Sunday, December 19, 2010

I don't even know how to start this post! (In a good way, I promise)

Obviously my last update rocked our world about losing our little girl. We then made the decision that we were going to move forward with our little boy only. We called the agency and said that we felt the best decision was to get our little boy home the fastest way possible, and that meant not waiting for another girl referral.

That night we laid in bed and talked about how upset I was that we wouldn't have both of our children crawling around the house, and tried to process the loss of the little girl and what that meant. I will admit I was emotionally a wreck. Chris did a great job trying to comfort me, and we talked about what the future would be like with our son home, and tried to think of only positive things about the situation.

Fast forward to the next day. I got a call around 10 am from our caseworker. She said that she was completely stunned, but that we had passed court for BOTH of our children, and that the little girls' mother had signed the new additional paperwork that our country is requiring stating that she was giving up her little girl for adoption, etc., etc.

I asked what did this mean, and our caseworker told us that the kids were ours and that we would be moving foward with the adoption of both of the kids! Of course I started to cry and had to call Chris immediately. In less than 24 hours we went from losing our little girl, to being her legal parents (provided nothing happens in the 30 day non-appeal time)

We are completely stunned, and excited. I am nervous given the flip flopping of the mother that she might come back in the 30 day period and change her mind again, but I am trying to trust that this is it.

We do know that our little girl was removed from the orphanage by her mother and spent some time with her, although we do not know how long she was with her. We are also nervous about what she ate while she was gone, and her current health status, as we do not know this information. I can only suspect that after she was removed from the orphanage the mother did not have a smooth time with her, why else would she bring her back? I remember wondering if my other children would ever stop crying- if I was a 13 year old girl would I have been able to handle it?

We are praying for anything that may have happened while she was with her very young mother, and that somehow if her physical needs were not met, that her emotional needs were.

We are so excited to have finally passed court- about 14 weeks later, and are praying for a very fast 30 day non-appeal period!

Thank you so much for your prayers. We ask that you would continue to pray for our adoption. I have recently heard that getting the exit letter from the government could take quite awhile in the future, and that appts. at the embassy are not coming as fast as they used to as well. We continue to pray for our adoption, and Gods' will in all of this. It has been a crazy last few days, but we are excited to be moving forward with both of our children!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

We have lost our little girl referral.

Her mother has come back. My heart is hurting on so many different levels. We have dreamed about her being in our family for 3 months. Everyday the kids pray for her and our little boy. We though that we were going to lose her once before, and my kids took it so hard. I haven't told them yet that we really won't be able to bring her home. I have no idea what Ava will say- she has been so excited about the though of a sister.

I would never want to bring a child home that the parent still wants, but a part of me just wonders what will happen to our little girl. Her mother is around 13 or 14 years old, and lets face it, this is not a wonderful country for women and girls. I have to trust that God is in control of both our little girl, and her young mother who is still just a child herself.

Now we have to make a decision- do we wait for another referral, or do we decide to just bring our little boy home? 12 weeks and counting for court, how much time do we have to get another referral but not affect the adoption of our son? Is two still even what we are supposed to do? I want no more delays in bringing our son home.

I would appreciate your prayers. We are searching for clarity on what to do at this point.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I think I made the worst meal ever in my history of cooking- including the cooking after I was newly married and had no idea how to cook.

After a very long of day of trying to finish up some shopping, I had zero plans for supper so in desperation I looked into my pantry to see what was different than what we had eaten the last few nights. I came up with one can of collard greens, and one can of hominy.

Truly, I have no idea what possessed me to buy those two items. The only experience with collard greens that I have ever had was horrible, I must have been not looking when I grabbed that can. The hominy I do remember buying for a recipe, but then I lost the recipe and never made it. But I did have to google just what the heck hominy was. Just so you all know, it is corn that is soaked in caustic stuff (I don't know what stuff, but doesn't it just already sound healthy for you!) and it takes off the tough outer layers.

Anyway, I added half a can of cream of mushroom soup, half a jalapeno and a bunch of cheddar cheese to the hominy along with some red pepper sprinkled on top. I was following a recipe that was listed as being delicious on all recipes. I am not sure who the people are that like that recipe but they are quite clearly delirious.

For the collard greens, I cooked them in chicken broth, added spicy pepper and garlic. That was marginally okay, Ava even liked it when she dumped parmesan cheese on top and ate it on french bread. The only saving grace to the meal was the venison that we had to go with it.

Needless to say, we did not save the leftovers and my husband LOVES leftover anything.

That was one disgusting meal.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Apparently our furnace is on the blitz. Yesterday Ava came up and told me that there was a funny noise downstairs, could I come and figure it out. Last time this happened the carbon monoxide detector battery was low. This time it was loud and obnoxious noises emanating from the furnace.

This could present a huge problem as it is -14 degrees right now where I live. And it is not going to get warm any time soon. (Good thing I have my everest boots!- see previous post if you have no idea what I am talking about!)

The good news is, we still have heat, we just get the bonus noise. The bad news is the fan could go at any time and then we would not have heat. Chris is going to try and order the part today, but if he can't find it locally, it will have to come via snail mail, and obviously we really can't have it take too long. Of course, we can always pay for expedited shipping, which will cost us an arm and a leg, so now the debate is do we spring for the extra moola, or risk it? Probably we will risk it, we have good friends where we can stay at their house in a worst case scenario!

Of course, last night I had a Scensty party for my girlfriend who is just starting her business, and we were having a grand old time laughing and being silly and smelling a million (okay 80) scents for the home. It was so much fun. Until Chris came up and said "I think I broke the furnace" It was a good thing it was towards the end of the party because it put a damper on my mood just a tad. I started running around the house and putting extra blankets on the kids and trying to find the spacer heaters to be prepared. Well, turns out Chris thought it was broken because it hadn't kicked on since he opened it up to look inside, but upstairs, with all of us women laughing and having a good time, we created all of this extra heat and the furnace had no need to turn on! Funny story, and I am so glad we didn't have to go the night without heat.

Now if the furnace can only hang in there a few more days....

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bummer of an update

Well, we finally have an update. And we have not gone through court yet, 12 weeks and the wait continues. Apparently, a family from our agency had run into some issues over in Congo in trying to bring their son home. Our country coordinator and lawyer had to focus pretty much exclusively on them and were unable to do anything else. So no court for us. The good news is is that family is now home. But of course I am hugely bummed that things have not moved forward for us. Can't you hear me chanting "all in God's timing?"- both from necessity of how very true that is, but also to keep myself from breaking down into tears.

I have tried to do some tentative time schedules on when I think we might travel. It goes something like this:

Hopefully in 4 weeks we will have passed court
30 day non-objection period
30-45 days to get non-appeal letter
file I600- take about 6 weeks to get approval (current time frame by others waiting)
apply to embassy for appt. 3-4 weeks
not sure if there is a second appt. after this, or if that is when we would travel
get exit letter from DGM 2-3 weeks

So in my theoretical scenario, we are looking at possibly traveling by June. Our agency does not allow travel until all of the documents and things are ready to go. (new policy) This will have us stay very minimally once we are there to pick up our kids.

June. Our children will be almost a year old by that point, and we knew about our son at 5 days old. This time frame, I will admit, makes me sad. So much time is passing and we know about our kids but cannot get to them.

Truthfully, I am trying to keep it as realistic as possible with time frames it is currently taking for all of those things to happen. Of course, we could move faster, but we could also move slower. I try not to think about the idea of moving slower. I am already feeling like things could not move at any slower of a pace than this.

The bummer thing is that adoptions were moving at a very quick pace just 6 months ago. But I know that the program has grown by leaps and bounds, and the fact that it is new for the country and all of these things add up into more time. Also, when I consider even if we do travel in June, we still would only have been in this program for 13 months, still pretty quick when it comes to adoptions. (Total time including a country switch and waiting to see if another country would re-open, would be almost 2 years pursuing adoption) Of course, certain people in my life have more than once said "you could have had your own baby in that time" I honestly don't have the energy to respond to that question. Mostly I just want to say something not nice in return, and I know that will not help anybody.

Our kids ARE worth all of this.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I think that I might be starting to have nesting problems. You know the kind, where you fret about how your house is and clean everything in sight. Even though we have no new information on our kids and if we have passed court, I have started to think more about the bedroom they will have and what I need to do with it.

Right now, Owen is in it and will be until we actually pass court and get close to traveling and all of that fun stuff. But I am trying to get things ready as much as I can, without actually getting the room ready. It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, but gives me something to do to keep myself from going crazy. (Although one could argue that by doing things for the babies without having them I might just make myself crazier!)

His room has a white chair rail running along the wall, the bottom half is black, and the top half is gray. All of his accents are red and it looks pretty cool. I plan on keeping the black and gray, and then for the babies have an accent color of teal. I have seen all sorts of neat, cheap ideas to decorate with. This past week I made a wreath out of coffee filters and a straw wreath form I got at the good will for cheap. It turned out awesome. Google them to see what I am talking about. Anyway, you can do the same with paper mache balls and hang them from the ceiling. I plan on dyeing the coffee filters teal, and having several different sizes grouped together in the corner.

I also have this huge amazing frame from one of those old family photos taken a hundred years or so ago. Someone dontated the frame to our garage sale and I couldn't let it go. Right now it is just hanging out in our basement, but I am going to spray paint it black, hang it on the wall, and then put up our kids' names in wood letters inside of it. I would love to say that I am creative enough to come up with these ideas on my own, but I am not. I googled black and white nurseries and all sorts of awesome stuff came up.

Plus, we are fortunate enough to have an IKEA about an hour away, and I must admit I am obsessed. People generally have a love/hate relationship with that store, and I am not ashamed to admit that I love it! They have super cool fabric to make curtains, if I don't find anything already, and I love that their plastic stuff doesn't have BPA in it. There will be plenty of things to help with the nursery.

Of course, moving Owen in with his sister is going to present some challenges. Lately, they have not been the best of friends. Our plan is to set up the adjoining area to Ava's room with his toys, so he can spend most of his time in there, and basically only have to sleep in her room at night. (Where the egress window is.) Unfortunately, we can't build Owen's new room until the ground thaws again and that is going to be a loooong time from now. They will just have to get along!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

You know it is time to stop showering with your children when your son looks at you and says "Mom, your stomach is huge! Especially when you lean back!" We were in a hurry to get somewhere so I told my 3 year old that he could just shower with me, and the above blow to my confidence came from that!

Of course he did follow up quite nicely with "But your stomach doesn't always look big, Mom." How sweet of him! I believe the term for that is constructive criticism (sort of, I am not sure if that is the correct term, but it sounds pretty good!)

I have to laugh at him in general when it comes to baths and the like, because he absolutely LOVES them. As in he will come up to me and tell me he has "stink butt" so he needs to take a bath. Which involves bunches of bubbles, toys, and about an hour long in the tub. I will walk in and he will be laying down so his ears are in the water and he will be saying things and listening to how his voice sounds. This used to make me panic because of the whole fear of drowning in the tub my mom instilled in me as a child, but I just obsessively check on him.

Then he has to wait until all of the water is drained out before he gets out, but the very last thing he does is flip over onto his stomach and do his "exercises". This involves him sliding back and forth in the tub and using his feet to push off the one end to get speed and distance. Please note that this is done in a regular size bathtub, so I am not quite sure what "distance" he is talking about. But at this point it has become a ritual and one that he cannot stray from!

I asked him why he couldn't just stay 3 and little forever, and he told me "God didn't plan it that way mom". I guess I couldn't have said it better myself.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December already

I cannot believe it is December already! Where has the time gone? We have officially been pursuing adoption for 13 months now. Not all of that time was in our current country. We had a country switch, an agency switch, and about 4 months where we spent time looking at other countries and waiting for one to open. What a journey. Still no real end in sight. We continue to wait on court, and haven't heard much recently as far as updates. There are a couple of families in country, and they have been tied up with them. Apparently there is some new paperwork that the consular is requesting. This waiting game as time ticks by has been hard. And our children just grow older, each day without us. I am still trying to patiently wait and trust that God's plan is the best, but I will admit that my heart breaks when I look at their pictures and know that I am missing them. Still, there is some reason for them not coming to us now, even though we don't know what it is.

Our girls weekend was so much fun. We went to a thrift store where this little old woman asked us if we were college students! Very sweet of her, but we had to laugh because some of us have children that are almost half way to college themselves! She said "I think I am going to just quit today and hang out with you girls the rest of the weekend! I have money!" It was very adorable. And defintely a much needed break- it seems that all of us have been bogged down by things in our lives recently, and so it was a good rejuvination for us.

The husbands did well with the kids. I am always half hesitant/half excited to hear what happens when I am gone. Chris and another hubby of a wife on the weekend, took all of our kids sledding. Apparently it was a fun-filled event, that wound up with two kids face plowing into the snow and bleeding. When I saw the pictures it looked like one little boy had jam on his face- nope blood! Plus Ava "sort of" slid off the side of a hill (which she called a cliff) and into the woods. And then there was the time when one of the boys was going too fast so Chris tried to grab him to keep him from "falling of the side", when he grabbed the sled instead and the boy kept going! You have to love winter!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's 2:52 AM, and I absolutely cannot sleep. I went to a friend's Scentsy party and had 2 cups of coffee and a Coke. Pretty sure I could not be more wired than I am right now. I tried so hard to lay in bed, but my husband's peaceful breathing was driving me up a wall, so I decided that catching up on blog reading (and writing) would be the best use of my time.

Given the current time, I don't exactly have all that much that is intelligible to say. But I did, however, find winter boots this morning, (after all the crazy rush of Black Friday was over) that are ranked to -148F. Yep, you read that correctly. -148F. They will be perfect for sitting in a deer stand, or if I ever get the urge, to climb Mt. Everest. I walked around the store a fair amount of time to make sure they fit right, and I have to admit, I probably looked slightly like an astronaut. When I finally took them off, I swear my legs and feet stayed warm for a long time afterwards. I can already say that I am in love with them.

Still no adoption news, but I am just going to gloss over that and move on to: my girls getaway tomorrow! Because it is much more fun and doesn't cause me any anxiety to think about.

3 of my girlfriends and I are going for a girls weekend tomorrow (well, actually today- in 6 hourse, I should probably be sleeping!) I am hugely looking forward to this as it will be a good break for all of us, and is coming at a much needed time for everyone involved. Our schedule is to pretty much hit up every thrift store we can find, and just chill. We have 13 children between the 4 of us, so this will be almost like a miracle for us! Hopefully our husbands will survive. I know they will, but with all of the "what are we going to do without you", you would think that I was leaving for a month! I honestly can say I cannot remember the last time I went away with a good group of friends and had some girl time.!

Okay, now that I am pumped up about my trip, which I still haven't packed for, I wonder if I should bring my new Everest boots.... I should probably try to go back to sleep. Except I am hungry, so maybe I should eat something. But doesn't that start your system running again? Which will in turn keep me up longer?! Night blogging is something I think I should stay away from!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

We have our good friend from Uganda here in the states. He has been here for almost a month, and returns on Wednesday. We are sad to see him go as he was hoping to stay a couple weeks into December. However, today I was moved by the blessings that have happened recently regarding Uganda and the orphanage that our friend runs.

This morning we were able to pack 3 huge suitcases with items to bring for the orphans. I am just so pumped at peoples generosity and I so wish I could be there to see the kids' faces. The best news by far is that our church did an offering to raise money so that we could take care of the food needs for all 55 kids for the next year. The youth alone raised $2700, and the total so far is $8,500! Food for a year cost the kids about $4800. That is to eat twice a day, everyday. I just cannot belive the amount of money raised, and I am so excited to see what will happen with the excess above the cost of food. We have a relatively small church and as a group, our hearts have really been heavy for these kids in Uganda. It is so neat to see a group of people moved, and then respond.

I also may have a chance to return to Uganda in February 2011. I would have to completely fundraise the amount to go due to our adoption expenses. I am definitely spending a lot of time praying if this is what God would have me do. I am beyond excited about the idea of it, but am not sure if it is God's will for me right now. Of course, when we went last January, we made the decision to go and then left 3 weeks later! It will all come together if it is supposed to!

Who knows what is in store for me in the near future! It sure is fun to think about. Uganda totally transformed my life last year. From working mother, to stay at home mom amongst the least of the changes due to that trip. I miss the people and the country immensely. REALLY hope that it is what I am supposed to do!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I have to admit that it has gotten harder for me to do posts on here on a regular basis. Our family has been super busy, obligations during the day, at night, and especially on weekends.

Plus there's that annoying thing that we just don't have any updates regarding the adoption.

Well, technically I guess that isn't totally true. We got an update this past Monday that said we were still waiting on court, which was the update we got a few weeks ago. So since it wasn't anything new, I don't really feel like it was an "update". Meanwhile this coming Monday will be week 9 waiting for court. If I could scream through the computer I would!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Deer Hunting

This past weekend and through Monday, we all went up to my parents house. My hubby is a big deer hunter and we use venison almost exclusively in place of hamburger when cooking, and so for 9 years this has been our routine.

My brother lives up by my parents as well, and as you can imagine, is also big into hunting and all things outdoors. He has not had any success this year so far, and is starting to get antsy. Chris has gotten two, so my brother asked that Chris go hunting for him, and if he sees anything to shoot it.

My hubby has asked me multiple times in the last 9 years of marriage to go hunting with him, and I have politely declined. Chris is one of the uber hunters, who stays in the stand the entire day. Doesn't pee, doesn't eat, doesn't drink anything. Plus it is almost always very cold out. Doesn't sound fun if you ask me. However, my sister in law was over with their little girl and got talking about how there were deer right by her house and they probably could have been shot right off their deck (which, by the way, is illegal).

Between the two of us, we developed a brilliant, if naieve, plan to go hunting ourselves, and get the deer for her hubby. Let me be clear on this- I have never hunted in my life. I once shot a bb gun at a squirrel in my mother in laws yard, but I missed. Amanda and I were getting super excited with our plans to go out and bring home the meat, and were talking about where we should go and all that stuff like we knew exactly what to do. My husband and dad are looking at us like we have gone crazy, but they love hunting, so it's not like they discouraged it.

We got a crash course in gun safety: essentially this is where the safety is, you have to turn it off to shoot, look through the scope and line it up at this part of the deer, don't fall out of the deer stand or shoot each other. You know, all the important stuff so you don't die by gunfire that could drop an elk. My dad decided that he would go and sit in a stand close to us, partly to give us any help if we needed it, and partly I think to watch us and see what we would do. And partly because my mom is slightly irrational, and thought for sure that we would both end up dying(Chris decided to go hunting in a different section of the woods.)

We get out to the tree, climbed up and sat down. And then....we waited. That is pretty much what deer hunting is. Sitting in a tree, trying to stay warm, and hoping against hope, that a deer will come walking past you so you can blast him for food. We never saw a single deer, we did however see a tiny little chickadee. We also heard some neighboring cows going crazy for who knows what reason. I checked my watch twice. The first time after we had only been out for 25 minutes because my toes were starting to get cold, and the second time an hour later. Surprisingly, two hourse went by really quickly. Still, it would have made the story of a lifetime, and been grounds for ruthless teasing of my brother if his wife and I had gotten a deer when he couldn't!

Amanda and I both have plans to take gun safety training (which technically you need to hunt) and go next year with everyone. Regardless of our lack of bagging a deer, we both kind of got into it, which I think after 9 years of asking, my hubby is praising God for!

(Plus I have a really cool gun name, they want to get me a gun that is called "Savage", and I said that I wanted it to be black, because black matches everything- which is clearly so important in hunting, and so we came up with 3 good gun names: Black Savage, Black Widow, and because my hubby doesn't want me to be too manly, Black Beauty!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Apple Cider Vinegar

I have several friends who are fairly in to "alternative" medicine. With a degree in microbiology, alternative, just isn't something I gave a whole lot of credit to. I vaccinate my kids for everything, as long as they are not sick and don't have a fever.

Then last year people started freaking out about the whole swine flu thing and people literally ran to the clinic for their shot because they all thought they were going to die. By the time I got around to calling to get my kids the shot, they were out of swine flu and regular flu vaccines. So we didn't do them, and guess what? No flu and we are all still alive. I started researching into the swine flu vaccine, and I learned a lot. Probably wouldn't have vaccinated them anyway had I done my research before hand (that is saying a lot for a former microbiologist!). Regardless of that, it sort of opened the door for me to look a little more at some of this so called fringe medicine. (By the way, I still think it is important to vaccinate your children for the majority of the diseases there are. It would be dangerous for everyone in the world to not vaccinate, because of something called herd immunity. The majority of people are vaccinated and have Ab response to diseases which thus prevents it from getting out into the population at large. If everyone stopped vaccinating you wouldn't have that, and diseases would make a much larger and aggressive come back. I know some of you probably disagree with me in a big way, and that is okay, but this is my blog, so I say how I feel!)

Anyway, onto Apple Cider Vinegar. I seem to have all of these random, bizarre health issues that aren't really bad, but mostly annoying. A friend of mine suggested drinking apple cider vinegar, but it had to be the raw, unfiltered type that costs $4 for a teeny tiny bottle. So I, in my naive type of thinking thought no sweat. 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar a day? I got it covered. Then I opened the bottle and actually smelled the stuff. So I started reading the directions and it said to mix with 8 oz. of water. I did that. Cold water . Let me tell you, I probably could not drink 8 oz. of cold apple cider vinegar water to save my life. I gagged the whole time I tried to drink it. Then I tried to not breathe and chug it down. Didn't work. So, I decided to forget mixing it, I was going to drink it straight up- 2 tsp. of straight apple cider vinegar down the throat. It burns like crazy. Especially for someone who used to have GERD, and is still prone to excessive heartburn issues. I would drink 2 tsp. and then chug a bunch of Gaviscon as a chaser.

Then my sweet aunt said you have to warm it up, add a little honey and drink it like tea. And you know what? It is much better warm, I think I actually might be able to do this! It is supposed to help with all sorts of ailments from woman problems, to skin issues to just about anything you can think of. My one girlfriend has those little, white bumps on the tricep part of her arm. She rubs it on the outside in the shower, and those bumps have totally gone away. This makes me a little nervous as I am drinking something that makes skin bumps go away, but I am going to roll with it. Ask any person older than 70 and they will tell you this is nothing new to them. I am surprised at how many people in that age range have done this for years.

Now I have started to take things like fish oil, and flaxseed and cranberry supplements. I find that I want to know some of this alternative medicine! I do think that I actually feel better now that I am doing all this stuff. Could be the placebo effect, but who cares if it works!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic

We learned that the unconfirmed rumor was not substantiated, and we are moving forward with the adoption of our little girl. While we are very thankful for this, I am a little nervous as well. Once we pass court, there is a 30 day wait period where anyone who thinks they have legal claim to the children can try to prove their grounds to claim the child or the mother may change her mind. Given the rumors about our daughter, this time frame still puts on us edge. Even though we only have 1 picture of her, we have thought of all the different ways she will be part of our family. It would be heartbreaking to have that taken away from us. But we are trusing that God will have the best plan laid down for us as well as for the little girl, and that what will happen is meant to be.

In the mean time, I will continue to try and "patiently" wait for court to happen, this week is week 7. The last two families with our agency came out at 3 and 4 weeks. I do not know the reason for our extended court time, but am trying to trust that it is all for good. Maybe it will allow for the new I600 filing to be smooth and quick by the time it is our turn!

Of course, I seem to remember asking God for patience, so let this be a caution for all that what you ask for, you will probably get and in ways you could not imagine! I was hoping for a switch that he pulled and boom, automatic patience. But nope, instead I get, deal with the situation and get patience as you go through it! A little rougher than the first option!

Friday, November 5, 2010

If you would please pray for the adoption of our little girl our family would be very grateful.

Yesterday we were made aware that something has come up that could prevent her from coming home and being a part of our family. Right now, it has not been confirmed, and I don't want to go into anymore details until we have accurate information. But we truly need the power of your prayers in this situation.

For those that are adopting out of the same country, don't panic! It has nothing to do with the program, just specifically to our little girl.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Can you help me?

I am writing this blog post to ask for help.

When Chris and I were in Uganda, we spent a lot of time with an amazing woman and her family. Her name is Pastor Juliet, and her husband is Pastor Tom. They have two daughters, Esther who is 4, Joy is 3, and a son Joshua, who is 1.

Chris and I have felt that God is asking us to help this family out. Another couple in our bible study have also felt a calling to help someone, and we together have decided to "adopt" the family and contribute to their needs financially.

They currently live in a two room house with no running water or bathroom. It is close to where their church is, and behind a gate for added safety, and while it doesn't sound like much for us, it has served them well so far. However, they are 5 months behind on rent. Rent for their house is $100 a month. Chris and I do not have the money to get them caught up and current on their rent, but combined with the other family we do have enough to take care of rent in the future if we can get rid of their current debt.

The church where they pastor is in an extremely poor part of the town, and the total tithe that it takes in per month is about $10.00. Pastor Juliet and her family rely on God's provisions each and every single day that they might have food for their family and clothes on their backs. I cannot imagine being in the same situation and trusting God for him to provide for me in that way. Just today I had McDonalds for lunch with a friend, and then went to Costco and bought food in bulk. It is a situation that I cannot even fathom, and one that is so far from my mind, sometimes it easy to forget how much people suffer- even as I go through an adoption and know the statistics.

We would definitely appreciate your prayers for Pastor Juliet and Tom and their family. I know in my life I have seen the power of prayer working powerfully, and I believe that God has done amazing things through Juliet, and will continue to do so in the future.

If you are able to contribute any amount to getting rid of their debt we would be forever appreciative of you. We are hoping to alleviate this burden from them so they can move forward in ministry without the fears about providing a house hovering over them. If you cannot contribute financially, I completely understand, but I would ask that you pray for them and the church that they are responsible for.

If you would like to contribute financially to this family, please email me at: and I can give you details on sending the money to us, and then we will send it to the family through Western Union.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this and prayerfully considering a way that you can help.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Candy

The kids' Halloween Candy has turned into the ultimate bribe- and I am loving it.

As in: If you kids fight you will both loose a piece of candy! Works like a charm. Plus Chris benefits because when the kids loose candy, he gains it! I, on the other hand, am trying to stay away from it. I looove chocolate and am afraid that once I start, I will not be able to stop.

Today I had to go and exchange our babies' take home outfits. We had picked out these adorable coming home outfits, but after receiving recent pictures of the kids, and knowing our daughters weight, what we got for them is almost guaranteed to be too small. At least now if their clothes are a little too big, they will be comfortable, as opposed to too small and feeling all tight and icky.

It is kind of a tricky time to be looking for clothes for the kiddos. Not too worried about our son because we have all of Owen's old stuff, but am a little paranoid for our girl. We have nothing left of Ava's. Plus if the kids come home 6 months from now it will be April sometime, so while it will still be on the cold side it will be getting nice, and most of the stuff in the stores is for cold weather. Oh the dilemmas! And then I have to keep myself from going crazy with the cute little girl clothes! I still think that dressing a little girl is way more fun. The bows! The colors! The tiny little silk skirts that are so adorable but impractical!

Must get control!

Monday, November 1, 2010


At our house, I have the rule for the kids that their rooms need to be cleaned before they can watch a movie. Ava ususally has to help Owen with his room too, because she spends a significant amount of time in there messing things up as well.

This morning they were frantically cleaning away, because they haven't watched a movie in around 4 days, and oh my goodness, the world must be ending! After everything was all done to satisfaction, they trooped off downstairs to pick out the movie.

I also have the rule that they must agree on the movie they will watch. If they can't agree, we don't start one until they can compromise. Usually this involves something along the lines of I will watch this one, and next time you can pick it.

Today though, they came up together happy as clams, and presented me the movie- Tinkerbell the Lost Treasure. There is NO WAY that Owen would have agreed to this movie without some form of signficant negotiation. He is more of the Kung Fu Panda and Cars type. I turned to Ava and asked her what she promised Owen in return. She told me that she gave him money. At which point Owen had this huge grin on his face and was all happy. How much you are asking? 7 cents. 7 cents is all it took for my poor son to agree to that movie. He has zero concept of money, and the more pieces of it, the better it must be.

I don't know whether I should allow her to negotiate in this way, I much prefer the I will watch this one, and you pick next time, but it was so funny, and fairly ingenious of her, that I turned away and let it pass. Of course, it is probably not something I should encourage, or I should perhaps teach Owen the value of money, but it is funny, and on a Monday, I can appreciate that!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

We got a new picture of our son yesterday! He looks so adorable, and seems to be getting food whenever he wants it! I stared at his picture for a really long time. He has these huge, expressive eyes and he is looking right into the camera. I so just want to go there and scoop him up and bring him and his sister home!

I talked with another woman adopting from our country, and she heard that time for court was more typical of around 6 weeks- exactly the week we are starting, so I am praying that this is our week, and we will pass court. This mama wants her babies home!

Every meal and at nighttime, Owen prays that his brother and sister come home safe and are getting big. It must be so hard for him to undersand, he sees the pictures, and we talk about them, and yet they are not here. How does a 3 year old make sense of that?

We did decide to take the kids out around for candy tonight. A friend of mine gave us a wolf costume for Owen to wear, so I went and bought some red fabric that can be used for decoration at Christmas, for Ava to wear over one of her dresses and be Little Red Riding Hood. We will head over to a friend's house for supper and to watch the football game, and then will just go to a couple of houses in their neighborhood. Pretty low key.

Except Owen keeps saying that it is a "bad" wolf costume. We have this really old Little Red Riding Hood book courtesy of Chris' parents. I don't know how often you get access to old children's stories, but sometimes they aren't all that appropriate for children. In this story it basically talks about how bad this wolf is, and then he gets chopped into pieces by the woodcutter. No wonder kids get nightmares! We don't actually read it to them, but Ava can read, and we think she found it and "accidentally" told her brother what it said. I think newer versions of the same story are similair, but this one went above and beyond what it typically says.

We told the kids that Chris and I got all things chocolate that they received tonight, that didn't go over too well with the kids. Have to admit, sometimes it is so fun to tease your kids! (I mean in a loving, and appropriate way!)

Friday, October 29, 2010

We got the medicals back on our baby girl- healthy! Super happy, because we had to proceed forward with her adoption without knowing her medicals so we didn't run the risk of missing our opportunity to add her to court and complete as one adoption. She also weighs 15.6 lbs. at 3 months old! A family that is leaving next week is bringing some blankets and clothes to our children, but I hope she will be able to fit in what we sent her!

Today is the day that Ava's hat is due. After running around the house like crazy trying to find a hat to use (there was no way I was spending money on a hat for a one day project!), we finally found a cute one. I wrapped a scarf around it and shoved some little stuff animals into it. But, that one got nixed by Ava who said she didn't want to look "dumb". She then brought me a butterfly and a seashell, which was her idea of looking cool apparently, but we didn't have a good way to fix the shell to the hat, and I was not going to super glue the shell on. Ava started crying because she didn't know how she was going to do a hat. I got frustrated and said let's wait until your dad comes home.

About 10 minutes later she came upstairs with a winter hat that has millions of stripes running around it. She then cut out small pieces of paper and taped them to her hat, along with the word "striped". And you know what? That totally works for me!

I know we are probably walking that fine line between doing an assignment and pushing the limits of being lazy, but I talked to a couple other moms and they all agreed that this had to be one of the silliest things ever. Plus they were all just as horrified of the vocab. list as I was. (And no, striped was not one of the words, but it is way better than annihilate!) It is one of those things where if they grade them, I absolutely will not care if she doesn't get a good grade on it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So my daughter is supposed to make a hat at home and then be able to wear it to school on Friday in lieu of a costume, because our schools don't allow "holiday" things. I am actually neutral about Halloween, so this doesn't really bother me. However, last year when they had to bring socks to school around Christmas to fill with items, I was more than a little annoyed that they were specifically told not to bring Chistmas stockings. Really? Because Christ is just so hard to associate with? Because someone who died for this whole entire world is so threatening to you?

Anyway, I digress.

The decorative hats idea came on an orange sheet of paper, with a bunch of vocabulary words to use in a "fun and interesting way". They are to pick one of the words and then build a theme and decorate the hat in that theme.

Keep in mind that Ava is in second grade as you read the following list of vocabulary words that are supposed to spark a creative hat making idea.

1. Annihilate- probably a good Halloween themed word
2. Closefisted- lets teach our children this one so they can all be Scrooges
3. Knothole- can't really say much about this one other then it seems a little weird
4. Useless- my hat would probably have this word on it, followed by "what this activity is"
(I probably seem like a huge grouch right now, but seriously, this just isn't that fun
for kids!)
5. Killjoy- enough said
6. Writhe- not sure how a kid would work with this one
7. Blockhead- do they really want us to explain the meanings of these words?

These are just several of the vocabulary word options they have for their hat. Then there are a few that tug at my memory, but I can't honestly tell you what exactly they are at the moment.

1. proboscis (I keep thinking nose, but I have no idea why)
2. xylem - pretty sure it has to do with plants

And then there is the word that I read wrong, and freaked out that they would have it on their list, but thankfully I calmed down enough to realize I was way off. I read "fornication", actual word: fortification. I was so ready to call the school!

Can't believe they are using the above words as second grade vocab. words. In second grade, I seem to recall trying to memorize my address correctly. Times have changed!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last week I chaperoned our youth group trip to a convention. We had 4o students that then joined 4,000 other high schoolers. We had an awesome time, but I am still trying to recover! I am an in bed at 9:00 type of person. The first night we were up till 1 which was better than I thought it would be, and the second until 3. Which was just as hard as it sounds!

Because of that, I haven't had any time to update on the blog. Unfortunately, there really isn't anything to update. But I thought I would post something so you all didn't think I fell off the planet.

No word on if we have gone to court. Today starts week 5 of waiting, but I am not sure if adding our daughter to the court papers changed anything or not. I struggle with how often I should contact our caseworker. I try to go at least a week between any contacts to give the poor woman a break! There were times where I felt I was stalking her I emailed so frequently.

We are "planning" on April to go and get the kids. That is six months from now. We are really praying that we are close to that time. Anything sooner would just be a blessing, anything later would be a huge bummer. At this point, this seems a relatively reasonable amount of time as far as guessing when we will go. But who knows!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby Girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday, we received the referral of a gorgeous 3 month old! Her picture just makes me want to squeeze her! She appears to be very healthy, with little fat rolls on her arms and bright eyes. She also already has a fro about 3 inches tall! Our son has zero hair, but she is more than making up for it!

It is so amazing how life works out, and I am so thankful that God is in control and I am not. Just two posts ago, I had written about how it really didn't look like a girl may work out for us. And I was truly fine with that, but God blessed us anyways!

Yesterday I contacted the director of our agency since I did not know if our caseworker was back yet. I basically explained that we were urgently trying to figure out if we had gone to court, so we could know if a little girl was a possibility. That we ultimately wanted a little girl, but we did not want court to be put on hold to wait for her for any reason, and that we just wanted to get our son home. Chris and I had a conversation on the phone shortly after that email, and I basically said that I did not want to do all of this over again at a separate time for a little girl if she did not come together with our son. Traveling twice by myself wasn't hugely appealing, and there have been some changes to filing the I600 after you pass court, where now you do it in the states if you are not at the embassy appt. in country. Rumors have said that it can possily add as much as 2 months to the system, although I have heard that they don't expect it to add too much as well. But, if you go to the embassy appt. in country with your child, you can file in the country and avoid a possible two month delay. However, this comes with a lenghty stay in country, around 2-3 weeks, and I definitely didn't want to be there by myself for that length of time.

So anyway, hubby and I are discussing all of this on the phone at about 9:30 yesterday morning. I get on the computer two hours later after raking leaves, and I have an email from the director, who has a referral for us! Amazing, I had written a little girl basically off, but God had not! She told us that we had not gone to court yet, but expected us to very shortly. We had to kick it in high gear!

My husband works about 45 minutes away, be we needed to get a notarized tribunal letter signed for our daughter and back so they can translate it and add her to our court date. I drove down to the cities to meet my husband, scan all documents and email back to our agency, plus overnight the hard copies! Our director confirmed with her contacts that we would still be able to add our little girl to court and move through the system as one adoption!

I truly am surprised and amazed. I really did not think that we would get a little girl in time. Chris and I hung up her picture next to our son on the fridge and stared at them. Then we turned and stared at each other. Two! two babies! A 2 month and a 3 month old! The Nelson world is going to be rocked!! I may be panicking slightly now, because we have nothing for a little girl. We got rid of Ava's stuff like 5 years ago because "We weren't having any more children!"

I am so excited I think I might have to breathe into a paper bag!

Monday, October 18, 2010

We have been up at my parents house for the last four days. It is never dull there.

The excitement of the weekend is when my brother and his wife came up and brought their two tiny dogs. My kids love those things. They probably way 3 lbs. each and they are cute, but mostly annoying. (Ryan- I know you sometimes read this, so please don't tell your wife I said her dogs were annoying!)

Anyway, she had put them outside so they could go to the bathroom right away in the morning. My parents live on 200 acres, so they are able to not worry that they are going to get hit by a car. Someone looked out the window for who knows what reason, and noticed that there were white chicken feathers all over the yard. LOTS of chicken feathers, scattered in piles. You got it. Their 3 lb. dog attacked one of my parents chickens, and basically bit the butt off it!

Owen said "I didn't know that dogs could bite the tails off chickens". My poor sister in law felt terrible, but I pretty much had to laugh. Plus, one of the chickens is a psycho and will come and peck at your legs, I am hoping that was the one. My dad ended up having to catch the chicken and kill it because it hadn't died yet. My son said "We should eat it". He is exactly like his father, who when we told the incident over the phone said "Did you eat it?" Um no. We don't eat chickens that have been mangled by a dog!

Needless to say, I see years of teasing my brother and his wife about their dogs and the chicken. This is the stuff legends are made of!

In adoption news, still nothing. The last family that came out of court happened in 3 weeks, we are at the start of week 4. But things could have happened and we are not aware of it. Plus, our caseworker's sister died, and I am not sure when she will be back, so there could be news that we don't know yet.

I feel the frustration starting to kick in. Visa appointments have been taking a long time to get as well. One person said it took 5 months from the time they filed their orphan petition after passing court to get their visa. I know they had some problems and miscommunications along the way, but still. It is not the kind of news you want to here. For now, I am thinking the ultimate best case scenario to get our son is the end of January, worst case, maybe April or longer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

That's a bummer

We have planned on adopting two children at the same time. We have known about our son for almost 2 months, and still no referral for a little girl has come in. This morning we learned that if they do not process through court and the system at the same time then we would have to pay the full price for our second referrral.

We were not aware of that fact. We don't have the money currently for a second set of full price fees.

It is an interesting scenario for us. Originally, we intended to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. We had considered twins, but decided against it. Then we traveled to Uganda where we fell in love with a set of twins. The countries legal guardianship shut down, and we ultimately went with another country. Because of our experience with the twins, we decided that wherever we ended up choosing we would do two at a time. We always knew we wanted to do two, we just didn't always consider the idea of two at a time.

Fast forward several months, when we signed up with our new agency we requested two children. One boy and One girl. The referral for our son came in and we were so ecstatic. We just assumed that a girl would follow shortly. Only she hasn't.

Now we are considering several different options. Perhaps we are not meant to adopt a little girl. This would be full circle for me since I was the one who originally wanted to adopt just a daughter in the beginning. Or perhaps we are meant to adopt a girl older that what we had planned. We requested two children under the age of 12 months at the time of referral. Our agency has had several little girls over our age range that have been referred since we received our son.

The tricky part in all of this, aside from discerning what we are supposed to do, is the fact that the last couple of families that have come out of court through our agency came out when the agency didn't even know they had gone in! It is sort of this mad rush against time and the possibility that we may not know when we go to court. How can we add a child to a court date if we may not know when that is?

I do feel peaceful about it though, surprisingly. God is in control and we will end up with the children we are meant to have. Chris is a little more apprehensive. He leans more to the thought that we are ecstatic about our son, and all of our energy is going into him, but once he is home, are we going to mourn the fact that we didn't try for a girl?

I don't have the answer to that question.

We would appreciate your prayers as we move through the next week or two. Truly, we have no idea how much time we may have to get a referral for a little girl. Court is estimated at 1-2 months. We are on approximately week 3 1/2.

Ah, this crazy thing called International adoption!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Last night we got a new picture of our son. He looked so different from the first picture, that I would have sworn up and down it was a different baby. So much so, that I emailed our caseworker, and basically said, thanks for the new picture, but are you sure this is our son? She assured us that yes, it was our son.

We had friends over that are in a bible study on Tuesday nights with us. I busted out the two pictures and had them try and decide if they thought it was the same boy. Both of them said they really feel like it is the same child. In the first picture he is looking straight at the camera, and is making a face like he is about ready to cry. In the second, he has his head turned slightly and is puckering his lips. I am going to trust their thoughts because A. they both have more children than I do, and B. they are not as emotionally freaked out about it as I am.

Regardless of how different he looks in the pictures, he is absolutely adorable in both of them. In the second, his cheeks are filling out nicely and I still just want to kiss those gorgeous lips of his! It appears that he is very healthy and getting food whenever he wants it.

The pictures are so much fun to get, but it is so hard knowing he is growing and changing so fast that I can't even believe it is the same child, and yet, I have not held him or seen him. It makes my heart hurt to know that he will be at least 6 months old before I even get to see him. All that time away from me.

I just pray that he is being well taken care of and loved, and that he is able to somehow know that God loves him so much, and that he has a family that is coming. We are coming, slowly, but as fast as we can.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Yesterday was one of those days where I felt like supermom. I managed to get an extraordinary amount of things done in one day. I impressed myself!

We have 8 huge trees in our backyards that the leaves fall off every year. Because we live in town, the city comes around and will suck up our leaves with this neat truck if we can get them to the curb in time. Yesterday I decided to call city hall and see when our leaf pickup date was because I was starting to see a lot of piles around the neighborhood. Turns out it is today.

So the kids and I quick went outside and started raking, and raking and raking. We actually had to break it up, but managed to rake the entire yard in one day. My hands have blisters all over them. Ava and Owen did a pretty good job as well. They could stay focused for about 15 minutes, and then they realized that it was way more fun to jump into the leaves then rake them. Still we got it done.

Then I decided to clean out half of the garage. Only half because on the other side is all of Chris' fishing junk- I mean super important stuff. We are trying to get the garage clean so we can actually park in the garage during winter. I hate having to go some place and wiping mounds of snow off the car when it is -15 outside. Not my idea of fun. In general, I am not a winter person. Of course, why I reside in a state with winter practically 6 months of the year is beyond me.

Anyway, I was sweeping the garage and noticed something weird on the ground. I couldn't quite figure out what it was. Got up close and it was a completely flat, basically mummified mouse. Disgusting. I have no idea how long it takes a mouse to go completely flat and turn into a mummy. But I am going to guess a long time. I did get half the garage looking absolutely beautiful.

And finally, when we were done with all of the outside work, I went inside and baked an apple pie from scratch.

Now the only problem is, I may have set the bar too high for myself!

PS- Nothing on the adoption front regarding news for those of you who read this for info. on adoptions. Believe me, when I know something new- you will too.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday it was 84 degrees. So naturally, we decided (that would be my hubby) that it would be the perfect "last chance" to go fishing before it got nasty and we had to fish on the ice in a shack. I didn't actually mind this idea because it allows for me to sit in a boat and read magazines, and not have to worry about the dishes or the laundry getting done, which is what happens at home when I sit and read magazines.

My daughter wanted to go swimming. I told her that this probably wasn't a good idea, because although it feels like summer, the water isn't summer temperature, but Chris backed her up and said that it sounded like a good idea to him. Keep in mind we didn't get out on the lake until a little after 5, and the sun wasn't exactly shining like a beacon.

Being the brave man that he is, Chris jumped into the water first. He really had to do it by default because both Ava and Owen don't like being the first one in. He basically had a heart attack the moment he got all the way in. Then Ava and Owen quickly followed, and almost just as quickly tried to get back out again. The good news is, Chris had the foresight to bring clothes for them to change into. They lasted in the water about 3 minutes. After I hauled them back in and changed them into warm clothes, Chris admitted that it was probably the coldest water he had ever been in. Um, duh. Any moderately smart person would know that you don't go swimming in the lake in the Northern US in October. Ever heard of hypothermia?

No dull moments here at the Nelson house.

They were warm in their clothes, so Chris continued to fish, I continued to read, and the kids played with worms the rest of the evening. They put them all over their arms and legs and down each other's clothes. Gross. But at least I am not raising sissies!

I also finished the top of my quilt this weekend. Quilt in a day took a week. But to be fair, it wasn't seven days of constant quilting. I wouldn't be able to sit that still for my life. The picture is below. it turned out fairly decent, although I ended up messing up the corners quite a bit. Oh well, it is only my second attempt at a real quilt.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

To keep myself from going insane regarding the fact that we are totally just waiting on court to happen, and the fact that we DON'T have a referral for a little girl yet, and I am starting to get paranoid about the whole process and that we will end up with zero babies, I have decided to sew a quilt. Yes, I need a hobby.

I hoofed it down to JoAnn Fabrics with a quilt in a day book for the type of quilt called Boston Common. I spent a long time in front of the fabric section trying to be artistic and all that stuff while my son built a fort in the cart with all of the bolts of fabric I kept adding. Finally, I got what I figured would be a decent looking color scheme. (Later my husband would tell me that it was retro, which really wasn't what I was going for, but he didn't say it in a mean way, so I can't get too upset).

Anyway, this book says "quilt in a day". I have put approximately 3 days into this quilt, and so far, I have the middle section done, and a couple of fancy ends. After 3 days. Hmmm. The book says "quilt in a day". Then I open it to the back, where this older granny looking lady who created the book stated that she sewed the top in 15 hours. It took a professional 15 HOURS. Not exactly quilt in a day. Now I am hoping to make "quilt in a week", but we will have to see. I am not really all that artsy fartsy. (I hate that term, but what else do you use?) But it has been a good diversion from obsessing about everything adoption related. Of course, my checkbook can't keep handling me making a quilt a week until we can go and get our children home, so after this, I will need to find a new, less expensive hobby. I will post a picture in the event I ever finish the darn thing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

He needs his brother......

I think this picture pretty much sums up the fact that Owen needs his brother home, like right now! Someday I am sure he will be mad at me for posting this picture. But he was actually feeling pretty cool that he and his sister were matching in "dresses".

I do believe that our house needs a little more maleness to it!

We did get the toilet fixed. Chris went hunting and I panicked because I had two kids looking at me that I knew were just going to have to go number 2. So I did what any person who doesn't want to pay weekend plumber prices: google it. You would be amazed at the advice found for clogged toilet. I was actually quite impressed. (For some reason, every time I use the word "quite" it makes me feel British! Don't know why that is...) Anyways, I found the advice to dump a box of baking soda in the toilet, then slowly adding a medium size bottle of vinegar. It's like a science experiment right there in the toilet, your kids will think its awesome- I promise! Then add a gallon of hot water and let sit overnight if you can. I couldn't, but I did let it sit for several hours, and it worked! I think our problem was that I have been buying toilet paper that is 3-ply, great for the bottom, apparently not so great for the pipes. So now I have to go back to boring old, sandpaper 2 ply. Oh well. At least my toilet will work then!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My toilet is broken.

We are a one bathroom household.

Not even my husband can fix it, and he can fix almost anything.

I think I can start panicking now.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Getting Old

I distinctly remember looking at my mom's Better Homes and Garden magazine when I was around 10 or so, and thinking what a stupid magazine. Why would anyone ever want a magazine on gardening and house stuff and recipes?

Flash forward almost 20 years, and now I know why. (Even just typing that sentence makes me feel old!)

My Better Homes and Garden magazine came yesterday and I was super pumped. I love it! All the recipes and the house decorating ideas and the clothes tips! I might as well be secretly working for them! Regardless, it is official, I am old. Well, older than I used to be.

I am one of the adults at our youth group for church. The graduating seniors this year look like babies. I am astounded at how young they look, and in another year we are going to turn them loose in the world and basically say good luck. A friend of mine, both older and wiser than me, said one day when I was pondering at how young they look and do I look old to them, "You know how young they look to you? That's how old you look to them." Nice, and great for the ego. I happen to think that I look fairly decent for 29, hopefully younger than my age, but then I got it all dashed away with that comment!

Perhaps though, I am old in my thinking. I can't count how many times people have said when hearing that we were adopting "But you can have your own! Why would you want to spend that kind of money on kids when you can have them?" Of course, I patiently (well, try to be, sometimes I just want to smack them, which would be my non-oldness coming through!) try to explain our reasons. But most of the time, they just stare at us with their mouth slightly open and a look of disbelief on their face.

I have learned that I cannot make people understand why we are adopting. (that's older person wisdom for you!) People just understand it, or they don't. I realize that a lot of people in my generation are still all about the things they can acquire and the money they can make. We have chosen children, and it is right for our family. No one else needs to understand that but us.

So, today, I am going to sit down and read my Better Homes and Garden and enjoy the fact that I may be older, but I am loving my life!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nothing new to report on the adoption front. :(

Our documents are still being translated. Apparently the translation of the documents takes a long time, and court happens fairly quick after that. I had thought it was the other way around. Doesn't really make a difference, but I feel better knowing that anyways.

Today a Kohl's opened up near us. I love that store. My hubby does too. He always gets his work shoes from there, and they are always the exact same ones every time. A pair in brown and a pair in black. Change is hard for some people.

Anyway, Owen and I went because Ava needed a white shirt for a leaf project and because it was a grand opening of a new store, they sent us $10 bucks free in the mail. You know how they have that awesome book/stuffed animal kiosk right by the checkouts? The one where all of the money sold goes to charities? The books right now are Dr. Seuss, hard cover for $5. Amazing deal. Owen and I grabbed the two we didn't have, looked longingly at the stuffed animals and then walked away. I always want to buy the stuffed animals with the books, but I never do because stuffed animals drive me insane and my kids like them for about 10 minutes and then they move on.

Then we were in the dressing room and Owen starts to get upset and is on the verge of tears because he doesn't want to die. I was not prepared for that from my three year old. So I gave him a huge hug and talked to him about how he knows that Jesus died and then rose again, and that even though we will all die someday, if we love God and are in his family that we will be together again in heaven too. He seems to think that he is going to die soon, so then I tried to explain how people usually live to be old and that he has a super long time. After a little bit when he calmed down and seemed like he was doing okay, he asked "What if we have go to the bathroom in heaven?" I told him that I didn't think we would probably have to do that, but he told me that he figures heaven will have toilets.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chris didn't get a deer this weekend. I am a little bummed because we eat venison most of the year and are totally out, so I have to buy meat from the grocery store, which I typically don't do. And man, it is expensive!

On the other hand, he did get a squirrell, which we then had for lunch. Below is Owen with it.

At my parents house I saw the tv show "Swamp People". I can't remember what station it is on, probably discovery or something like that. Anyway, the premise of the show is that they follow people around in the bayou who catch alligatiors for a living. People who are named Junior and JimBob, and are missing front teeth.

Then I realized that my squirrell eating family could be the Northern US equivalent of Swamp People. Yikes!

P.S. Squirrell tastes like chicken!

Friday, September 24, 2010

For both of my kids I have made blankies for them. I can't really sew that well, but baby blankets aren't super hard, and it felt like a tangible way to do something special for them. Both of them loved them, which of course, made me feel awesome.

Ava developed the habit of sucking on one particular corner with her thumb in her mouth. She would turn the blanket until she found that one corner, which got nasty over time, and even after washing it, it became brown colored on that corner. Eventually, we had to take the blanket away, because it contributed to her thumb sucking. She didn't suck her thumb unless she had the blanket. It was a fairly traumatic event at our house. She was desparately sad without her blanket, and going to bed those first few days was not a fun event. For me, it was hard to watch her be so upset and know that I could just give the blanket back. But I didn't, and still, she has to go in next month to the orthodontist to get an expander for her upper jaw that is way out of wack, likely due to the thumb sucking.

Owen didn't have quite the same reaction to his blanket. He still has his at 3 1/2. Ava's was gone around two. (well, we still have it, but gone from her) He is still attached to it, and calls it his "little blankie". He actually has three blankets that he wants on himself at night. The "little" blankie goes on first, and then we have to put the other two on.

Yesterday, I decided to make a blankie for our little boy in Africa. I had this fun elephant print that I bought last year and never did anything with. Owen "helped" me, and we got it done in just a little bit. Hopefully he will love his as much as my other two did, and hopefully it will not cause him to suck his thumb!

This is the back of the blanket.

This is the front of the blanket.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I know I already gave an update about how our adoption information was at the correct country. But I just wanted to state it again in case anyone reading this switched countries.

The first country embassy sent me an email today telling me that they did, in fact, forget to send our information on right away. So, if you switched countries, you may just want to confirm that your information got forwarded on to the new country.

It was nice that they sent me an email admitting their mistake.

In the meant time, while we wait for a little girl, I am starting to come down with my first fall cold. The kind where my throat is all scratchy and you know it is going to develop into something huge and yucky. I am trying to combat it by drinking large amounts of tea, but so far all it is making me do is go to the bathroom a lot.

I would gargle with salt water, which is what my hubby does, and always seems to make his cold shorter. However, gargling with salt water makes me gag. I am not sure why this is. I can gargle with other things. Plus it enevitably gets up my nose and that never feels good.

We continue to sleep with our son's blanket, but so far it is not smelling like us. It still smells like Target. I am afraid that it will skip right past smelling like Chris and I, and right on to stinkiness. And then the wonderful people who volunteered to take it to him this fall will get a smelly blanket in the mail and think that we are more than likely unfit parents. Plus I have to remember to cover it up during the day because I am afraid our crazy cat Stella will sleep on it, and then we will send a blanket to our son covered with cat scent, and I am paranoid that he may be allergic to cats.

I also got a blanket and a lovey for our little girl, even though we don't have a referral for her yet. It helps me think that perhaps she will come soon. Or at least I think about who she might be everytime I walk past it and see it.

Praying hard that this is the week for her!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I broke the kitchen faucet last night. Que water all over the place. It went something like this: We have one of those great faucets with the head piece that pulls out, so we can fill things up with water that are resting on the counter if we wanted to. I needed to quickly thaw some shrimp, so I tried to turn the faucet. Apparently I am much stronger than I thought, because I snapped the head right off. (my hubby said there was probably calcium built up, not that I wonderwoman) Water shot out at me full force right in the face. For a second I panicked because I didn't know where the main water shut-off is, but then I calmed down and realized all I had to do was turn the sink handle off.

So here I am, trying to cook supper, with water all over the kitchen. It even shot into the living room, which I was not aware of for over an hour because I was cleaning up the kitchen. It's when I almost biffed it on the wood floors that I realized there was water there too.

My hubby came home and looked at it, then got some gunk on his fingers, and decided to rinse them off. In the kitchen sink. Round two of water all over the place. This time it was funny because I got to see Chris get drenched!

I had a meeting last night, so Chris took the kids on an emergency run to Mendards, where we spent a lot more than we thought we would have to to get a new faucet. They got back late, the faucet didn't get in, so I am now washing dishes in the bathtub. Well, actually in a huge bowl in the bathtub. Washing them in the bathtub would be gross.

Let me just say how much I appreciate a sink with working, running water.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Comic Relief

So I have noticed that my postings for quite awhile have been fairly serious. Which is great and all, but I am a rom-com type movie person, not so much the serious drama type person. So. In an effort to make this blog a little more user-friendly (who wants to be depressed all the time!) I thought I would share a recent story on my son. About poop.

About a month ago, he had been complaining that his stomach had been hurting him, on and off for a couple of weeks. I didn't really think too much about it, because he has used that before to try and get out of eating things he thought were questionable. Then I finally realized that I hadn't really seen him poop in awhile. Thankfully, Miralax is now over the counter, and we saved ourselves a pricey trip to the pediatrician. I snuck it into his milk in the mornings and evenings, and in a couple of days we were rolling like normal.

Then a couple of more days happened, and rolling like normal turned into green slime, not like normal. Now that he was "fixed", it was time to stop the medicine. Of course, green slime poop made him quite squeamish on wiping himself, and now he yells "Mom, I pooped come and look at it and wipe my butt". (this post might be more than you bargained for!) I probably need to clarify why he wants me to look at it- I kept telling him every time he went poop I needed to see it so I could tell if he was doing better, that that was how mommy could tell if the medicine is working.

Unfortunately now he is still a little paranoid that his poop is going to be green, and is terrified of wiping his own butt in case it gets on him. I sort of feel like we are potty training all over. Telling him it will, in fact, be okay if poop gets on him, because that is why they invented soap. That usually does the trick, and he can get past his fear! Oh the things we do as parents!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Carter's Children's Store

Yesterday, Owen and I went to a Carter's store to try and find a cute bringing home outfit. I know that it is probably way early to be looking for this, especially given our bringing him home time is somewhere between 4-6 months, but we went anyways.

And of course everything in the entire store was absolutely adorable. I sort of fell apart. It was so hard to see all of these tiny baby clothes for the size he is now, and then see the still tiny, but so much bigger clothes we will be buying for our son when he comes home.

I was on the verge of tears the entire time I was in the store, and probably was walking around with a pinched, weird expression on my face that scared other mothers. There was a little baby in there who was 3 weeks, not much younger than our son, and I had to walk away quickly before I started bawling. (After I told the mom how beautiful her son was, so she didn't think I was a crazy!)

I may have to stay out of baby stores until it is much closer to bringing him home.

For those of you who have given birth, remember how 10 months seemed like such a long time, and the impatience was almost unbelieveable? That is what waiting after a referral is like, except for me, it is worse. He is here, we see pictures of him, we could fly there and see him, but we couldn't bring him back until we have gone through all of the procedures. Everyday he is growing, and everyday I am missing it.

A long time ago, I remember talking about how when you ask God for patience, he doesn't give you patience, but opporunities to be patient (Evan Almighty). I guess this is my PhD level course on becoming patient!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Eagle has landed....

Yesterday we were informed that the appropriate embassy has all of our documents for our adoption and we are good to go. We (and by we, I mean me) were panicking big time because it did not appear that they had received our info. after the country switch, and I have been terrified that it would delay our adoption, but no longer!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yesterday we received our first picture where we could see our little boy's face.

He is absolutely beautiful, more than I even imagined! Huge beautiful brown eyes, gorgeous lips. He looks amazingly healthy, and perhaps a little disgruntled that someone dressed him up and took his picture. He looks exactly like his mother, who is a very beautiful woman.

I am completely over the moon.

My heart is filled with joy, but also sadness because we cannot bring him home yet. We are thinking best case scenario 4 months, worst case 6 months. I am already praying for smooth sailing, and for the time to go by quickly. I cannot wait to have my little boy in my arms.

Mommy is coming as fast as she can.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Update on the crazy govt. stress: the National Visa Center did send my info. for the country change, however, policy apparently states that they send the change to the old country we filed with, and then that country sends it to the new country. So, I contacted both embassies to see if one has sent it, or the other received it, and haven't heard back from either of them. How rude. Don't they understand that there is a borderline crazy mom over here waiting to get this information? If I had all the money in the world I would fly to the first country, watch over someone's back until they sent it to the new country. But I don't. So my plan is to pester people as much as I can until I get an answer. :)

On to better stuff. This afternoon I read a blog that I follow, and they had just bought a blanky for their little girl they are waiting for. Their plan is to sleep with it and then send it over to her once they have a referral. I had to smile. Today was blanky day for us too.

My son and I went to Target with the intention of getting our little boy a "lovey". You know one of those teeny, blankets with some animal head attached to it. We found an adorable little monkey, then I happened to look over and see all of the matching accessories. Uh oh. I think Owen and I spent about 35 minutes in that aisle, trying to find the ones we like best. Of course they bundle them up all tight so you can only see part of the pattern. But I want to see the whole thing, so I have to admit, I am taking the ribbon and the plastic connector thing that holds it together off, so I can see what it looks like. Apparently Owen thought this was a good idea too, because I wasn't paying attention and he had a blanket out of its wrappings. (I bet Target hates people like me!) I have to admit these blankets are so soft, it makes me feel like the blankets I had for our other two kids were made out of burlap!

I couldn't decide between two of the blankets, so I got both. My plan was to have Chris help me pick out which one to keep. But then on the way home, I thought we could sleep with one now, and send it to him. And then sleep with the other until he comes home, that way he has two blanekts that smell like mom and dad. We'll have to see if I can swing that excuse to keep both with Chris. We also got matching receiving blanekts, which I love to use for burp/throw up cloths.

I managed to stop myself from drifting over to the pacifiers and picking out cool ones for him. I got the "bling" pacifiers for Owen, but then they became the only type he wanted, and apparently they weren't a huge hit with the majority of the population, because all of a sudden I couldn't find them anymore and I started to panic.

Probably I won't buy too many more things for him. I don't think I could handle having to return all of the items we so carefully picked out for him if, God forbid, something should happen and we not bring him home. But it does lend another level of excitement to it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Government Stress

So, the acid in my stomach is having quite a moment. Last week I learned that families were receiving emails from the embassy at our country we are adopting from once they have received the information on the families adopting. We haven't gotten an email, and have had our approval since May. Panic overload.

So, I did what any parent would do, and that was start calling all of the numbers that had anything to do with the govt. and adopting. I called the first number I had. oh no, they said, that is the US State Department's division, you will have to call them. This was Friday at about 4:56. Well, that was a huge bummer, becase now I had to wait the whole weekend to call today.

Then I decided that I would just email the embassy in our country we are adopting from. I was pretty proud of myself for thinking of that one. Except when I woke up this morning, there was no reply.

Decided to give the good old State Department a call. The woman there was very helpful, who put me in touch with another woman in charge of our country. Turns out, they don't really do anything with documents being forwarded after your approval. It's more of assistance as you are in the process or over there trying to get back. She did however tell me that the email address I used to contact the embassy in our country was the wrong one. She gave me the correct one, and I quickly re-emailed, hopefully with the time difference I will still get it looked at, probably not, but I am hoping anyway.

Finally I decided to call the first number again. Turns out I wasn't actually talking to the National Visa Center like I thought I was. But they did give me the phone number for that, and tell me that they are the ones who would forward any documents. For some reason, that phone number just beeps at me like it is busy, so I emailed them, and will continue to obsessively stalk their number until I get through.

Yikes. The good news is, now that I know who to talk to, and I feel like I have covered everything by emailing just about everyone in the US govt. related to adoptions, I think it will hopefully be taken care of soon.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today is a gorgeous day. Soooo, we kicked our kids outside all morning. They have been outside having a blast, and actually getting along for the most part. Except for the moment when Ava came up behind Owen and shoved him down to the ground for stealing her stick. I am thinking they are getting along so well because it is due to the fact that they are missing each other now that Ava is back in school. Regardless, it has been pretty adorable to look out the window and see them happy to be together. These are the types of moments that lead families to choose to have more children!

On the adoption front, we will be petitioning for a court date at the end of next week. Regardless if we have a referral for a little girl or not. We are waiting for our documents to be translated and then off to court we will go. I am thinking it will take about one month to get our ruling. In the mean time, we are trying to decide if we don't get a referral for a little girl before we apply for court, what we are going to do.

Our options are:
1. only adopt our little boy
2. travel twice

Traveling twice would be hard for us, we could not afford to both go, both times. We have considered my going twice, but then Chris can't see where they are from, and we always imagined we both would be together. The other option is for me to go once, and Chris go once. Ideally, we would love to be able to just go one time, and not have to do it again. It is hard on the kids, and us, and all around. Plus the stability factor of the country makes a play in all of this.

Hopefully, we will get a referral next week. I am truly not counting on it, or holding my breath, but you never know. We will continue to pray and see if perhaps just our son is what we are supposed to have.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Teaching the Alphabet

So I was reading a blog that suggested the DVD: Leap Frog, The Letter Factory. I have been trying to teach Owen his alphabet. It hasn't been going great. The only letter he knows is O. I bought this cute placemat with Sesame Street characters on it and we have been going through and pointing at the letter and trying to get him to memorize them. For each letter there is a picture of something that starts with that letter. He knows the pictures but not the letter. Although some of the pictures are a little challenging for him- like U for unicorn, which he says "U for horse", and I say no, it's actually a unicorn, and he says which is a "horse with a thing on its head". How can I argue with that? I have been a little nervous about this, because by this time, Ava knew all of her letters and what they said, and could write out a fair amount of them. Blame it on second child syndrome (yikes! what will happen with our 3rd and 4th!) but I haven't really been too worried about it until now. He has to take his kindergarten pre-screening in about 6 months (when he is the ripe old age of 4), and I have this fear that he will be the only 4 year old who doesn't know his alphabet. Not to mention this bizarre test where they tap out a rhythm and the child is supposed to tap it back. I never, in all of my parenting Ava, did "tap the rhythm and repeat it" with her. I felt like a ginormous Moron at that test. The teacher tapped out a little pattern, in which Ava responded with a blur of taps on the table with a huge smile on her face. To which the teacher said "Let's try it again with something simpler....." (repeat happy tapping in no pattern at all)

Anyway, saw that this DVD was recommended, so I rushed to Target and bought it. He has seen the video 3 times, and this morning he saw the letter X and told me what noise it made. Hello! My child is a genius!! I am way excited about it. I always thought that I would never be the mom who taught my children with videos- we don't even watch tv (movies yes, tv no). But I think for the alphabet I am going to be "that" mom. The one who uses pre-canned entertainment instead of devising her own plan to introduce him to the letters. Why mess with what works. I will have to come up with my own lesson plan for the "tap the pattern" however...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We got the medical testing results back today. Everything is good and he is healthy. It was such a relief to see that, even though it was in French. Now we really have to consider how long we want to wait for a girl. The longer we wait, the longer our son sits there.

We really don't know how long we want to wait for a second referral. Two trips would be very hard financially for us if we both went. Possibly we could each go alone, or I could go twice by myself. I feel fairly comfortable with that idea since I have already been to Africa, but it is not an ideal situation to go by myself. We just naturally assumed we would go together and experience everything as a couple. The problem is, we really want a daughter as well. Logistically, it is looking harder for us then we first anticipated to bring them both home.

Any thoughts on me traveling by myself?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Today was the first day of school for Ava. Last night she was so excited she didn't think she could sleep. We picked out her outfit down to the type of underwear she wanted to wear, along with the earrings and how she wanted to do her hair. I can't believe she is in second grade already.

It was raining and freezing cold out, so we all had our umbrellas as we walked down to the bus stop. There was a couple of older boys, probably 9th grade, and I could see her watching them closely. She looked a little intimidated. The good news was, their bus forgot to pick them up, so they won't be out there when we go out in the morning. She perked up after they left and it was just us waiting.

After she got onto the bus, I looked at Owen. He looked up at me and said "Are you going to play with me mom?" Giant foreshadowing on his part.

It has been several hours since she went to school, and Owen pretty much has not left my side. I tried to tell him all of the things that he could do. I don't think I realized how much he depended on his sister to play and interact with him. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. I can't constantly play with him all day long, but he doesn't seem to want to be alone at all. Right now I can only write this because he is watching a movie!

I think after a few days we will both adjust. Poor kid, he told Ava how much he was going to miss her. Hopefully he will enjoy the semi-quiet the next few months. Once we get our babies home, it may never be quiet again!

Friday, September 3, 2010

I love reading. With a passion. Currently, I am in the middle of 4 books. I normally don't like to read that many books at one time. It is too hard to divide my time between them, and how do I pick which one should be read when? I know. It is slightly pathetic. Espeically considering the books I am reading. They have no connection whatsoever!

Book #1 is Great Expectations. I read this a million years ago in high school. Honestly about the only thing I remeber is the swamp, and something to do with paintings. I have not been great with this book. As an adult, I feel like it is okay, but I am having not much luck with it holding my attention. So as of yet, I have no idea if my "memory" of something to do with paintings actually rings true for this book. I am not that far yet. (I am ashamed to admit that I have been reading this book for over a month. This is the one that gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. I need to bite the bullet and get it over with!)

Book #2 is The Three Musketeers. For some reason that he can't explain, my husband thinks it is absolutely hilarious that I am reading this book. One day in Barnes and Noble, they had their classics buy 1 get 1 free. So I got this one and The Man in the Iron Mask. I love the swashbuckling stuff. I admit, it is a little out of what I normally read, but I am just going to chalk it up to branching out.

Book #3 is Radical. This book is changing my life. Run to the bookstore, or order it off of Amazon. It is an awesome book that will rock your current thoughts on America's version of Christianity and the "American Dream".

Book #4 is The Hard Way. This is one of my CIA type books. For some reason, I am in love with all things CIA/FBI/Covert Ops. I have said this before, but I will repeat it again, this is my dream job. Not going to happen with 2, soon to be 4 kids, and a loving husband, but I would have made an awesome secret agent! The fact that I read these types of books also makes my husband laugh.

It is quite possible that he may actually be laughing at himself. He once made a comment that when we got married he perhaps didn't realize how strong willed I was!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back in Business!

We learned that the woman who is holding our son in the picture they sent to us is his biological mom. We are thrilled to be able to have a picture of her to show him, but her face is so sad and tired looking. Now that we know who she is, I find myself looking at the picture many times a day wondering what happened to her, what her life has been like. What led to the decision to give up her son. Sometimes I just hold the picture and look at her and cry. Our blessing is her sorrow, our wonderful gain, her huge loss. It is both sides of adoption, staring me right in the face in a single picture.

We have not received our son's medical testing back. Hopefully we should know something early next week. No news on a referral for a little girl either. Crossing our fingers that she doesn't take too much longer to come to us!

The kids are really getting antsy about their new brother and sister. They want then home NOW! Just like their parents. We patiently try to explain for the 975th time why they are not here already, and how long we think it will take until they do come.

They seem to have a lot of pent up energy. Not quite sure where it is coming from. This morning I kept hearing these loud noises coming out of Owen's bedroom. I sneak up to the door to see what they are doing without them seeing me. They are wrestling, both in orange shirts and black shorts, which they coordinated just for the "game". When I asked them what they were doing, they said they were playing "Tarzan". Okay. Unfortunately, I had to put the kabosh on Tarzan, because what usually happens when my kids play wrestling games is that one of them takes it too far and the other gets hurt, and then there is a retaliation.

Other than that, it has been a slooooow week. Probably due to my huge hope that a second referral would come so soon after the first. The anticiaption is driving me nuts! On the other hand, I found an interesting reply on a blog that I was reading yesterday. A woman who is adopting from Africa has been constantly asked why she isn't adopting a child from the US because the need is so huge here and why would she go overseas? I am sure any adopting family has heard that one. We have mulitple times. Anyway, a friend of hers suggested the reply (and I'm kind of summing it up) "You are absolutely right about the need here in the US. And please don't take this the wrong way, but what are you doing about it?" Brilliant, slightly rude, perhaps. But I love it anyways. I am always a little irritated when people feel the need to lecture me on my choice to adopt from Africa. I don't know that I have enough guts to say it the next time I am asked. But I may just have to give it a whirl.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Going Private

After a fair amount of deliberation, I have decided to go private with this blog. I want to protect the adoption program in the country we are pursuing, and I want to protect our children. We will not be posting any pictures of them, or any in depth information about them, even when going private. But we just want to be careful.

I know this makes it less easy to read the blog, and unfortunately, it means that new people trying to learn about our process will not be able to view it. But, we feel that it is the right decision.

It will officially go private this coming Friday, September 3. If you send me an email and let me know who you are, I will add you to the list and give you a password so you can still follow along and see how things are going for us. My address is:

I probably won't be posting anything until Friday to allow for everyone to see this message. But I promise to be back right away Friday morning. Hopefully with all sorts of interesting and intelligent things to say!