April 30, 2008

Really Good People

One of the many amazing things we've encountered on our adoption journey has been the Really Good People group. People who belong to this group had a way of asking how the process was going without actually asking. They provided encouragement and love and an occasional cup of coffee or glass of wine when a day was particularly difficult or called for celebration. Now they're the people who are gifting fabulous bags of clothing that their sons have outgrown, items for the nursery they're no longer using, or simple pieces of advice for parenting a fabulous little boy who we can't wait to bring home. And most recently making donations to the very orphanage where our little Bean is living which I, to be honest, can't find the words to describe our thanks for right now. These are truly Really Good People and we're blessed to have them in our lives.

Tomorrow hubby heads south to D.C. where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and I, conveniently, am headed hours in the opposite direction to Way Up State, NY where I'm pretty sure they still have 5 feet of snow on the ground. Ah the adventures a week holds.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering - the ticker clocking 2 weeks 2 days does in fact look SO much better than when it clocked 2 weeks 3 days yesterday. So. Much. Better.

April 29, 2008

Baby Earth

OK, I'm going to throw out a guess that the stimulus payments that started being distributed this week don't hold a candle to the amount of economic stimulus brought on by waiting families. After all, is there a better way to pass the time than by perusing the gadzillions of adorable online children's shops? Just when I happen upon what I think to be "the cutest children's shop ever" I turn around and surprise surprise, there's another one! Patience schmatience, waiting sucks so I'm going shopping. I do have to admit once again though, the ticker at the top clocking 2 weeks 3 days looks SO much better than when it clocked 2 weeks 4 days... Just imagine how fabulous 2 weeks 2 days is going to look!

My newest favorite is Baby Earth (environmentally-friendly baby products) where this Musical Toy Box Bench currently has me ducttaping my wallet shut. So cute, so much fun, must be responsible, must be responsible...

April 28, 2008

Harvest 3000 Years

Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima directed Harvest 3000 Years (Mirt Sost Shi Amit) which he shot in the '70s following the overthrow of Haile Selassie and right before a military dictatorship was installed. It's being shown at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend so if you're in the NYC area and are up for practicing your Amharic (the film is in Amharic with English subtitles) here are the details for showings.

I found the video below on YouTube posted by ResearchChannel. It's a bit long (~30 minutes) however is a really interesting interview with Haile Gerima where he touches on how his Ethiopian heritage has influenced his work.

April 27, 2008

TAP New York

There could be a mere 4-5 weekends left in our lives sans child. That is quite possibly the most exciting sentence I HAVE EVER WRITTEN. 4-5 weeks! This weekend was split between getting things done on Saturday and having some fun on Sunday. Today we drove to Hunter Mountain and participated in this year's TAP New York, a festival celebrating New York microbrews and local food fare. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

The setting was serene - a mountain hardly bare of snow yet already blasting random rays of sunshine that gave off just enough warmth to hang out on the patio with a taste of an IPA and a bite of pistachio pecorino in hand. Yum Yum! Mind you it was still a beer festival so there were certainly the groups of not-so-conservative connoisseurs but for the most part everything was perfect. Hot sauce, hops, grills, barley, sun, mountains, and most importantly lots of people gathered on a newly green mountain lawn just excited to be there.

So, it's Sunday, and we have to start yet another week of work tomorrow. But have you taken a look at the ticker at the top of this page yet? It's officially less than 3 weeks until we could pass court! There's something about being in the 2+ week range that makes me smile a bit bigger, as if that's humanly possible at this point.

April 26, 2008

Airing Out The House

Our house was first a stable in the early 1900's before being renovated and turned into a residence (not exactly sure when, perhaps 1920's) so there are an unusual amount of doors on the first floor. Four to be exact, and the floor print really is not that big. This can be torture during the winter months when they're all tightly closed just taunting us knowing full well if we open them our heating bills will skyrocket, but when spring comes they're wide open as often as possible! Take today, for example. It was a perfect 70 degree sunny with just enough wind to blow the scents of spring through all four doors. Delicious.

So what do we do on a lovely spring Saturday mere weeks before assuming the titles of mom and dad? Nest. But not in the typical sense of the word as much as the "let's complete all of those projects we've been meaning to complete since we moved in" kind of sense. I've read about soon-to-be parents nesting habits before the arrival of the child, but today wasn't exactly that.

Today we sawed a hole in the door to the basement so that we could move the cat litter box downstairs. Next we moved the treadmill to a more desirable location (the garage, wish us luck...), and then we built (well not exactly "we" as much as "he") a new closet/storage area in the basement so that we could clean out the closet in the nursery. Then we happily settled in with a scrumptious grilled chicken and corn dinner and a rather tasty malbec. Not exactly true to form nesting behavior, but I must admit we're more caught up on chores than we've ever been. Feels good.

Oh, and we also canceled the vet appointment we had for Bode to have his teeth "fixed". He's happy, he cuddles up in my lap when I'm relaxing in the hammock on the front porch (it's really cute, he actually pulls himself up through a gap in the hammock strings rather than just jump from the front into my lap) and we just couldn't stand the thought of putting him through a surgery that would leave him with few (if any) teeth. More importantly I have huge doubts that he's actually in any pain or at risk of suffering infection. The area that the vet claims is causing him "severe mood-altering pain" he actually LOVES to have pet and scratched. We haven't completely written off the possibility of surgery, rather have decided to contemplate the decision for a bit longer just to make sure we're not causing any undue stress on our boy, our Bode Miller.

On another productivity-related note, I decided to create our adoption announcements in Photoshop instead of purchasing them online and must say I did a pretty good job. (Helps that hubby is a photographer and doesn't mind coming to my rescue.) The only problem is that this project requires having the adoption announcement, which includes our beautiful boy's picture, on my computer screen all day long. Let's just say I've spent more time looking at his picture than breathing this weekend. It's just such an adorable face I can't help myself - if it's in front of me forget about it, I'm useless!

Right now is pretty OK: We're airing out the house with all four doors wide open. Our cats (the boys) are nestled in our laps and we're about to light a bonfire outside and toast the season's first marshmallows. Everything smells sweet.

April 25, 2008

One Week Down...

Three weeks to go! Three weeks from today I'll hopefully be posting about a successful court date. We're trying not to get to anxious (yeah right, like that's possible) because of the chance that it could take more than one try to pass, but then we read about other families who are passing on the first try and we just can't help ourselves. I have a feeling that the two weeks between court and travel are going to be stock full of things like packing, last minute house/nursery prep, etc... so I'm trying to take care of as much as possible now to minimize the stress later. So far it's not going terribly well as it seems that just when I create and finish one list another creates itself almost instantaneously.

For now my big to-do is getting ready for my maternity leave at work. The way the timing is working out is actually a best case scenario because it looks like I'll just be out for the summer months when my clients (school districts) aren't very active anyhow. Still, you never know what could come up and I'm always in favor of being proactive about things like that. So, for now I'm wading through a pretty ridiculous matrix of "if this, then this" scenarios to leave with my team while I'm away. It's not that I don't trust them, (quite the opposite actually) it's just that I work with an amazing team of professionals who's plates are already overflowing with responsibilities and the last thing they need is to have my mine dropped on them at the last minute. We're still not sure if I'm just going to take 8 weeks or if I'm going to use more of the 12 week allowance, but everyone I talk to seems to advocate for taking as much time as possible. I have a feeling once we finally have our beautiful boy in our arms that there wont be a doubt in our minds about how much time I should use, and boy am I looking forward to that moment!

I had lunch with a friend this week who also happens to be a colleague and we kept touching on the fact that it's really hard to complain about anything when we're so fortunate in so many ways. How could I possibly complain about deciding whether to take 8 vs 12 weeks off for maternity leave when the fact that I even have that as an option (and the guarantee of health insurance coverage) is a blessing in itself. Karma has certainly made an effort this year to open my eyes to just how thankful I really need to be for the life I'm living. I've had two cars die on me but in both cases I was able to pull over to the road and remain safe while waiting for a tow truck to pick me up and return me home. This week we got a flat tire in Brooklyn, but before I could even get out of the car there were 3 men working on removing the bolts for us who absolutely insisted they help us change the flat. Seriously, when does that happen? And today I'll be working on that matrix I told you about and my eyes will likely be bugging out of my head after hours of data manipulation and crazy Excel projects. But hey, thanks to wireless internet and a beautiful spring day I'll spend a portion of my time doing this while sitting outside in a hammock listening to the birds and a selection of Christmas songs. Hard to complain. LOTS to be thankful for.

Three weeks from today we could be officially mom and dad, and five weeks from tomorrow we could be taking off for Ethiopia, and seven weeks from tomorrow we could be swimming in the village swimming pool with our son! LOTS to be thankful for.

April 22, 2008

Dear Ashton

Today we received our first ever piece of mail addressed to Mom, Dad, and Baby. Our beautiful niece and nephews each created the most wonderful cards when they heard of our referral, and they arrived in our mailbox today! I still get tingles when I think about our referral day (April 9th), shakes when I think about our court date (May 16th), and serious heart palpitations when I dream of the day we will all arrive home - together. June 10th???

April 21, 2008

Court Date!

My first ever favorite subject line for an email was "McGregor's Referral" but there's a new favorite today - "Court Date Is!" Our first court date has been scheduled for May 16th and if we pass successfully we should be traveling the first week in June. We know that a successful court date doesn't always happen on the first try, but sometimes it does so that's what we're going to run with for now. I can't believe we're actually to the part where looking into flight options is something we SHOULD be doing! I've had to pinch myself on several occasions today and for some reason have had a hard time focusing (can't imagine why!) which is not great for Mondays which are notorious for being loaded with conference calls at work. Oh well, we have a court date!!!

(On another much geekier note this means that I finally get to start using a ticker a the top of the page that counts DOWN to something instead of one wide open with no known end date - 25 days to go!)

April 20, 2008

NY Times on Plastic Baby Bottles

From the New York Times Business / World Business Section:
Canada Takes Steps to Ban Most Plastic Baby Bottles
Published: April 19, 2008
The move to ban polycarbonate infant bottles is the first action taken by any government against bisphenol-a, a chemical that has induced long-term changes in animals exposed to it.

April 19, 2008


To some this word might have primarily positive connotations, but in NYC it tends to make people shudder and look off to the left in an effort to avoid the possibility of an uncomfortable conversation. Sorry for the gross generalization but come on, NYC is anything but domestic. At least not in the traditional sense of the word. And don't get me wrong, I actually revel in the domesticness'less of the city and the creative ways we seem to find to get around appearing to be domestic, but nonetheless...

So earlier this evening after a dreamlike day of 80 degree sunny April weather and a stop or two at our favorite local vineyards and the discovery of a fantastic new cafe my husband looks at me and says, "we're so domestic!" I could've kicked him. What a buzz kill! I reluctantly inquired why and am now wishing I would have just kept my mouth shut. He turns to me and says, "new car in the driveway, a pre-2000 Subaru (a requirement if you want any street cred in this area) and the wife cooking dinner while I assemble our new highchair for our first child". OK, less of a buzz kill but I was still annoyed. Domestic? Me? No no no, you've got it all wrong - I'm still the career and passion driven spontaneous woman you married 7 years ago...and, um, OK...I get it.

The next thing I remember I was on the phone with my sister (Wonder Mom to 3 of the cutest kids on Earth) begging her to make a trip to NY to help me prepare our home for our child. Literally begging. I now admit, I want to be domestic. I just might be lacking in some of the areas that would win me the title right now. So thank the Gods for sisters, the internet, and most of all our local wine guy who set us up with a delicious cabernet sauvignon for tonight's meal on the grill.

Domestic. Yeah, OK, I can live with that.

April 17, 2008

Got Bats?

He looks harmless, right?

So earlier this week I posted about our cat Bode who we brought to the vet because of a growth on his leg (which turned out to be a funky hair follicle) and left the vet with a scheduled appointment to have several teeth extracted next week. Fun. While at the vet she recommended that he get a rabies booster because it had been a few years since his last shot. My husband and I were certain that we were being taken and questioned why a completely indoor cat would need a rabies booster. The vets response made us laugh: "Well, even though he's an indoor cat there is a chance that bats (rampant carriers of rabies) can get into the home and on the off chance that Bode comes in contact with this bat he could contract the disease." HUH??? At that point in the visit we really just wanted to sign the bill and get home so we reluctantly let the vet give Bode the rabies booster on the off chance that:

A) A bat finds it's way into our home (I've never even seen one in the area let alone our home)
B) When said invisible bat becomes visible, Bode will somehow catch it and contract rabies

I'm pretty sure you can see where this is going...

A) Later that night I saw a shadow fly across the living room ceiling. I then saw it fly upstairs.
B) We locked Bridger (our other cat who did not receive the rabies booster that day) in a room and I instructed my husband to, "let Bode take care of it".

He took care of it alright. Less than a minute after I watched it (yes, a bat) fly upstairs my cute little Bode was prancing, literally prancing, down the stairs with the poor little guy in his mouth. He deposited the "gift" at the head of the dining room table and strutted proudly back to his roost. I have no idea what a bat was doing in our home or how Bode leaped far enough into the air to effortlessly catch it, but he did. And he did it on the exact same day our vet recommended a rabies booster shot, just in case he came in contact with a flying bat...

New rule: My cat rocks. (Oh, and when your vet recommends a rabies booster - get it.)

April 15, 2008

The Nitty Gritty

We're at the stage where some of those nitty gritty decisions we all gloss over in light discussion or make "notes to self" to finalize or confirm eventually actually need to be finalized or confirmed now. Things such as:

1) A pediatrician
2) Maternity leave
3) Post-maternity leave child care
4) Dietary preparations that address the age-specific needs of the child as well as needs specific to possible health concerns, and developmental concerns for that matter

Don't get me wrong - we all read, question, and prepare a lot during the dossier prep and wait process, but preparing yourself and actually signing on with a doctor and agreeing to a health plan and letting your HR department know more than just an approximation of when you'll be out on maternity leave and arranging all of the details...well that part is starting to require quite a bit more attention. Again, don't get me wrong - I LOVE the amount of attention we finally get to pay to this sort of stuff. As I put it in an email to our adoption consultant today: Is there a cloud 20? We passed #9 & #10 long ago!!!

#1: Pediatrician
We've covered the basics of having a trusted pediatrician review the medical documents and make knowledgeable assessments and identify any potential areas for concern. Check. However today we met with the doctor who will likely be our child's primary pediatrician and now need to decide if this is the man who's hands we're going to place our child's health in or if we need to expand our options. We both like him, feel as though we could trust him, and appreciate that he has a history of working as a doctor in other countries. Unfortunately all of these countries (and the families he's worked with) are primarily caucasian and he admitted that he's never worked with children adopted from Ethiopia before, not that that's a surprise. At least he's honest. I suppose I should mention that we're looking for a pediatrician in New Paltz which is where we spend most of our time and is about 2 hours north of NYC which is where we spend some of our time. Our options for pediatricians in NYC are obviously much larger, however we feel it important to have a local pediatrician where we spend the majority of our time- right? I guess we could have two, one in the city and one in the country...that seems like it could get unnecessarily complicated though. We like this guy, he made some good suggestions (as if I could tell the difference between good and bad medical advice...the expert that I am) and honestly I'm sure he'd be fantastic. So we should go with him, right? Of course we'd really love to have Dr. Aronson as our primary physician (the famed orphan doctor) and will likely have her do the initial examination once we're home, but the fact that she doesn't accept insurance is kind of a bummer.

#2: Maternity Leave
This ones got me in a bind. I can take 6, 8, even 12 weeks if I want thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). My company is very generous (I think, at least in comparison to the limited exposure I've had with other company's regulations) so at least some of this will be paid leave, however not 100% and certainly not for the full 12 weeks. Yes, we thought about this ahead of time and yes, we've been saving and yes, we would both LOVE to just use the full 12 weeks. But nope, still not 100% sure how much time to take but are leaning towards 8-12 weeks.

#3: Post-Maternity Leave Child Care
I will return to work and although am fortunate to work remotely from home most of the time we all know that chasing after a 1-2 year old is not something one can do while remaining a productive employee. So, in-home babysitter for peak hours? Daycare? Find other families and combine in some sort of modified daycare/babysitter routine? Au pair? We're leaning towards a babysitter who can arrive after the morning nap around noon and stay until about an hour after the afternoon nap, so let's say a 12-5 schedule when we're working remotely. Because he's definitely going to abide by a strict morning/afternoon nap schedule, right? (Oh come on, I'm not that naive) When we're in NYC we're going to need all-day care so that's a whole other bridge to tackle, but at least there we have friends with children (and the all important thing that goes along with that - EXPERIENCE!) so are confident we'll sort out the right option.

#4: Specific Dietary & Developmental Preparations
I'll be honest, he's going to be over a year by the time we bring him home and let's just be real - his first year of life was no walk in the park. There are many early intervention programs we can take advantage of and I have a masters in early childhood education so in theory should know a thing or two, but sitting with the doctor today while he pointed out all of the things we should be considering and preparing for based on an actual medical report for our actual real life child kind of turned the whole topic on it's arse.

I love the nitty gritty, in fact I often thrive on being a bit OCD with the Nit and the Grit. This is just me coming into the realization that this is happening - I have a face and a name and a medical history and a zillion questions and...well, no amount of preparation could possibly be sufficient at this point, at least not for someone who requires a 16 x 16 matrix to map the most simple of projects.

Over analyze? Me? No...

A Vet Visit & Chicken Wings

Our cat Bode is growing an extra kneecap on one of his hind legs (at least that's what it looks like) so we brought him to the vet yesterday for a checkup. Anytime we bring one of our cats to the vet our nerves are about 60% due to being worried about what could be wrong and about 40% due to being worried about how much it's going to fix whatever is wrong. After her initial examination we breathed a nice sigh of relief when she assessed that it is probably nothing other than an odd hair follicle growth and if we do decide to have it removed it wont cost too much. Phew.

Then she checked out his mouth...it's never a good thing to hear your vet screech "OMG!" in the middle of an exam. Apparently poor Bode is a victim of periodontal disease and needs to have multiple teeth extracted. We scheduled the visit immediately (you tell me my cat is in pain, I demand the procedure take place as soon as humanly (felinely?) possible!) and went home to discuss how we are going to pay for said extraction. Wouldn't it be lovely if our health insurance covered pets? Who is a health insurance provider anyhow to determine if one species is any less of a qualified dependent than another? OK I know that's a bit insane, but still.

We are responsible pet owners. We adopted both of our cats from the same nonprofit (Kitty Kind) and are very mindful of their health and daily habits and schedule vet visits when things appear to be a little off. So I do feel bad even questioning whether or not we should go through with the surgery, but at the same time we recall Bode's last encounter with dental surgery which wasn't exactly a success. The last dental visit Bode had a few years ago was with a different vet who recommended that Bode have several teeth removed. He told us, similar to our vets comments yesterday, that "he will be a whole new cat once those teeth are removed, you wont even believe how much happier he will be!" Only that wasn't the case at all, in fact Bode became even more skiddish and cautious only now he was missing teeth which doesn't exactly make eating easy.

So we're torn. Do we have her do a teeth cleaning and do our best to maintain his teeth with weekly brushings and feline tarter control products because he really doesn't seem to be in any pain or unhappy at all? Or do we go with her recommendation and go through with the surgery in hopes of preventing a possible infection? I have a feeling we'll go through with the surgery because that's what the expert is suggesting, but I'm just concerned that the same thing will happen this time as did last - more teeth removed making it even harder to eat (which means fairly regular pukings since he already has to swallow most of his food whole) and potentially making him even more skiddish. All this for a precautionary measure and to cure "pain" that he really doesn't appear to be in. I just don't know.

Oh, and the reason the title includes a bit on chicken wings - our recent healthy eating plan came to a screeching halt yesterday when we realized that if we do go through with Bode's surgery then we'll need to start taking advantage of $0.25 wing night at the local pub to pay for it...

April 13, 2008

I Lose My Breath

*Every time I look at his pictures
*Every time I step into the nursery and realize it's now our son's room
*Every time I look at his pictures
*When I read Parenting magazine and realize I need to pay close attention to the infant AND toddler pages
*Every time I look at his pictures
*When we're in a store and realize that although he's 11 months old his current size places him in the 6-9 month range
*Every time I look at his pictures
*When we find an outfit, he could be wearing this outfit in pictures with us, in 2 months - or less!
*Every time I look at his pictures
*When my eyes are closed.
*When my eyes are opened. Not open, opened.
*When I realize that I would rather keep my eyes closed until I can open them when he is there, in front of me, in my arms.

The next 2 months are going to be difficult. Thank goodness for the reassurance from CHI that he's being loved and cared for now that he's at the House of Hope, CHI's transition home. But still I find myself losing my breath regularly, and we're only on day #4 of the wait for a court date...

I plan on losing my breath fairly frequently over the next two months. This journey is about so much more than just learning to be parents, it's about learning how to lose your breath and then catch it - when the time is right. Earlier this evening I was gasping for air, and now I'm pleasantly dreaming of the most perfect little boy on Earth.

April 11, 2008

Post-Referral Karma

We're still getting over the initial shock of actually having received our referral this week. I go to sleep looking at his picture, then dream of it, then awake wanting nothing other than to be in Ethiopia RIGHT NOW loving him. Our referral acceptance package arrived first thing Thursday morning, and it returned to CHI's office - signed, sealed, delivered - first thing Friday morning. He's on his way to being ours! We received an email from the Ethiopia Program Director estimating that a court date could come as quickly as 5 weeks from now (we were thinking more along the lines of 6-8 weeks) so karma seems to be pulling in our general direction for the time being. And yet my heart still sinks into my stomach every time I feel happiness about this as I know, I just know, that his first mother is in such a different place with this right now. While we celebrate a referral she questions or processes her decision and her son grieves the loss of a mother. Its hard to understand Karma and God through this sometimes.

On another seemingly karmic-influenced note we recently rekindled a friendship from our high school years with a dear friend who is now working at a clinic in Haiti as a pediatrician. She has very graciously helped us with multiple medical questions and if you haven't checked out her blog (also listed in my sidebar titled "This isn't Grey's Anatomy") I definitely recommend it - her perspective on the day-to-day in Haiti is eye opening to say the least. We were such good friends in our earlier years, completely lost touch for the past 10 or so years, and now have been reunited under completely random circumstances (random blog searching) yet both seem to be at a similar place in life with very similar hopes and dreams of where we desire to go from here. I love the randomness of how this kind of stuff happens!

Now off to enjoy and celebrate the weekend! It kicked off with an amazing Thai style halibut dinner with friends tonight (I will definitely post the recipe, it's delicious!) and we're going to begin finalizing some of the many decisions we had put off until we knew the gender/age of our child. I still can't believe it, yet his picture (the one in front of me right now) makes it real.

April 9, 2008

We're Having A Bridger!

OK, so regulations require that we not post or email any identifying information or pictures of our absolutely precious sweet beautiful perfect bright eyed makes-me-melt every time I look at his picture little man, so in lieu of his picture I'll share a picture of our first little man (Bridger) who is approximately the same weight of our new little man, Ashton McGregor. And although I would never say this to Bridger, I must say that Ashton wins hands-down on looks. Did I mention how beautiful he is?

Call details:
So, Toni sent out the bat signal as we previously arranged, but evidently it wasn't visible from the meeting room where I was giving a presentation to a client in Virginia while my husband sent me multiple text messages from New York wondering WHY ON EARTH I wasn't answering my cell phone! It was on vibrate in my purse so I didn't even look to see if there were messages until after my meeting, and when I got to the car turned to my colleague and said, "Um, I think YOU'RE going to have to drive us back to the airport..." I noticed multiple texts from my husband with the obvious "where are you???" titles and knew something was up. So my colleague took the drivers seat and I called my husband and Toni to get the news. The next 20 minutes or so are still a bit of a blur, but essentially we learned of an 11 month old little man with huge bright eyes who we just can't wait to meet.

We sped to the airport in hopes of making an earlier flight home, and realized when we got to there that my name was the only one on the rental car so I should probably be the one driving it to the rental car return. So literally a block from the return center we pulled over and I took the wheel (still shaking head to toe) and proceeded to drive to the lot...on the wrong side of the road! Let's just say I was a bit beside myself with emotions and definitely should not have been behind the wheel. Thankfully the humongous airport transfer bus meeting us head-on wasn't too mean while I meandered back to the right side of the street...My colleague forgave me thank goodness but note to all waiting families: Hide the keys to the car on referral day - your state of mind will NOT be in any condition to drive!

So, about 6 hours and 3 flight delay/changes later my husband met me at the airport with the pictures of our son printed and tulips in hand. Our hearts are still racing and our eyes have literally been pinned on his picture all day. We are beside ourselves with emotions that I can't quite seem to find words to describe.

So now we wait for a court date when Ethiopia will officially recognize us as Ashton's parents (currently this court date averages 6-8 weeks after the referral call) and then it will be another 2 weeks or so before we travel. So, if all goes well we'll be traveling sometime in June! Once we pass a successful court date we can share more details about his given name, meaning, and other information however for now you'll just have to trust us - his story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, the heroics of his mother more humbling than anything I could ever imagine, and his face simply the sweetest most I-want-him-in-my-arms-now face I've ever seen.

It's A Boy!

Details to follow!

April 6, 2008

Adoption Is Not:

  1. Easy: Dossier preparation falls somewhere between inventing a new energy source and performing your own kidney transplant.
  2. Fast: 6 months of dossier prep + 6 months to 4 YEARS wait time = you do the math.
  3. Certain: Expected wait times can balloon from 6 months to 4 years at the drop of a hat and entire programs can be suspended with little notice. Yes, YEARS into the process you can be told that the process is no longer possible.
  4. Plan B: Please, do not make assumptions, chances are you're incorrect.
  5. An obligation: Our obligation is to love.
Adoption is: A personal and spiritually led decision that my husband and I made to embrace family in all forms, embrace brotherhood as nature intended, and embrace love as God intended. It's amazing, excruciating, beautiful, painful, enlightening and shattering. It's love, and we're in it for the long run.

April 5, 2008

Best Rose Ever

Oriel 2005 "Femme Fatale" Bordeaux Rose. Scrumptious scrumptious scrumptious. And with BBQ season in full swing we're loving it!

It was beautiful out today, so we spent the afternoon walking around town, catching up on yard work, and planning dinner - on the grill, of course. While on the sidewalk a car pulled over and rolled down their window so I assumed they just needed directions or something. Nope - it was the owner of our local wine shop making sure that we knew they were doing a tasting today along with his homemade chili and that we should definitely stop by - so of course we had to!

This is the newest wine shop in town and quickly became a favorite. Although their prices are a touch higher than the others we still find ourselves shopping there most often. Reason #1 is an extremely knowledgeable team who make an effort to remember every returning customer's name and wine preference. Reason #2 is what happened today - they actually pull to the side of the road to say hi and let you know there's a tasting going on! It's hard to beat that level of service.

Seriously, try this rose - it's delicious. We paired it with a grilled chorizo and vegetable meal, but as long as it's a sunny day (or rainy but dreaming of a sunny day!) it would probably be lovely with just about anything.


April 4, 2008

MLK 40

Straight Magic's post and this article are definitely worth while reads.

April 3, 2008

I Had To Laugh

I was on a call with my boss today engaged in a "catch up" conversation where I share updated info on current clients, areas going well and areas where I need assistance, yada yada - when the conversation turned to a colleague who requires an extra bit of patience every now and then. My boss commended me on having patience with this person while they learn the process and I just had to laugh. The very word "patience" means so much to me right now that I couldn't begin to think that anything work related could even remotely require such a label. Patience I said? Yes, I can do that. Patience? You ain't seen patience my friend...

Now for a little 007 secret ninja top secret info: I may or may not have sent an email to our adoption consultant today that may or may not have resulted in the receipt of information that may or may not have made us think that referral(s) are on the horizon...and may or may not be enough to include us! I'm going to hold my breath for the next few days and try not to turn blue...I'll be taking ALL of your suggestions from my earlier post for hobbies to keep me busy, thanks!

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks the one year anniversary for the Children's Hope International Ethiopia program. In their first year they placed 28 children into their forever families and organized substantial efforts for providing homes, help, and hope for children in need. Congratulations!

April 1, 2008

New Hobbies

So it's pretty clear that I need some new hobbies to help keep a proper perspective on this journey, especially given all of the recent press on increased wait times, concerns of ethics violations, and the overall uncertainty of international adoption programs. Uncertainty is tough, and for those who know me it's no surprise that I'm struggling with the uncertainty of this process. I want to be doing something, contributing something to the process to keep it moving along. But it's not in my hands, which brings me back to the point of this post - I need some new hobbies to keep me from thinking that it is in my hands and that I could be doing something. It's not, and I can't.

Hobby #1: American Idol
Dolly Parton rocks. I'm not sure if having a widely known song titled for my name is good fortune or not (especially considering the lyrics of this particular tune) but nonetheless I dig Dolly, and her version of this song (ahem, the original) simply trumps all of the others. Now off to figure out how to transform this into a hobby...

Hobby #2: Food
So this may not seem like something new, but now that spring has sprung I can begin planting herbs, fruits, and veggies in the garden which shines a whole new light on our cooking adventures. So this "new" hobby spans two activities - cooking and gardening!

Hobby #3: Amharic
I'm bound and determined to learn this language so even if this isn't a new hobby I've got newly energized enthusiasm to tackle this challenge. We've got CD's to listen to while in the car, programs to run on our laptops, children's DVD's and CD's full of songs and helpful phrases, and our Amharic tutor to constantly correct our pronunciation. Right now I'd say we're weak at best, but we'll keep chugging along until it clicks one day - and it will!

I need a hobby #4...