Thursday, April 29, 2010

email junkie

I have turned into an email checking freak. Since we are technically a "waiting" family, I check my email probably 10 times a day. It has gotten quite pathetic. But I almost can't make myself stop. What if we got a referral and I didn't know about it for a couple of hours? What if we needed some important piece of information, and by not knowing it right away, I am causing delay and our children will be separated from us for longer? I keep tabs on the news in the country, and check the yahoo group that I belong to. I pop in on blogs of others that are adopting from the same country to see if they have any updates as to what is going on. I also periodically check the price of airline tickets as I try to imagine what month we might be leaving in. I am annoying myself! I honestly don't know what the cure is. I tell myself that I am only going to check 3 times a day- morning, noon and night. But then, I find myself drifting back to the computer. I have adoption OCD! I dream about our adoption at night, and think about it during the day. I have run through so many different scenarios that I could probably write an award winning adoption movie. Please, someone tell me I am not the only adoptive parent freaking out like this!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book Rut

Now that it is gorgeous out here, my kids want to be outside all of the time. It gives me a great opportunity to read while they run around in the yard. Acutally, they are more of the type to climb into a tree and then stay there for an hour making up stories. My three year old came out of the house with mittens on to help his hands while trying to get up the tree like his sister. Super cute, and way to use his brain! The only problem that I have with this arrangement (and I admit, in reality, it is not much of a problem at all!) is that I am stuck in a book rut. Lately, I have been reading books by Robert Ludlum, and David Baldacci. CIA type thrillers. My secret dream is to join the CIA, I even once sent my application in, but never heard anything back! Anyway, I am starting to feel like a 55 year old man, essentially because my dad and I read the same books, and he reads the same books as his brother, and so on and so forth. HELP! I am not a 55 year old man! I definitely need to branch out. I have a tendency to stick to one genre. For a couple of years, it was all things Microbiology (my degree), then it was Russian authors because I took Russian in college, and then on to the other classics. I nailed all the Harry Potters, Stephenie Meyer, and even the kids series Fablehaven. Now I am at an impasse and I need a new direction. If anyone has any great ideas, I would appreciate them! In the meantime, I will just enjoy the beautiful outdoors and say amen to no more snow!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A lot of adoption blogs that I follow have gone private in the last week. Most I don't follow religiously, but it has still been encouraging and fun to read them when I get a chance. The main reason for them becoming private is to protect the program in the country from which the family is adopting from. There have been several instances in more than 1 country in which a family has lost their child due to information on the blog. It is such a huge bummer. Reading blogs from people definitely helped us look at dift. countries and really gave us information to think about as we formulated a certain direction to head in. And truthfully, it is fun to see others live their lives as they go about adopting, as our family is. I just feel disapointed that there are so many children in need around the world, and yet some are not getting families based off of something written on a blog. At this point, we will continue to leave the blog open, but will be general about our descriptions and things that are happening as far as the adoption is concerned. We definitely don't want to mess anything up for ourselves or others. We will let you know that we have switched countries and are no longer pursuing adoption from the country we blogged about originally. This was due to several reasons. One is that there was a huge influx of people into the program and the wait became much longer than we had anticipated when we first started looking into the program. The country may also change the way they do adoptions and with the wait becoming so much longer, we worry if they change how they handle adoptions, that we might not qualify. It has been quite a ride for us so far in this adoption, and we hope that things will go much smoother from this point on!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

3 year check up

It was my son's three year check up today. Not a great experience. We have a boy who is tough and loves to play. Due to that, he has been in the emergency room 3 times in his short life. Twice for stitches in his head, where they wrapped him up like a burrito and then came at his face to stitch it, and then once when his hand got stuck in a screen door window that slammed down on top of it. Apparently, his memory is amazing, because the moment we walked into the clinic room, he lost it. He screamed almost the entire time. His doctor is amazing, and just went with it. But it must be hard to have a patient freak out at you. She had to look under his underwear to make sure everything was and in place. So I am struggling to hold a screaming, kicking child, and she tried to get his pants off. Finally, I managed to get them off, she took a quick peak, and then we were done. He gave us one of those looks like "that was it?" Alas, it was not it. He needed shots. At first she was going to have him wait, but since we are adopting, and Hepatitis can be a big deal, she wanted to get it over with. Imagine holding your son down on the bed, a nurse is bracing his legs. He is screaming until his face turns red, and crying. His legs were so tense the nurse thought he would probably bruise. Poor kid. I felt horrible, but at the same time I almost laughed. Which made me feel worse that I would laugh at him. But he never acts this way, and it took me by surprise. Not that it was necessarily funny, but I didn't know how to react, so apparently lots of stress equals laughing. Afterwards we went to Target and got the popcorn/freezey special, and that seemed to greatly improve things. Ah, the value of a well-placed bribe!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I came across the blog of a very funny woman today. Of course, now that I am going to write about it, I have no idea which blog it was. But, she picked up running. I had to laugh because she ran a half-marathon several years ago. Just like me. And just like me, she ran and ran and ran, until she thought she was going to pass out. Just like me! I did a half marathon because I thought it would be a good thing to do when I turned 25. I hated almost every moment of my training. Now, I know that for runners out there, that is probably an almost sacriligeous statement. But I didn't have any moment where I got past the pain and said, "Wow, I love this. This is such a stress relief!" The funniest thing, is that this woman said she gained 7 lbs. during her training and her measurements didn't even change! Just like me! I laughed so hard when I saw that, because I ran probably 40-50 miles a week at my peak. I thought I was going to shed pounds like crazy. And then, to my horror, the scale went the other way up. Oh well. Later I found out I was acutally pregnant when I ran the half marathon and didn't know it. So the scale went way up, as in 60lbs. Then I read her post about how she gained 25 lbs. over the course of her adoption. That was a surprise. Apparently, this happens to many women waiting for their children to come home. Not a side effect of waiting that I was anticipating. But, I guess I can see how it happens. My full time hobby has been surfing the net for African adoption related information, and waiting for emails from lawyers, and people who have been so graciously willing to help. So, in honor of preventing 25 lbs. of adoption baby weight, my goal is to lose 10. (Well, acutally it's my doctor's goal too. I am not technically overweight, but I am, according to BMI calculations, pushing the last decimal point to be classified overweight!)Plus, everyone seems to agree that once you hit 30, apparently your body freaks out and sort of becomes alien to you. I technically still have a year, but who wants to risk it?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My kids are hilarious. They created a new game that they call "Holey Moley". As in, they pile all of the blankets and sleeping bags together in the house and pretend they are moles, making holes. I am willing to bet that there aren't too many kids around the world playing Holey Moley right now. It makes me laugh, and I love it. Especially as I consider my life as a mom. It sure isn't what I expected. I was one of those girls who was going to get my degree, maybe a masters, and high tail it to the big city. Marriage? Maybe when I was 35 or 40. Kids? Not very likely. I picked a trombone to play when I was growing up because my parents made me join band. They wouldn't let me play the tuba, so I picked the next biggest instrument. It kind of backfired because I ended up loving it. But I had a history of going my own way. Then wouldn't you know it, freshman year of college I met a boy. Six months later, engaged. At 19. One year later, married. At barely 20. A year after that, our first child. I was almost 22. I still ended up getting my degree, but the big city lights kind of faded after that. After 6 years of being a mommy, God opened some huge doors for me to get a job. Turns out a degree in Microbiology if not used, is kind of worthless after 6 years. But, I ended up with a job as a Sales Coordinator at a fire truck manufacturer. I loved it. My kids loved their daycare, and everything was going great. Finally, here I was, on my way to the career that I had imagined when I was young. Then, we went to Africa. Now, I knew that we were going to learn something there. I could feel it. We had amazing things fall into place for us to be able to go. God opened the doors wide. And I was super excited. We traveled 9,000 miles as the giant Delta crow flies. And do you know what my lesson was? After such a huge, incredible trip, my lesson was, here's a drum roll: Jess, I want you to be a stay at home mom again. WHAT? I traveled half way across the world to learn that You want me to be a stay at home mom? Um, God, you opened ginormous doors for me to get a job, and now you want me to stay at home again? I sort of thought that God would tell us to sell everything and move to Uganda to be missionaries. Not what He had planned. So, after letting 1 1/2 months go by and thinking on what He told me, I quit my job. After only 10 months of being a working mom. I have not missed it yet. Now, I am not foolish enought to think that there might not be a day where I wish I was still at work. (If I had to guess I would say next winter some time, since in MN winter is like 6 months long!) But I have not looked back. I did wonder at why he opened the doors for me to get a job. I wouldn't have been able to go to Uganda if I hadn't been working. And we are a good way towards our adoption fees by my working those months. Amazing how God uses things. I laugh every time I think about what I thought my life would be like and what it actually is. And you know what? It is nothing but good laughs.
Yesterday we found out that our I-600A hasn't been refiled. It was supposed to happen last week, and I was really hoping to get a confirmation letter this week. But our home study agency informed us that it has not been filed due to the lady in charge being sick. For some reason, I took it much harder than I normally would. It's not like there wasn't a legitimate reason for it not being filed. But it somehow managed to make our adoption feel so much further away. I also discovered a couple of other families from MN that are adopting from our country. I stumbled across their blogs and it was very exciting for me. The hope that our children might be able to meet other African/Americans is exciting. But, I also learned on one of them that the expected time it will take to complete the adoption is much longer than originally anticipated. The program is just on the brink of becoming much more popular, and thus, waiting for your approval and to be matched with your child is taking longer. I keep trying to tell myself that time-wise, it is like trying to get pregnant, but not being able to for the first few months. It all culminated with me waking up in the middle of the night terrified that all of our efforts towards this baby might come to nothing. I layed in bed with a horrible feeling of what if we get turned down by the govt. or something happens in the way they handles adoptions before we get our refferal? All of our dreams, time, money down the drain. I layed there for an hour thinking about this. Worrying about this. And I finally fell back to sleep. The good news is this morning I woke up and was feeling much better about everything. Yes, we could wind up without a child. International adoption is interesting at the very least. Countries close and open, and people's dreams can be crushed. But the reality is, the situation is out of my hands. We can only move forward with the confidence that we have, knowing that the outcome is whatever God intended for us. We most certainly want the outcome to be a beautiful daughter that becomes a part of our family. If that doesn't happen, we need to trust in God that he has a much better plan for us. Grasping that this morning made most of my fears go away. And over the next year or so as the adoption proceeds, I will need to cling to the knowledge that God has a plan for me. I know that I certainly can get caught up in the doubts and fears, and that wasn't what my life was intended for.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


It was amazingly gorgeous today. One of those types of days where you just sit in the sun and soak it all up. We had a friend's 60th birthday party to go to. We sat around while our two kids ran and played and had a blast. Someone commented how much that would change once we got our daughter from Africa. And it got me thinking. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about how different it will be when we add a third child to our family and go from 4 to 5. When you have children, you just accept the different life stages and what comes along with them. Right now, our kids pretty much function on their own. We still have to keep an eye on them, make sure they don't fall out of a tree or beat each other with sticks in the backyard. But we don't have to make sure the polly pocket pieces are off the floor, or even cover the outlets because they might try to stick something in them, or remember to close the door so they don't fall down the stairs into the basement. And, I will definitely admit, it is very nice to not have to worry about things like that. But there was also a 3 month old baby at this party. And looking at him made me melt. The truth is, we want another child, and we will take everything that goes with it. Up at all hours of the night, babies that can projectile vomit across the room (our daughter had amazing distance) crying, pooping, the whole shebang from baby on up. We have come across people who really wonder at our decision. They wonder at another baby, they wonder at Africa, and they question all sorts of things. I don't always have answers that make them happy. Some people just don't understand when you tell them that you know what is right for your family and that this is what God has planned for you. I find it amazing that when it comes to adoption, so many people that don't really know you have opinions that they think they really should share with you. I can't count the times that someone has asked me why not adopt from America, what is wrong with American babies? And my all time favorite, "Oh, you are going to be one of those multi-racial families". I used to try to explain our reasonings for adopting from Africa, and that we did try to adopt from our state, but that the agencies we contacted wouldn't take our application because we already had two children of our own. That we had gone to Uganda and were overwhelmed by the children that were orphaned in that country alone. I tried to tell them about an orphanage we visited where the kids only eat one meal a day because that is all the money the orphanage has. I tried to tell them about the children who had never been held, never been loved. The truth is, so often people didn't really care or want to hear our reasons for adopting from Africa. They only had an opinion about a choice we made and they wanted to tell us. I am trying to teach myself to let it roll right off of me. In reality, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of our decision to have another child in our lives. We firmly believe that our daughter will be the biggest gift from God. And we are beyond excited to have her in our life. We have so much love that we want to share. And we want another child. End of story. It is not always easy to ignore painful things that people say. Thank goodness for grace, because I certainly need it in my life, and I am trying to have that for others as well.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


So today I had a good lesson in patience. Which will definitely be needed given the large amount of time we will spend waiting for our adoption to happen. Even just waiting to be pre-approved, and then the giant wait to be re-approved in country, then finally waiting to be matched with a child. But today, it was all about patience in taking down wallpaper. Wallpaper that I just put up two weeks ago. I have this unfortunate gene that requires me to decorate. A lot. I decided that my kitchen had to have this bark cloth type wallpaper put up in it. I enlisted the help of a friend who had a wallpapering business way back in the day. It was a lot of fun and we had a good time. The problem is, now I don't actually like it. The pattern looked so great on the roll in the store. On my walls, not so much. It kind of feels like a throwback to the 70's. One friend graciously said it looked Asian inspired. So I pulled down the pieces. They were supposed to come off in nice strips. That is what the packaging said. Instead, I ripped off miniscule little pieces, and soaked the rest and then scraped and scraped. It took me three hours just to take it off the tiny area above the cupboards. I am not looking forward to the full wall. The good news is, I didn't once try to throw anything in my frustration at it not coming down like it was supposed to. There is hope for me yet! It's like the quote from Evan Almighty, if we ask God for patience, does he give it to us, or does he give us opportunities when we need to be patient? (paraphrasing there, I can't remember the exact quote) Patience is not my strong point. But I know that our daughter will be so worth the wait. I might complain and whine a little between now and then, but hopefully not too much.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My first post

Okay, I gave in and decided to start a blog. I fought it for months, basically because I am computer illiterate. I just spent the last 2 hours trying to figure out how to do everything and make it look pretty. Other people's blogs are gorgeous. I want this blog to be like that, but I am guaranteeing nothing! Now, on to the reason why I am doing this. We are adopting from Africa. Independently. As in, without an agency. At first this seemed so overwhelming. When we started looking into adoption, we didn't even know you could adopt without an agency. Luckily, we have learned that people involved in adoptions tend to be very supportive. We have met many amazing people who have given us help. Hopefully, we can do some of that for others through this blog. I defnintely want to get one of those little side bars that tell you the timeline of our adoption journey, I just haven't figured out how to do that yet. But, for now I will just give you an update. We just switched our home study from Ethiopia to a dift. African country, and will be re-filing our I-600A with the government this week. Then we will frantically be collecting the items needed for our dossier. I am shooting to have everything in by the beginning of June. I don't know if that is at all realistic, but June is a nice month, and it seems doable. (Not that I have anything to base my reasoning off of!) So, that is it for my first entry, I am actually quite proud that I was able to do it!