and jeans, shoes and notebooks. They are ready to see their friends, spend a little less time with each other :) , and grow their brains a bit more. Ben is ready for mommy only time...and all his friends at " pretty school." Today, as the air holds that hint of fall and we shop for 6 pairs of school shoes (!) I am filled with the blessing that is my life. Three great kids, a storybook home, a wonderful spouse, incredible parents (both by birth and marriage)a blissfully quiet and sweet toy boutique, and a daughter...coming to my arms soon!! God is good!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

He liked us, He really liked us!

We got the copy of our homestudy today from our SW. It was a glowing report and he finds us "exceptionally qualified" to parent an adopted child! Phew! It made it all very real, to read the report that will go to Ethiopia. I am going to have a daughter! WOW!

I got to refresh my baby skills last night. A dear friend has a 2 month old daughter who I got to practice on last night. I held her and fed her a bottle, and teared up just a little thinking of holding my own daughter in the next months. How wonderfully exciting! I can't wait for diapers, and bottles, and little tiny clothes again. And all in PINK!

Oh happy day!

Friday, August 24, 2007


So today was the day we headed to the cities to get our biometrics done. (Sounds like a strange kind of plastic surgery to me!) Biometrics are really just our fingerprints. We have already been fingerprinted locally, but in the wonderful world of adoption red tape, one must be fingerprinted by the local PD and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. So this morning, we trekked across the cities to St. Paul and a lowly little strip mall. We over estimated the amt of traffic we would face and arrived with time to spare. After a donut and coffee at the near by Cub Foods, we headed over to the strip mall. Gathered in front of this non-descript storefront, was a small parade of nations. There was a beautiful Sudanese woman, looking a little timid and unsure. Two women from Poland, briskly talking in their native tongue, scurried back and forth from their car. A family from Russia, with 7 children in tow, all scrubbed clean and wearing their Sunday best, eagerly waited first in line. There was a sweet tiny woman from Vietnam, who delighted me with her smile and there were two other families with "adopters" written all over their faces. The crowd was friendly and pleasant for 8 in the morning. Everyone stood around, glancing at watches, checking and re-checking the paperwork in their hands. At 8am and not a moment before, the blinds flew open, the door was unlocked and our sunny morning and friendly warmth was replaced with a sense of urgency and slight confusion. We were toward the middle of the line. As families approached the front desk, they were briskly handed a clipboard, admonished for not reading their letter if they still had a cell phone, and sent to sit and wait on a hard plastic chair. Welcome to America I thought. Picture a poorly decorated DMV office, with cheaply framed pics of the President and his cronies smiling down from the wall, and nervous tension hanging in the air. We got our clipboards and took a seat. We had to fill out the basics: name, address, phone number, etc. etc. I was actually nervous! There was such a sense of "don't screw this up!" and I speak and read English fluently! My heart ached for those with such high hopes sitting next to me in these chairs, agonizing over each blank. I wanted to shout...America is really better than is the land of opportunity and a wonderful country...this is just our ugly underbelly.

We proceeded to the next step and turned over our clipboard. Being the chipper and polite people we are, we had struck up a conversation with the people next to us, which earned a slight frown from the woman processing our papers. Next we moved to another set of plastic chairs and waited for our number to be called. There was this underlying sense that I had done something wrong, not that I was completing the steps in the process to do something so right! We were quickly called to step up to the fingerprint machine. By 8:10, the woman taking the prints was already complaining it was going to be a long day, and although I thought I had broken through her tough shell and politely conversed with her, she wasn't about to crack a smile. It made me wonder if she realized how important her job was...helping to pave the way for people to achieve their dreams of adoption, citizenship, a green card...I'm sure rolling people's fingers across a scanner all day lacks a certain fun factor :) but what a great opportunity to meet so many diverse people with such a wide variety of stories and smiles.

When we were done, we were handed an evaluation card to fill out. Was the process quick...yes. Was the staff courteous...kind of. Was the facility clean..yes. Any suggestions? A smile goes a long way to ease a nervous heart.

So we are now done with another step of the process. That much closer to bring baby home. I celebrate each step of the process with a small purchase for the baby so on the way home, we picked up a baby name book... pretty fun to be searching those girl names! Anyone want to weigh in on the name Elia??? That is my current #1!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Playing the Numbers Game

There is a lot of speculation in the Ethiopia Adoption community right now. In Ethiopia, the courts close during the rainy season. Our agency ceases giving referrals during this time. It is just about time for referrals to start back up again and everyone is playing the numbers game! It is a fun and nerve racking game all at the same time! The latest numbers floating around are that there are 100 families on the waiting list at our agency. They expect to start giving out 25-30 referrals a month sometime in the next few days or weeks. We are just about done with the dossier prep (thanks to my most fabulous paper-chasing hubby) and hope to be on that list in a matter of 1-2 weeks. So doing the math (yes, not my best subject) we could have a referral by Dec-Jan and travel in March! Holy Moly! Now here is the down side to this game...things in international adoption can change on a dime. We chose Ethiopia partly because it is a very stable program...none the less...what is true at this moment, may not hold true in a month or two. But oh how exciting to stew the possibilities. From the start, my gut has said she will come home to us in March (good things always happen to us in March!) So I am putting my hat in the numbers game and for today...saying referral by Jan, sweet baby girl in my arms by March!

Feel free to toss your own hat in the ring! I love a little speculation!

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Got Mail!

"Welcome to the Ethiopia Program" Those wonderful words greeted me at noon today when I checked my e-mail. Finally, the dossier checklist is here! It doesn't even look too bad to accomplish. Eric and I have already divided it up and hope to have it conquered before he heads back to school next week. I can't wait to be officially waiting. We head to the cities on Fri morning for our FBI fingerprint appointments. Such a wild and strange process.

I'll keep you posted on our continued progress! Yeah!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Great Unknown

It 's a cold and rainy day in MN. It makes me long for fall and the wonderful flow of routine, predictability, and weeks that fly by. Not that I want these days to pass too quickly. There is something so magical about watching your children grow. Josh can eat us out of house and home, Zach still needs mommy time, and Ben is that little sponge that soaks in everything (especially all the things you don't want him to soak up!) But I do love the routine of fall. For someone who thrives on change, the start of school always feels ripe with new beginnings and possibilities. I wonder where my daughter is right now. Is she born? Is she growing? How soon will I know her? At the moment I am remarkably relaxed about timing. It could be that my mind is all over the place on many other topics...or it is just that peace I feel about this whole thing. She will come when the time is right for all us.

The financial piece of this journey is causing a little gut check right now. We had a grand plan for how we were going to finance this. The demands that are life got in the way a brakes, a few crucial house projects, a slow summer at the now it is time to get a little more creative, pull some money from a stone! But again, I really have a peace about it. It will work. God wouldn't place this in our hearts and open all these doors for it not to work. Faith, hope and love, these things abide!

On other notes, the store may be in for some big changes. There is an opportunity knocking and as always, I just can't let a knock be unanswered. My heart prays for guidance, and sensibility! It would all make the wait for a daughter fly by because my mind would be incredibly occupied! Life is never dull.

I am off... to listen to the rain, enjoy jeans and a warm blanket in August, pull money from a stone, and dream a bigger dream. Ahhh life is good.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Watched e-mail never produces!

It is rather pathetic when your tummy does a little flip every time you hear the "you've got mail" chime on the computer! And I''m not even waiting for a referral yet! Unfortunately, most of the little chimes have only signaled an ad for viagra!

On Friday, our social worked told us that he would send our info to the Ethiopia desk and they would then e-mail us the dossier paperwork. This is the last step until we can be officially waiting for this sweet girl of ours. I am anxious to get this list in hand so Eric can do much of the running and gathering of signatures before school starts and we go headlong into the craziness of fall. I also really want to have my name on "The List" will feel like that moment when the line on the pregnancy test turns turning back...all systems on the way!

But alas, I must wait, and check my email at least every 5 minutes!! oops...just heard another go check it out!

Friday, August 10, 2007


We crossed the next hurdle! We were approved by our social worker. It was an easy meeting and we had the chance to talk about the Ethiopia program and the orphanage at length. I was so excited and so ready to hop on a plane today!

Being the ever hopeful planner, I asked if he thought we might have her by spring of next year. He said there are a lot of people ahead of us and that the wait will be long, but we will probably have her by late spring or early summer. I was really hoping for her arrival in about March...but it sound like the wait might be a bit longer. Ah yes, another lesson in patience, my best subject...not!

Next step is getting the Dossier paperwork from the Ethiopia desk, then getting that in and starting the real wait. I am hoping we are "official" by September 15 at the latest! We'll see how lofty my goal is!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Putting out the welcome mat...

So a man is coming to my house to see if it is fit for children and to see if I am a fit parent. I know my house is fit for kids...this house was made for kids (literally, it was orig. an orphanage!) and I know I am a good parent, I have 3 great kids to prove why am I so cranky and nervous as I get ready to welcome this semi stranger into my world??? What will he look at? Will Ben burst out with his latest phrase of "Holy Crap!"? Will the huge hole in our foundation be a deterent (see for details on this chapter!) Will we sit at the table or the couches? Should I make brownies or cookies?

Such silly things to ponder, when half a world away, a mother is pregnant and facing the decision of whether to parent her child, or place her for adoption. Is she sick, did she eat tonight? Does she have a roof over her head? Is she warm enough? That is the slippery slope in this whole process. While I complain about waiting and paper work and having to clean my big old house, the woman who is growing the daughter we will eventually share, is faced with decisions I cannot even imagine having to make.

So as I clean my house tonight, taking the next step on this journey, I ask God to bless us; this mother that is growing our daughter; the daughter that will leave the arms of the mother that gives her life, and travel half way around the world to my waiting arms; and me, who already feels blessed beyond measure to hold the hope of her in my heart.

and just for good measure...pray that Ben is well behaved, the dogs don't embarass me, he doesn't look in my closet, and no bats fly our of our belfry. :)

I'll update you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The long and winding road (with NO Shortcuts!!)

Okay, so a number of you have asked for a little better look at the map we are following for this journey.

We attended the initial adoption meeting in January. After some more thought, research, and prayer, we sent in our initial application to Children's Home Society and Family Services in the Twin Cities. This was the first step that said, "Hey, we're interested in adoption and want to learn more". Once they received this (and the first of many fees:), they sent us a BIG packet full of background check info, reference letter requests, finger print requests etc. We had to get 3 references who vouched for our sanity and ability to parent. Our MD had to sign off on the status of our health and that of the boys. We had to have a notary sign several things , and we got to go to the jail to be fingerprinted! We gathered all of that up and Eric dropped it off in the cities (with another check!) So by March 24th, our application materials were all in. CHSFS then got to do our background checks and make sure we were who we said we were. (Ask Eric about his involvement in illegal guns sometime! Funny story!) Finally the middle of May we heard that we passed and it was time to come to the pre-adoption classes.

PAC (Pre Adoption Classes) were held the end of June for 2 intense days. We met in small and large groups with other families beginning the journey to their children. It was fun to talk with others who understood what we were talking about. All the info was a bit overwhelming, but by the end of the two days we were ready to get on the plane to Addis right then! After PAC, we were given an 18 question homework packet for both Eric and I to fill out. It covered a huge range of topics from our own childhood experiences to how we parent now to our kids personalities. It was a great part of the adventure and although a bit daunting, really helped me to realize how committed I am to this whole process and how God's been planting these seeds since I was a little girl. (I did learn that I have had 13 careers since graduation! Yieks!!)

Once the homework was complete, we sent it off and then were contacted by our social worker. We set up a time to meet with him for 3 hours in July. Very strange to sit and talk about yourselves for 3 hours, but it was interesting and even kind of fun in a bizarre "toot your own horn" kind of way! After that meeting, we set up a time for him to come to our house, meet the kids and get a sense of who we are at home. And that brings us to this week! He will be coming in on Friday afternoon to meet the kids and talk to us a bunch more about the Ethiopia program.

After that, he types up his report and then we get the next big packet of papers to notarize, sign, and gather (called the Dossier) this is what goes to the Ethiopian gov't. Once that is all done, (I think it should take about 2-3 weeks) we send that in ( with a little more money!) and then we are officially waiting! Right now the wait is about 5-9 months for an infant girl age 0-12 months. We will receive her picture and medical info first and then once we accept the referral, we wait about 8-12 weeks for her to process though the court system and then get the notice to travel! We will spend a week in Addis Ababa, the capital city. (I'll write more about the trip another day!) It is a long, long process, but worth every moment...because the gift at the end is worth the wait! Best case scenario, she'll come home in March or April!

Stay tuned for more pics of the house, the boys and the loot stash we have started for this little girl!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Always an Adventure

Well, I have taken the plunge and decided to start a blog. I am doing this for a few reasons. First, to keep friends and family up to date on our journey to our daughter, but also for all those taking a similar journey. I have learned so much from the blogs I have read on adoption, and in a strange cyberspace kind of way, feel connected to this family of adoption bloggers! So I thought I would join in on the conversation. You who know me, know I like to get my 2 cents in!

So, our little family of 5 has begun a most incredible adventure. We are blessed with our three boys, (my sweetpeas) and wouldn't trade them for the world. But our family isn't complete. We have so much more love to give and in all honesty, this mommy needs to parent a daughter. Being done with pregnancy, and realizing the world is full of children who need families, I think we can say God placed adoption in our hearts.

As all good adventures with God at the helm go, this journey has already had some interesting twists and turns. When the idea of adoption was just a seed in my soul, I was sure our daughter would be Asian. Maybe it was because that is what was familiar, or what was expected. As we began to read and Eric warmed to the idea, an Asian child was still our plan. God had a different plan. As we attended the information meeting at our agency, I picked up the Ethiopia flier. "I know this isn't where she is, but I am all for information" I said to myself. God smiled.

As the months passed and we learned a little more, the doors to the Asian countries started closing. The reasons where varied, but the doors were closed. I felt the hope of a daughter slipping away. Then God smiled again. The Ethiopia brochure lay open in the basket in the bathroom (you know that is where the the best reading happens!) A number of different experiences led us to believe that maybe this daughter of ours was in Africa...maybe she was in Ethiopia. From the recently adopted boy in our choir to an Oprah special...God was telling us just where she is. And so begins our journey.

I have such a peace about the whole process. (Okay peace does not necessarily mean patience!) I know that my daughter will come from Africa. I know that as I hold her in my arms, I will also embrace her culture and the country that is sharing her with me. We will change the fabric of our family for generations...we are no longer just your typical Scandinavian midwesterners...we are a multicultural family.

So come along on this journey with me. No doubt I will ramble and misspell some key words, :) but I write from my heart...and smile as the seed planted in my soul blossoms into my sunshine!