February 29, 2008
February 28, 2008
Check it out, interesting read!
February 27, 2008
A book in Amharic, English, French, and Spanish - FABULOUS! If you're a member of the Ethiopia Adopt Yahoo group please leave a comment on one of the posts as you're eligible for a discount. Ours should be arriving soon so will post a review as soon as we've received it. The Zufan Stories site says:
"Zufan and the Flower is based on a true story. Told in four languages - Amharic, English, French and Spanish - it is the first volume in a series about the adventures of Zufan."
Can't wait for ours to arrive! We've now completed 8 weeks of our Amharic course and will likely extend our lessons after our 10th week is complete. It would be a pity to have our last Amharic lesson be later this month and then not have any exposure to Amharic until we travel (which could be many months), so we're planning on tagging on a few lessons just before we head to Ethiopia - whenever that may be. In the meantime we'll be struggling through our broken practice conversations, adding more neutral colors to the nursery (green and yellow really are lovely), and thanking God that we have a place to stay in NYC as well as Upstate NY as I think we'd drive each other nuts if we had to stay in either location indefinitely...climbing the walls of winter I guess.
Cheers to thriving on flexibility.
February 26, 2008
February 25, 2008
February 24, 2008
February 22, 2008
We'll continue to seek out prominent Ethiopians and learn about their influences on world art, culture, education, science, politics, and more and are anxious to share this knowledge with our child one day. Our child's identity is going to develop much like Wosene's art, influenced by both Ethiopia and the United States and undoubtedly beautiful.
~ Wosene Worke Kosrof
Wosene Worke Kosrof Colors of Words II, 2001
As for our Amharic lessons, we're getting there. Not very quickly but we do learn more each week and some of the basic phrases are even starting to flow more smoothly when we practice. We're in the midst of getting about a foot of snow today so that should give us an excuse for some extra practice time while we're stuck indoors. 27 days till spring! So far we can meet, greet, say goodbyes, count, and indicate what we "like" or "have" for a handful of vocabulary words. If anyone ever asks me if I like or have a chicken beware - I know how to respond! (affirmatively at least, we're still working on the "no" responses as there isn't actually a word for "no" in Amharic rather a complex redesign of the subject/verb structure in the sentence...yeah, this isn't going to be easy!)
As for all of your offers in our last post to take over the traveling baton, THANK YOU! Please, enjoy your vacations/travels and we'll keep our fingers crossed that your return will bring another batch of referrals!
February 20, 2008
As a result of this news I feel it only appropriate to offer myself as a freelance referral traveler. I volunteer to go on vacation whenever wait times seem to be lingering on the long side in hopes that another batch will come through upon my return.
February 18, 2008
*As a side note, if you're looking to plan a trip to ancient ruins we would highly suggest checking out Tikal in Guatemala or Machu Pichu in Peru. Although Teotihuacan was incredible, visits to these two will absolutely stop in you dead in your tracks, they're just that amazing.
February 16, 2008
This city is huge and we haven't exactly been able to gain a decent understanding of directionals, so we've taken to our own geographic lingo when chatting about which direction we're going with each other. Essencially if we're heading towards the park we're going south, away from the park (but on the main roadway) we're going north, and everything else is really just relative to where we "think" we may happen to be at the moment. Mind you we have absolutely no idea how accurate these are, but fortunately can converse with the cab drivers enough to ensure we get where we want to go. In the cab on our way back to our hotel this afternoon we decided to just call it south... It really is a lovely city, but is absolutely massive. We lived in Buenos Aires for a year (13 million) and currently live in NYC (11 million) but Mexico City (22 million) is just plain A LOT!
This morning we decided to put off our trip to the pyramids until tomorrow and instead spend the day visiting some more art. This city is absolutely teeming with art, it's fantastic. Again walking from one side of the city to another (which really isn't so bad in 80 degree sunny weather!) we took in the sights at a local arts market, the Centro de la Imagen (photography museum), Bellas Artes (gorgeous theater), the Diego Rivera Mural Museum, the National Arts Museum, and then on to the ruins of Templo Mayor. We had lunch overlooking the ruins and were very happy to rest our feet after a long day of museum hopping. The iced margarita was a welcome treat in the hot sun!
So tomorrow we're off to the pyramids then perhaps on to a dinner and some mariachi. Hopefully we'll continue to encounter the same friendliness in cab drivers we've experienced so far - they've been so willing to chat with us and answer questions, point things out, etc... I love being able to speak the language in the country I'm traveling in. I'm a little worried about how little we will have studied Amharic before our next lesson on Monday night though...we were just getting to the point where we could practice conversations but I have a feeling this little trip may be setting us back a few days! Vale la pena - worth it.
February 15, 2008
Other cultural norms we enjoy observing while traveling are those of baggage. Not baggage in the luggage sense but baggage as in “what you must be carrying with you at all times to be a local” sense. Obviously there are times when locals aren't carrying their country's "baggage norm" but there always seems to be an overwhelming presence of one item in each country we visit, and it always has a positive connotation, something happy or culturally significant that provides a visual of the streets in a country or region. When we were in Bolivia the baggage norm was the chicken. No matter where we went the locals seemed to have a chicken in tow. In Morocco it was a watermelon. Not in Marrakesh, but in most of the surrounding areas. If you didn’t have a watermelon you just could not possibly be a local. In Italy…wine. Don’t ever go to a restaurant in Italy and attempt a meal without wine – not possible. (we did OK with that one) So now we’re in Mexico and the baggage norm appears to be the lime. HUGE sacs of limes. I think we’ve squeezed a trees worth of limes onto our drinks and dinners since we got here. I can’t help but wonder what the baggage norm will be when we’re in Ethiopia. Based on conversations with our Amharic tutor we should expect to enjoy large quantities of coffee - so perhaps it will be sacs of coffee beans? I can't wait to find out!
Yesterday we went for a walk around the neighborhood (we're staying in the Zona Rosa) and enjoyed a ridiculously huge and delicious lunch and then participated in the Noche Romantica (Valentines Day) festivities. Today we walked from one side of the city to the other landing in Chapultepec Park where we visited the Modern Art Museum and Archeology Museum. We then headed to the Historic Center of town to visit the National Cathedral, National Palace, and finally found ourselves at the Gregory Colbert “Ash and Snow” exhibit. Our cab driver told us it was in town and our jaws absolutely dropped. This is a traveling exhibit that spent a few months in NYC last year, but the 4 hour queue (and $20 entry) kept us from going. Not the case in Mexico City – Gratis and Rapido! (free and quick – walked right in!) It’s by far the largest photo exhibit I’ve ever seen, and is absolutely magical. Tomorrow we’re going to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan (the main pyramid is the 3rd largest in the world) and then plan to visit various other galleries including those host to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. This city is so beautiful, colors blasting everywhere, and fantastically rich in history. Loving it.
A monument in Chapultepec Park
February 13, 2008
For bio-preggers moms (it must be ok to refer to them that way if I'm referring to myself as paper preggers, right?) they have the secured knowledge that their baby is living inside of them and that every possible environmental, physical, and psychological need is being met to the best of their ability. With each trimester comes new developments, new visible appendages and perhaps even the gender should the family want to know. For us paper preggers families we aren't privy to this comfort or the trimester updates. And as time goes on the discomfort tends to increase - not decrease. Political, non-political, or completely random events could occur that could somehow affect the adoption process. Of course every paper preggers family enters into the world of adoption knowing full well of these possibilities (hopefully). But to be honest that doesn't help much in the day to day mind of a perspective adoptive parent. After all, we're talking about our family here - try to just hide that in the back of your mind. Hard, right?
So...Were we paper preggers when we first began learning about international adoption? Or when we finished the paper chase? Or now that we've been "officially" waiting for 2 months, 1 week, and 2 days? I might be over being paper preggers. From now on I'm just a mom waiting.
I'm OK with that - new status, mom waiting. Ready to accept and respond to the challenges that we'll inevitably encounter, but in full-swing mommy-mode as well.
Bring on that referral.
February 12, 2008
"Don’t worry, when your referral comes in, we will locate you no matter where you are, send out the national guard if we have to, flares, bat signals……but I’ll call your cells first."
I like the bat signal response enough that I think I'll start using it as my response to colleagues at work when they ask me if there are any updates on our adoption. I usually say something along the lines of, "don't worry, when there's an update TRUST ME you'll know!" But I hadn't ever thought of bat signals before!
Less than 34 hours and we'll be on a plane to Mexico City...I feel more relaxed already.
February 9, 2008
First, thank you to my sister for that absolutely wonderful introduction! I guess that means I should try to live up to pedestal shes put me on! A little bit about me and my adoption histories. I first found out that I was pregnant with my birth son when I was 16, just finishing my junior year in high school. At first, I was scared beyond belief! I was too young to have a baby, not to mention telling my family! Growing up in a Christ centered family this was the last thing they wanted to hear. But, I came to the conclusion that this guy loved me and would help me raise this child growing inside me. Well, I was wrong. The birth father left me when I was about 3-4 months along. I was heartbroken. But for some reason I still thought I could raise this child on my own.
On Thanksgiving of that year, my dad set me down and had a one on one talk. By the end, I realized I was being selfish and needed to think of this child first. That was when I made the choice to give my child a long and happy life with two parents. The adoption process was long, but I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. I ultimately chose a close friend of our family. It just so happened that they were going through the adoptive parent side of things at the same agency I was using. When I gave birth to Theodore (Teddy), and realized it was almost time to give this child over to his new family, it was the hardest time in my entire life. I new I was making the right decision, but the very thought of "giving up" this child whom I had bonded with so closely for nine months was breaking my heart. This was the start of the grieving process.
After the adoption, it didn't take me long to realize that I had made the best decision in the world. I was blessed to have an open adoption and was able to see my birth son first hand being raised by people I already cared deeply for. The bond between myself and the adoptive mother grew so much deeper. I came to have a new, deeper respect for her as I watched her play with and rock my baby boy to sleep. Teddy is almost 8 now and I have the wonderful joy of being able to watch him grow into a young man.
I have also given up a baby girl for adoption. Years ago, I was in a very rough spot in my life. I was doing drugs, living with men who disrespected me, and did unspeakable things that really hurt myself and my family. Luckily, God had a different plan for my life. It just took me awhile to realize it. I ended up going through some pretty intensive treatment programs. While I was in treatment, I found my way back to the Lord and started apologizing for everything I had done. However, also while I was in treatment I was raped by one of the van drivers. I never saw him again after that night but the effects of what had happened will stay with me forever. I got pregnant. Again, scared, alone, not wanting to go through the pain of handing over another child, I thought I was going to parent her. And again, God had a different plan.
As if in the same timing sequence, my dad had another talk with me. And amazingly the adoptive parents of Teddy were going through the adoption processes again. At first I didn't know that they were looking to adopt again so I was closing in on other families. I know it seems silly, but one of the most important things to me in finding a family for my baby girl, was that they would know how to do her hair. She is bi-racial and with the birth fathers dark skin I knew her hair was going to be a handful! I just wanted to make sure she looked good!! Once I heard that my son's forever family was in the adoption process I knew in my heart what I wanted to do. I originally wanted to name her Isabelle (I've always loved that name). One day when I was in church with a friend though, she leaned over to me and suggested the name Grace. It hit me. It was only because of Gods Grace that I had made it through my meth addiction and was alive to give birth to this beautiful child. Grace was her name!
Again, it was hard to hand over a baby I had bonded so deeply with for 9 months, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I had to get my life back on track and this baby girl needed two parents who could give her all of the love, attention, and worldly possessions that I could not. Grace is now 3 years old and is such a wonderful handful! I cant imagine not having a relationship with Grace and Teddy. They are the reasons I want to succeed in life. To make them proud. And the relationship with myself and the forever parents has grown so much, that I can't imagine my birth children with anyone else. They are such wonderful, Godly parents who are raising my babies to be respectful, honest, God fearing children. I would not have done anything differently throughout either of these adoptions.
I pray that my sister and brother-in-law can meet the first family of their baby. I know first hand the lifelong effect that it can have. It is such a special bond that I would never give up for anything. Best of wishes to everyone going through adoption process now and in the future!
February 8, 2008
Perspective adoptive parents adopting from
My sister is a first mom.
She is the first mother to two children who now live with their forever mother and father. She was young and unprepared, yet mature and strong in so many ways. She made the difficult decision to make one family's dreams come true, and they're now in their 7th year of an open adoption. I truly believe that the forever family’s ongoing connection with my sister has had a highly positive influence on the children. The first family connection can be priceless, and it just feels criminal to intentionally prevent. We continue to hope from the depths of our heart that we’ll be allowed to meet our child’s first family if at all possible.
Introducing Jewels – The newest contributor to the McGregor Journey. Stay tuned!
February 7, 2008
February 6, 2008
February 5, 2008
So, cross your fingers and wish me luck that I'll find rhyme with my reason and responsibility with my reservations and book a nice, quaint, nearby vacation. FYI - I'm not holding my breath... And, evidently when I'm writing about things that I'm trying to personally convince myself against I tend to use capital letters. Interesting.
The main contributor, I now understand, is a decline in the amount of traveling we've done recently. I too consider travel and culture my best education ever, and my mind is aching for some travel! This year our goal was for me to save all of my vacation days until after my maternity leave, that way I'll have 6-8 weeks home with the baby and then 3 additional weeks of vacation to use later in the year. Truth be told...there's no way I'm going to make it another 3 to 9 months without going SOMEWHERE!
So, off to find the quickest (close by so the flight isn't too long, minimizing the number of days I'll need to take off work), cheapest, and most fabulous place we haven't been yet. We've been to some parts of Mexico but never Mexico City, and most of Central America but never Costa Rica. These would both be relatively short flights for us, so we'll see what I can find!
Travel. Best education ever.
February 4, 2008
February 3, 2008
Then off to enjoy the rest of the day, slowly meandering our way North to our friends apartment for dinner. I loved that at every location we stopped into there were strollers outside and happy families enjoying the day doing the same thing we were doing but with children! Can't wait to be one of them. When you're in a city the size of NYC it's also hard not to notice the sheer quantity of stroller designs - wow there are a lot of options. We love our Stokke Xplory...now we just need the Bean to put in it!
February 1, 2008
"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." Habakkuk 2:3
Then type "Amharic script" into the search and it should lead you to her Amharic book, "Amharic Ethiopian Script: Lakech One". (Or try clicking HERE but not sure if the direct link will work for everyone)Also, my mother in law sent us a fabulous new CD of Ethiopian kids songs that comes with a book that provides a basic pronunciation and translation guide. We can sing along with two of the songs already (both counting songs, hooray our number pronunciation is OK!) and will hopefully learn a few more over the weekend. It's called "The Life of Childhood Amharic Kids Songs" and is exclusively distributed by Abshiro Kids. FUN!