Monday, December 31, 2007

BIG Day

Happy New Year's indeed! This morning I woke up to an update on Tariku again! This one was even more special. This one had a picture!!!!! His head is shaved since I saw him last (they do that to stave off any ringworm or lice substances) and it's an EXTREME close up but he really is so unbelievably precious! Ack I just want to hug and kiss on him until he can't stand it anymore.

It also talked more about his personality (very sociable) and his favorite toy (ball). Some of his "achievements" (climbs stairs switching feet, etc). It was so great hearing more about him. I picture him doing all of these things. I even tried to take a nap but images of him were dancing around in this head of mine.

On top of all of that, after one maybe two emails to the government, they wrote back and said our fingerprints are set for January 15 at 10am in Des Moines (we're coming mom and dad!). This all means after the fingerprints and the official word that we're deemed acceptable to bring Tariku into the states there will be NOTHING stopping us (side from the Ethiopian courts that is). We are literally so close I can taste it. The reality of him growing in the care center (he has learned quite a few things since being there, and appears to have learned a lot of Amharic/English) is hitting me less and less hard when we are so close.

Can't believe it's 2008 already. 2007 was an absolute amazing year. It's hard to believe we will be a family of 5 throughout most of 2008 and by 2009 having three kids will be as natural as it possibly can be. I'm excited for the uncomfortableness that the beginning of '08 will bring!

Oh yeah, and if you are an Iowan, get excited for some caucasing in a few days!!! Hard not to be proud to be an Iowan this time of the year during a Presidential race.

Happy New Years to all!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Randomness...Again

So on Thursday night when we went out with the Klipschs to celebrate Zach, and therefore my, youngest sister's 21st birthday an interesting discussion came up. The oldest brother has a friend whose child was born with Celebral Palsy (I think). I know the friend as well as the son but had never known the story of how it happened, etc. For those that don't know, I suffered a miscarriage a few years back. On Thursday that baby theoretically would've celebrated it's 2nd birthday. So the timing of it all was quite interesting. The story was told about the mother of this boy going into premature labor because she had turned septic with an infection. The baby was delivered at 23ish weeks and was diagnosed with CP some time afterwards. Anyhow, it really hit me that night for some reason. Perhaps it was the wine, it was definitely the timing...but I realized I had never thanked God for my miscarriage. It sounds strange even writing that. I don't doubt that boy's parents praise God for his life everyday, just as I would have had my baby been born. But I know God saved me from what could've potentially been a huge heartache by carrying that baby to term. I too was septic and, according to doctor testimonial, barely came through with my life. This is not to say I don't mourn every December 28th for the child that wasn't, but I am starting to realize the battles that child might have faced. God is truly something.

Tonight we celebrated my youngest nephew, Elihu's, 1st birthday. Good times. My sister-in-law's aunt adopted Steven (you got that?) from Ethiopia some 5 years ago. Steven was running around the house playing with Trysten and my nephew, Oliver. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. Though he was older than Tariku and certainly wasn't Tariku, he was Ethiopian! I think he thought I was some sort of obsessed freak, and I kind of was. But really, can you blame me?

To end on a light note...one of the reasons I've always loved my husband is because of his passion. When he becomes passionate (it's borderline obsessive) about something he REALLY latches on. Tonight, it is the Rubik's cube. He started at Eli's birthday party (sorry, Eli) and hasn't stopped. It's been close to 4 hours. He's getting close, as close as you can I suppose. But it's really something to watch! Good thing his passion also goes into more productive things like being a phenomenal husband, father, and Camp Director otherwise we'd have quite the problem on our hands!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Uh-Oh

The nesting has commenced. I realize we have at the very least another 6 weeks left, but the nesting doesn't listen to reason. It appears the nesting wants Tariku here too.

Today I organized Trysten and Tariku's room, Dailah's room and the room we are using as storage until the house is completed. I realize Martha Stewart has a whole empire and all, but I'm fairly certain even she would be impressed. So today went to organizing and tomorrow scrubbing takes over.

This could be a loooong few months.

Friday, December 28, 2007

1 More Thing

I forgot to mention the AMAZING fact that my parents gave us a great gift (among great gifts) this Christmas. Money to fly Tariku home!!! Woohoo! It was a great surprise and that is one check I just can't wait to spend. Now on to clever ideas to get Zach and myself to and fro the beautiful land that is Ethiopia.

I just looked on our unofficial list for the CHSFS forum and found out that we're "theoretically" in the next group to hear of travel news. Seeings we got our referral before we were waiting I never actually became obsessed with "the list". Hearing of Tariku has changed all this and so much more. Ah new obsessions!

Pajama Day

It has officially been declared a pajama day today at our residence. The only person who has slipped (kind of) out of his pajamas is the Mr. because he went to work for a bit. He is now back in them. The kids have their footies on and it's quite nice. The snow has been falling in blankets since I woke up this morning. It's a good day to be alive. We probably won't leave the house at all today, but a trip to the grocery store is beginning to look like a necessity. I just ate a lunch rich with sugar and non-nutrients. It was delicious though, Cheetos and Oreos can't beat it! Don't worry, Trysten got a bowl of cereal.

Went out for my sister-in-law's 21st birthday last night. We ate at a really great restaurant sans children and I enjoyed some of the biggest laughs of my life, which is no surprise since I married into a family that is quite possibly the funniest people I've met. It was a lot of fun but quite a late night so the few cat naps I've gotten today really hit the spot.

We are coming off the Christmas high and our everyday life is starting to resume. I think about Tariku more on days like today. Especially now that he and his big brother have matching underoos that I surely would've put them in today. 2 people on the forum got news of travel. By the time they travel they would've been waiting 3 months. We are in our 7th week of waiting for travel. Could our call be far off? I think it will, seeings the government has not called about our fingerprints yet but perhaps...Even though Christmas is officially over, I'm not the kind of girl to let wishful thinking go out the window.

As one of our friends who is also adopting from ET asked, "A day like today with all the snow really makes you wish you were in Ethiopia, doesn't it?" Couldn't have said it better myself!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Twas the Day After Christmas













And all through the house, the mommy was cleaning and the kids were playing. We not only survived Christmas, but we thoroughly enjoyed every second. It is safe to say we all made out like bandits, including sweet Tariku. I was right in my guess that I had conflicting emotions throughout the day. Ranging from extreme highs to subtle lows. It was really hard seeing his pile of presents and know that he wouldn't be opening, let alone playing with, them anytime soon. But, above all, it was a good time. Here are some pictures of the weeks festivities. One of the highlights was my parents renewing their vows. They celebrated their 30th anniversary on August 20th but since that was also the day of my grandma's funeral they thought it'd be poor form to "celebrate" both. Anyhow, they had their new rings blessed and are ready for another 60 years. I also got to spend some time with a few of my high school friends as well as my paternal cousins, aunts, uncles and second cousins. It was a great time had by all!

Pics: Kids and my sister, Dailah and her favorite thing of all time--babies, our family pic we're sending to Tariku, my side of the fam's pic, Dailah in her Christmas dress from my sister, the kids and their Christmas PJs, Trysten and his new bike, Tariku's presents from Santa and us.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Update On Our Beautiful Middle Child

Tariku Asamu (referred to as either Asamu or Asamo from our agency in Ethiopia) has gained weight! Woohoo! Since being in the care center he has gained 3lbs. Doesn't sound like a lot but since he's been there only 2 months that's pretty great, I think. Last night at dinner my sister-in-law said his measurements are about equal to my nephew, Oliver. Couldn't help but hold him just a few more times than usual last night. I even found myself closing my eyes and just picturing holding Tariku for a bit. It felt good, I must say.

We are in Altoona with my family. I can't say enough how much I love the Christmas season. I know for some it can bring them further from the real "reason of the season" because it's easy to get swept up in equal presents, etc. I seem to get ever closer. It's easier for me to remember what an impact that little baby in the manger has had on me. That He has saved me from so much, it's amazing to me. The celebration of Christmas never seems enough to Praise Him.

I can't help but think of Tariku's Ethiopian family this time of year either. I am blessed to be close to all of my family and will get to see all of them (but one of my cousins...weep, weep). My sweet boy will be in an orphanage this Christmas. For those that know me, know this is almost too hard to bare. I know they do a nice celebration and everything but it's just not the same. I have a feeling this will be my first Christmas where I have more conflicting emotions than ever before.

The smell of bacon is reaching my nostrils in the most intense way. I must be back in Altoona. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dossier in ET!!

Yay, I couldn't resist today so I wrote our wonderful Ethiopian Coordinator just one small email. "Just seeing where we were at in the process, sorry to bother I'm just missing my son today."

She wrote back, "Dossier is in country prepared for court. It gets submitted to court then awaits a court date. Hang in there!"

One step closer. Mommy is one step closer, Tariku.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Friends

Sometimes I'm snappy. Yesterday someone said, "I can't believe you are a mom to two kids". "Actually I'm a mom to three" I retorted rather nastily. My friend, Jody, and I were talking today about adoption. It's all consuming for us, why isn't everyone else in the world thinking about that? Why would someone call me a mom to two when I'm so obviously a mom to three?

I must say having Jody in my life has made this adoption SOO much easier to handle. It is nice having a friend to talk to about it all, share resources and laugh while our kids go running around her house. I've found adoption, like all things in life, is a bit easier to float through and smile through when you're sharing it with people you enjoy chatting with.

Biggest Loser finale tonight. Better go get myself prepared.

Monday, December 17, 2007

But You're Strong, Mommy.

Trysten has an imaginary friend, his name is Tariku and he happens to be Trysten's brother. When I make the kids breakfast, Trysten insists I make a (pretend) breakfast for Tariku. When I tuck him in at night, Trysten insists Tariku join us for prayers and snugglebugs. You know it's getting long when Trysten is beginning to believe his brother is just a figment of his imagination.

We got our immunizations today. So we went the "cheap" route and only got the shots that would prevent us from dying and/or making us wish we were dead. Those were Hep A, (we got Hep B at our doc's office), Yellow Fever and Typhoid. We skipped out on a few things but I was reassured that I would still be loved if I got any of the following: meningitis, polio, tetanus, etc. So, 3 shots each cost us $650. SERIOUSLY. That's ridiculous. Adoption is a pricey adventure, but one look at Tariku's eyes and I'd survive another 30 shots at $100 a pop. That's no jokes. But my arm hurting is no jokes either. The title of this post comes because Trysten was a great help when we were getting our shots. He held our hands and all. Well, I got mine first (by the way, did you know the Yellow Fever shot is shot basically in your armpit? 1) gross, 2) ow!) and I didn't bleed, nor did I squeeze his hand very tight. Well, Zach went next and he did bleed and Trysten reported later that he squeezed really tight. So a few minutes ago I was talking about how badly my arms hurt and Trysten said, "But you're strong, mommy". I'm going to assume it's because he recognizes how truly strong I am and not because of my subliminal messages I've been giving him since birth. I.e. mommy is stronger than daddy, women can beat up men if they want to, mommy can beat daddy in a leg race, mommy can beat daddy in an arm wrestling competition, mommy can squat more than daddy, etc.

I better be off to make some of my famous fettucine chicken alfredo, it is a favorite of everyone but mine; I find it's quite easy to sacrifice for the precious faces that stare at me across the table.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Indiana Jones

You know you are getting old when it's 7:45 on a Friday night. The wife is sitting on the computer checking out her favorite blogs and other ridiculous websites. The husband is watching Indiana Jones: The Raiders of the Lost Ark. The wife is remembering the class she took in the Iowa college of cinema that talked about movies and sound (specifically referring to Indiana's score--often referred to as "da, da, da, da, da da da da"--as well as the villian's score --dark, rustic, you get the picture). Both husband and wife sit on different couches drinking a glass of wine. That is old, especially when they are both thinking about going to bed in T minus 1 hour. Alas that is us in all of our elderly glory.

Funny comment by Trysten the other day. It reminded me of why I don't feel old enough to parent some days. Let me set the scene: Trysten was upstairs after waking up in the morning. We went downstairs when we heard Dailah babbling. I put her on the changing table. Trysten watches. The following is an almost-verbatim glimpse into our lives.

Trysten: Mommy, girls don't have penises do they? What did you say it was called again?

Mommy: Girls have vaginas, Trysten.

Trysten: Oh that's right. (Turns to Dailah) Nice vagina, Dailah.

WHAT?!?!?!?! What do I do in this case? It was so innocent and pure but all I wanted to do was laugh at the fact that my almost 5-year old is using terms like penis and vagina in a sentence; and saying them the way they should be. It's not riddled with sexual innuendo (as it would be if their dad was trying to have the same discussion) but just very basic. Incredible.

I don't know what I'll ever do when it comes to the "sex talk". I'm not entirely convinced I'll be very good at that even though I know it's necessary. If my intuition is anything like I think it is, I'm going to guess it will look mostly like me pretending to bite my nails and Zach doing all the talking. He's a talker, that's just what he does. Go for it, sweetness.

Anyhow, according to the score in Indiana Jones, it is about time to see some pretty crazy Indiana Jones ass kicking. Can't beat that on a Friday night. If you think you can, I'd love to hear from you. Until then, da da da da, da da da da da.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

1 Month Down

We've been waiting for travel for one month. Yesterday marked exactly one month ago that we learned of our brown eyed baby in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Looking back it went quite quickly. Some days are harder than others.

Last night Zach and I got to go shopping as Santa Claus. It is our first Christmas where we went together to get the kids their stuff. It was a lot of fun. I think all the kids will be happy with their loot. I was getting a little crazy, Zach had to remind me that Tariku was not actually with us yet and, as much as I imagined him tearing through the wrapping to open up his new winter coat, he was not going to be doing it. He would still be in a blazing hot climate with very little knowledge of us.

Last night was also the first night Zach and I got to talk in length about our fears, hopes, etc. Usually there's a child and/or family member around and we don't feel like we can be as open as we might be otherwise. It was good to get my hubby to talk about his expectations. I think we are both very realistic in what we are expecting and I myself am preparing for the worst (constant tantrums, neverending grief, etc) and hoping for the best. The hardest part thus far is trying to tell Trysten every time he talks about Tariku that it will still be some time before we can bring him home.

By far the most difficult thing for Zach and I to wrap our heads around is our life. We've suffered loss, sure. But the loss of a family, culture, home; these are things we know nothing about nor can we pretend that we could possibly understand what that must feel like. Zach is afraid he will come back from Ethiopia and feel the slightest bit worthless with this life in the land of the privaleged. I am trying to see the positive in that we can be the propellants who make our family and friends aware of the plight happening to our brothers and sisters in Africa and around the world. We will see how even more passionate we can become about this subject after we have "been in the trenches" (or at least as much as you can for a week, in a nice guest house) with our family in Ethiopia.

For now, we can wait. I am guessing the very earliest they will be calling us about travel will be this time in January to tell us of a Feb travel. The good part about the wait is it is giving us time to really learn about the conditions of the peoples of Ethiopia. The HIV pandemic in Africa and the monstrosity in Darfur. There is no shortage of places in the world in desperate need of prayer and I've learned the more I learn the more I want to learn and the more I NEED to help. I would encourage one and all to do the same! The worst part about the wait is that my child is half a world away and my cheeks are in desperate need of kisses from three children.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cookie Dough Kind of Day

I'm eating cookie dough straight from the tube, it's a "Big Batch" so I'm feeling confident I won't dominate the entire thing tonight.

I wrote our Ethiopian Coordinator to ask if she thought it'd be 12-16 weeks until travel from the time we accepted the referral (almost 1 whole month ago) or from when our homestudy was finally turned in (like, 1 day ago) and she said it wouldn't be until our dossier was translated and sent to ET. I'm fairly certain this was her way of breaking it to us that we might want to sit tight. So...I'm eating cookie dough. Straight from the tube.

We went to get our groceries tonight, Zach took the kids in one cart and I went shopping in the other. Turns out it is kind of fun when the kids aren't pulling at every aisle, wanting down to walk, etc. Anyhow, got to linger in a few aisles and I have no idea why I did it, but I went to the kids clothing. There was a size chart, according to that Tariku is a size 3T. So what did I do? Yup, looked at every one and pictured his beautiful brown eyes peeking out. There was the Diego hat and mittens that his smile lit up. There was a soccer outfit that was fitting for the boy who can't get enough of the game. It's all here. Everything is waiting for him and he has no idea.

I've been reading my friend's blog (check "Ehrman" on the side) because she's in ET right now picking up a girl who is Tariku's age and is from his same village. I drink up every word she says about the care center and the little boys she sees.

I need to change the way these blogs are taking shape. You'd never know my life is basically perfect and I can't get enough of it all. It's just a truly interesting crossroads in my life right now. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. :)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Just Because




Here are pics of the kids "just because" these two people make me feel better. Can't wait to be able to post the third's pic!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Random Acts of Violence

My daughter is abusive. If you see me walking around with bruises and/or tiny handprint marks, don't blame Zach, blame my 16-month-old. Right now, she is playing swords with my almost 5-year-old and laughing. Not a cute, I'm a baby laugh, but like an evil laugh. One akin to what the Wicked Witch of the West would do. Don't know how to get her to stop. We'll be playing and snuggling, she'll get a cute little grin on her face then wind up and smack me. Open fist smack. Makes noise and everything. I'm concerned, she seems to delight in it a bit too much. We've done everything we can think of and yet, she continues.

She and Trysten are really starting to enjoy playing together (side from the times that she slaps him and he cries, then she cries then I cry). It really is the cutest thing and it makes me very excited to have yet another one thrown in the mix within the next few months. It will be chaos but it will be joy, it thrills me.

We survived another couple days without Zachary again. The kids showed signs of missing their dad early in the week but were able to come through for me and were all kinds of fun (save for the aforementioned slapping).

I got the crud that the kids and Zman had. DARN-IT-ALL. I tried telling him my body won't get sick during the holidays because I'm too happy. Alas, my miserably bad immune system failed me again. Owell, don't tell my pharmacist of a sister but I'm finishing Zach's meds off for him see if we can save on the $10 co-pay. Very "green" if you ask me.

Still no movement on the house. Z and I learned that, in order to save the marriage, we must make "house" a 4 letter word and never speak of it again. When someone asks about it, we "shh" them quicker than you can say "No talking in the library" and pretend that we live in our old house. I often find myself going into a fetal position and wishing we were in a different house, but alas I uncurl and find the chant "there's no place like home" only takes me to here...home. Yippee kai yi yay motha .... you get the idea.

Here's to at least one day of no violence, no sore throats and a strong wind blowing the top of this house down (all of us being okay, obviously), oh yeah, and an email that says we can go pick up Tariku.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Tough

So this process is tough. There is no way around that, I knew going into it that'd be the case, and I definitely know now. I think the hardest part for me is when our expectations aren't meant. It's like that with life in general, but with adoption perhaps it increases. Our process has been a bit different than "normal". "Normally" you get all your paperwork in, the dossier complete. It goes over to Ethiopia, gets translated and sits and waits, somewhere between 4-6 mths for you to get your referral. Once you get your referral, it is sent all in one package to the courts and waits for it to go through court and let you know you're free to travel.

Well we got our referral even before all of our paperwork was in. We were just waiting for the homestudy basically, for it to be sent over. Well the homestudy was sent to us on Monday of this week (as noted before, that was about 6 weeks later than we planned). We talked to our Ethiopian coordinator to see what happens next and she wrote back today saying she didn't receive the homestudy yet. This is frustrating on a number of levels but it all boils down to our expectations weren't met. Now our expectations have collided with the fact that Tariku is waiting for us. The care center that CHSFS runs is beyond wonderful, but it doesn't take the place of two loving parents, two loving siblings and one extremely loving chocolate lab. The more Tariku bonds with the nannies at the care center, the more difficult it will be for his bonding process with us.

When we accepted the referral we were told somewhere between 12-16 weeks for travel. They also told a couple other families that same time frame who received referrals that week. The problem is those other families had their dossiers complete, translated and waiting for their good news. We don't. I have a feeling we will see those families who received their referrals after us travel before us all because the "ducks weren't in a row". It's a harsh reality, especially since we've paid a pretty penny for those ducks to be in a row.

It's hitting me hard today. We're snuggled up in our nice warm house, watching the sleet come down outside and I wish I was making 3 cups of hot cocoa and 2 coffees. I realize we have our lives to spend with Tariku as our son and when I put it in perspective I know God's timing is perfect. But alas I am human, and perhaps more so today, I am a mom. Mom's don't function well when one of their children is being wronged and I guess that's what I'm feeling for Tariku today. Mama Bear is fighting for you, Tariku. I am a fightin.

Friday, November 30, 2007

"He Repeats Any Words He Hears"

We just got an update on our Tariku. I must admit it was a superb feeling even hearing that about him. That he speaks well in his language and is learning Amharic (the national Ethiopian language) daily, as shown in the title, he repeats any words he hears. We also got a chest x-ray (which looked perfect) and I count that as a picture. It looks precious even in his chest x-rays! It kind of reminded me of an ultrasound of our babes, accept this time there was a personality report with it!

So it's been a good week. Yesterday we got our Hep B shot, we'll have to get 2 others for the series. We will be scheduling our other vaccinations today so that when they say, "You can go pick up your son." We can say, "On our way"! I also talked to a few travel agents yesterday about our possible travel time (February-March). Both companies said this was the best time of year to travel as it's the cheapest and easiest to get flights. It sounds like we'll leave from Moline, IL, stop in Chicago, IL, head to Washington, D.C., 8 hours to Rome where we don't get off the plane but they refuel and clean for 45 minutes then we head on to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for another 8 hours (I might have that wrong but it's close). Anyhow, it doesn't sound too bad considering I've been to Australia where it was about 21 hours. Either way, going there we will be embarking to pick up our son and on the way back we will have him and be on our way to settling in as a family of 5. It will be a great trip indeed!

We also had the guys who are going to renovate the upstairs come twice this week. We should be getting the layout today. It sounds like they will have it done in 8 weeks so long as we keep getting timely acceptance from the good folks at the Y. It was SOOO nice hearing them talk about it all. He said once we give them the okay to go they would start demo and within 2 weeks would see drywall being hung and the new layout would be obvious. What did I say to that? "Go ahead!" The only problem is that we will have to move out of the upstairs altogether. Right now that houses our master BR, BA and living room. Doesn't sound like much but we've crammed A LOT of furniture in that part. It shall be interesting to see us all downstairs!

That also means I couldn't decorate for Christmas like I usually do. Truth be told I'm typically a minimalist as far as decorating goes...that is, until it comes to Christmas. Then minimal is no longer in my vocabulary and "Santas every time I turn around" is how I would explain my decor. Thus, I was forced to decorate the kitchen and that's about it. It still looks great if you ask me.

Better be off to train my favorite client! Happy Friday!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

First Ickies of the Winter

Both kids are downstairs sleeping. About every 2-5 minutes I hear one or both coughing. Not the ahem, ahem cough but the deep, came from the bottom of the lungs, waded through mush and popped through the throat, kind of cough. I cringe every time I hear it and resist the overwhelming urge to go pick them both up and make it a family bed night. They are my babies and even though I cringe when I hear it, I am so very thankful I hear it.

My friend, Jody, said of her twins waiting for her in Sierra Leone that she runs around always feeling a bit like she doesn't have all her children with her (she and her husband have 4 boys as well). It's like when my kids go visit my parents and sister for a week in the summer. It's fun to hang out with Zach, and we enjoy our time together but I always miss them. I never sleep quite the same, I am...unsettled. When we reunite it feels right again. I sleep well, I am no longer living on edge and I am actually relaxed. But for the last week and 3 days I have felt unsettled again. This weekend we decorated cookies and Zach made one with Tariku's name on it. The realization that all of my kids aren't with me and I may not relax until we are all together under one roof hit me hard when I saw the sugar coated goodness. I recognize how badly I want to know, firsthand, whether Tariku sleeps like his big brother and little sister tonight.

1 1/2 weeks down, 10 1/2-14 1/2 to go!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happiest of Thanksgivings

Just wanted to wish my faithful a Happy Thanksgiving! There is no need to tell everyone just how much I have to be thankful for. Tariku came surprisingly quick but we are so very thankful for him. I am thankful for my husband, my kids, my dog. But even the basics are worth mentioning, of course. Though I complain about this house, I am grateful for it as well since it has afforded me things I wouldn't be able to have, without it. I can't list everything in this one blog, there is just not enough room.

So I truly hope you all can find at least a few things to be thankful for!

Monday, November 19, 2007

It begins...

I've just spent the last 3 hours shopping for African hair products. I don't even know what I'm doing. I have no business pretending to know what is going on. But after reading and rereading some comments on the forum I think I'm becoming ever so slightly more informed. I am shopping for hair products for a boy whose hair I've never even touched. I'm shopping for products because this is the only way I know how to take care of my son who's halfway across the world.

On a slightly better note, I've done some online Christmas shopping as well so at least the last 3 hours will have been somewhat productive.

As a baby book mention, Dailah is getting her molars to come in, which is crazy weird seeings her teeth in between haven't come in yet but it's cool. I'm surprised she hasn't been complaining as they are some honkin teeth!

We get to send Tariku a 1 gallon bag full of stuff. There's a lot of pressure on me to send the coolest stuff ever to be received by a child at the care center (obviously the pressure is all mine seeings I can't let go of my uuber competitive nature). But seriously, he will be "meeting" us in this bag. OH THE PRESSURE! Right now I'm thinking we'll send a blanket that Terre embroidered with his name on it that we've been sleeping with so it smells like us. A picture book with pictures of the family describing who we are with pages left to fill once we get to Ethiopia and meet him. Trysten is going to put a few of his toys in, knowing they will probably not come back home. I want to do something really neat, like put a tape recorder of Zach playing the guitar and singing a few songs to him. I might even work up the courage to sing a bedtime lullaby or something like that, we'll see! So anyway, I'm trying to get that together right now but I've noticed I have very few pictures of me alone or Zach alone and we have no family pictures to speak of. Things to do I suppose!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sacrifice

So tomorrow it will be a week since we learned of sweet Tariku. Time has went by surprisingly quickly, which I will be ever so thankful for if it continues to do so until he comes home! It seems every day I think of him or the situation surrounding him in a different way. Today can be summed up with the title of this post.

We went to church today. It was a baptism day so we heard a lot about what baptism means and what it meant in the original context. Our pastor was talking about Christ being baptized and how it wasn't necessary for him seeings he was sinless and all. He theorized on why Christ might have done it anyway but then he said, "We are not saved because He was born, we are not saved because He was baptized, we are saved because He died." Wow! I certainly cannot relate to Christ's unfailing sacrifice, but...

My thoughts returned to Tariku and his amazing Ethiopian family. We know Tariku's background but will be keeping it quiet until Tariku is old enough to hear it and decide who he wants to tell and who he doesn't. It is his story, afterall, and we don't want him to hear it from anyone but us. I've been very up front about the complications of adoption. By and large I feel the emotional complications a lot more than perhaps "practical" (i.e. money, etc) because I'm an emotional person. So throughout this adoption I've grieved for the child I didn't know and his family I didn't know. Most of all, I grieved for his mother, whoever she may have been. As a mom, I realize we sacrifice (hopefully) something every day for our child. Today I sacrificed my last bite of salted nut roll for Trysten. Doesnt sound like a lot but those who might be telling themselves that obviously don't know how much I freaking LOVE salted nut rolls...anyhow...I've often thought about the sacrifice Tariku's family had to endure to give him life for 2+ years.

Today, I couldn't help but think I don't have it in me. I look at my kids and I would most certainly choose death if it was that or anything bad happening to them. I am not alone in that feeling. But to actively choose to make an adoption plan for my child so that they will have a life that is something I may not be able to give them; I'm just not sure I have it in me. Perhaps I am more selfish than I like to admit. I want to see them grow up, I want to be the one wiping their tears and the one they call mom. I sometimes think of dying (not in a morbid way, just...well whatever, it sounds weird not matter what I say). And I've found I'm certainly not afraid of dying seeings I know the gloriousness that awaits me, but I am horrifyingly sad that I won't be THERE for my kids in the sense that they will be able to reach out and touch me. The fact that *hopefully* Zach would find someone who is as close to perfect as I am. :) But thinking of them calling anyone but me mom, is an altogether sad thing for me.

So back to Tariku, can you imagine the love he was raised in? Can you even fathom the sacrifice? If you've seen his beautiful face you know what I'm talking about. It's written all over those beautiful lips and those perfect eyes. It tells the story of the sacrifce. It tells the story of the sadness he has felt but the love throughout the gesture. Tariku will forever know of the love that brought him to us. He will know of his abaye and amaye (father and mother) and he will know it was love that we can all count on. Love, truly, never fails. I long for children everywhere to know that there are people out there who would die for them. Who would make an adoption plan if it meant they wouldn't ever have to know the struggles they went through. I hope kids everywhere know they are worth at least that. I hope people everywhere know just how far love can take us. Mine, I'm happy to say, is taking me to Ethiopia and back.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Possibly 4 Months...Really?

I didn't sleep very well last night. I thought about Tariku. I pictured him laughing, it was beautiful. I pictured him sleeping, it was angelic. I pictured him playing soccer, it was joy. I pictured him looking at me as his mom, it was love.

It's amazing, really. How sometimes my heart actually aches. My younger son is halfway across the world and he's doing all of these things that I mentioned. He's doing all of them without me. He has experienced something in life NO ONE should ever have to and yet...he lives. Contrary to what our human nature tells us; that if something is bad enough we'll just disapper, he lives! He lives and he seemingly thrives. He is a fighter (which I'm sure will give me gray hairs throughout our lives together) and I couldn't be more excited to meet this person!

Trysten and I talked about Tariku tonight for the better part of 2 hours, all with Trysten asking questions. I have taken things with him fairly slowly since there are still a few months before Tariku comes home. But Tman was just asking all these questions about what he'd be like, what he's like. I wished I could answer all of them for him. But I talked about how it might be a little difficult to understand what he's saying at first and he might need a little more attention than most of the 3-yr-olds he knows. I told Trysten he'd have to share his toys and his room and it might not be fun all the time, though we hope it will be more than not. He said, "Mommy, if I have a toy and Tariku wants it, I'll just give it to him and get a different one." I told him he didn't have to do that all the time, but it would be nice sometimes. He says, "No mommy, I want to give it to Tariku, he's my brother."

I asked him how he was feeling about it all. Was he happy or sad? Excited or scared? He thought about it for a minute and said, "I think I'm about halfish (I need to stop making up words around him) don't know and halfish happy. I thought that was ridiculously profound for a 4-yr-old and arguably of a human no matter the age. Because I would guess if I had to put my emotions into words it'd be somewhat similar. The don't know half is just that, we have no idea what to expect. But I've always subscribed to the choose happiness category instead of the let fear run your life category. It's healthier, and that alone will get me through life with my sanity in check.

But just when I think Trysten couldn't get more amazing, he does. We were saying our nightly prayers and he prays, "Tell Tariku that I love him and bring him home safely when he comes." He asked me if I thought Tariku knows that we love him. I told him I hope he can feel that he is loved. Trysten said, "I think he does know that we love him mom. I think Jesus whispers in our ears when we're sleeping. I think the other night (his phrase meaning last night) he whispered in mine that Tariku loves me the most and that is how I know Tariku knows who I am. So if Jesus is whispering in my ear, I bet he is with Tariku too and so he knows mommy, don't worry." That is word for word what he said, I went and wrote it down right away. He also said it as he played with my hair. This all led to me bawling my eyes out when I left his room.

So I must praise God tonight, not just for Tariku or Trysten or Dailah but for the wisdom of the youngest of us. I now know exactly why God tells us to have faith like a child.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Our Referral!!!!

You read that right, our referral has arrived. It actually arrived Monday but we wanted to really think and pray on it before officially accepting it (which we did today). I was waiting to tell you, dear blog readers and have been excited to do so. Especially since this is my 100th blog post and I must thank our newest son, Mr. Tariku Asamu Abiyu for the best 100th post in recorded history.

To the details...Tariku is around 2 yrs and 8 mths. We are not allowed to post pictures on any internet sites until we go to court, but I will post his picture on here immediately once they let us know we can! Even without the picture, he is perfect. As the social worker was telling us about him, I was of course crying and soaking it all in. He is perfect in every sense of the word.

To set the stage, as noticed from my last post, the SW didn't have our homestudy done. So I had left her a message "nicely" stating how disappointed we were that it wasn't done yet. Well during nap time on Monday, I heard my phone ring and saw that it was her. I was honestly considering not answering because I just wasn't in the mood to hear any excuses. But, against my "better judgement" I did. Conversation went as follows (or something close)

Cindy: Hey Tesi, It's Cindy, are you sleeping?

Tesi: Of course not! (thinking she would not let me adopt should she find out I like napping in the afternoons)

Cindy: Oh okay, well I wanted to call and talk to you about something, is Zach there? (Note: after that, I knew what the call was about because on our adoption forum, everyone has said they say key things to let you know it's the referall call)

Tesi: Um, he's in his office that's just up the hill, well I guess you know where it's at since you've been here, but I'll run really fast, well as fast as I can anymore, you know what I mean. This phone can't dial 3 way can I call you back on this number when we have speakerphone?

Cindy: (laughing) yes, that'd be fine. talk to you soon.

I sprinted out the door (man it felt good) tried running with Zach's slippers on and noticed it would take 3 seconds longer if I tried to make it there with them so I threw them off. Ran up the hill and pounded on Zach's door to his office. He was meeting with his program director at the time but I didn't care. I yelled, through glass and open air, "Cindy is on the phone, we need to call her back, it's THE call honey"!

Zach: Come in (said rather sarcastically now that I think about it, how rude)

Tesi: panting

Zach: How do you know she isn't just wanting to talk to us about the homestudy?

Tesi: feeling bummed because I never did qualify it as being THE call, "Well no, I think it's really happening."

Zach: give me your phone.

We call Cindy on my cell but the speaker phone doesn't work so we have to hang up and call her on Zach's work phone (thanks Scott County Family Y).

Well it ended out great, obviously. We heard about our baby and I haven't stopped looking at his picture and reading every word since. We already got an update on his measurements and it looks like he's around 3' tall and 30 lbs which is nice sized even for American standards, let alone Ethiopian. (Those that know the Klipschs now understand why God gave him to us.)

In all honesty, God is good. And the picture shows Tariku's spirit. I look at him and his personality shows me that, contrary to everything he has experienced in life so far, he truly believes life is good. Dearest Tariku, I couldn't agree more.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good:
1) Our friends, the Landers, just got word that they're traveling on Saturday to meet their babies in Sierra Leone. It has been a long time coming and my excitement for them surprises even me!
2) We had a really good weekend with my mom's side of the family celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas (my grandparents go South for the winter). It is so nice to see all the family and catch up!

The Bad:
1) I got a bit of a sore throat. It is getting progressively scratchier. Boo hiss
2) Miss Dailah picked up a nasty cough as well and has only been sleeping in fits and spurts. Let's hope tonight is different!

The Ugly:
1) I wrote our Ethiopian Coordinator to ask if we were officially waiting since they cashed our hubba bubba checks. She wrote to say our doctors didn't fill their sheets our properly (so we'll get that fixed tomorow) and OUR SOCIAL WORKER HAS NOT TURNED IN OUR HOMESTUDY!!!!!!! As you'll see by our Adoption Timeline, our homestudy has been done for a month and she still has not written in/turned it in. Imagine my surprise when we've already theoretically paid her for such things!

So our great weekend ended on a bit of a sour note with that email. I realize she might be busy, but these people have to be put on some sort of timeline to get these done! It baffles me! So pray that she sees the immediacy in the issue. ,

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I Miss My Hubs

Couple things:
1) My hubby has been out of town since early Monday and won't be returning until Friday. He's had an interesting week and it's been SO hard without him. I love living life with him. I realize when he's gone that it's not so much help with the kids or the house or any of that. It's his laugh when it catches him by surprise, his hugs, the way he heats up the whole bed at night. It's all of that, it's really just HIM. And I miss HIM so very much. I wonder when they will come up with time travel, that'd be really great right about now.

2) My dearest daughter took 25 steps at the Y childwatch the other day (they counted). I got there and she won't take-a one. What a pooch. She is getting better with the whole deal though and is starting to move on her own a bit more.

3) She learned a new word. "No". It's kinda awesome, I'm not going to lie. Especially since she likes to say, "No, daddy" (even though she learned this since he's been gone).

4) Trysten is officially done taking naps. We changed it to "Mommy and Tman time" I forgot how much fun that kid is. And hilarious. He has also started reading a bit. He knows how to sound it all out and whatnot and his recognition of words is astounding. Though this shouldn't surprise me, he remembers EVERYTHING, much to my dismay.

5) No word on the adoption front. I go from okay with it to downright upset about it on a minute by minute basis. It's okay though, in due time.

6) Hubs took the computer so I've been twiddling my thumbs (okay, and watching The Bachelor) a lot at night. So I apologize if you've written me and I haven't gotten back to you.

7) There's been no progress on the house really. Today I woke up and was FREEZING. The upstairs of our house had no heat (where I was), luckily the downstairs (where the kids are) does. I thought about going to sleep in Tman's room until I remembered I broke his bed. I literally woke up this morning and there was a layer of ice in my dog's water bowl that sits right outside our room. So when I say "freezing" I mean it in the very literal sense.

Best be going. Had just enough time for a quick update!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Humility, Lesson #1

So no word for sure, but as stated before, I'm at peace somehow. God's timing is perfect and tonight I'm feelin the love, so to speak.

Tonight's post isn't about adoption. Rather, it's about the lesson in humility I received tonight by my son's bunk bed. So I've been feeling great lately. Last night's PUMP went well, my hubby commented on how I'm getting close to what I looked like during college track (thanks hon, but I'm 100% these legs couldn't run an 11 second 100m if my life depended on it). Anyhow tonight I was going to lay down next to my son to read a book. A night like any other, until...I laid down and BOOM! I went down, as did the bed. I broke it. Broke it in two places interestingly enough. I'll take a picture so you can bask in the amazingness as much as I did.

So my son went up to tell daddy what mommy just did and what did he say? "Tell mommy she needs to do more PUMP" (sarcasm dripping, obviously, since he told me tonight PUMP is getting in the way of our marriage... :))

Moral of the story is: Just when you start feeling good about yourself, you'll break your son's bunk bed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

???





Well, I was told that I'll be officially waiting as soon as they get the package (which was guaranteed today before noon) but I also thought I'd get an email. So I'm not going to start the countdown until I hear from someone in MN that they did indeed receive the dossier.

So, for now I'll wait. I rest easy knowing it's a matter of days.

I also rest easy because they started on the house today. They started and worked the whole day, nothing really to show for it, though. My amazing betrothed and good friend, Dan, however, have been downright attacking the house. One whole room is almost demolished and I'm feeling much better.

What am I doing you may ask? Since I've been sooo excited about this house being renovated and getting accutely angry when nothing has happened...well I'm sitting her blogging. Because all I can do right now is move stuff up and down stairs. I'm normally up for anything, but tomorrow night is my big BODYPUMP debut and what's a girl to do? The hubs doesn't understand, Dan called me an unmentionable name and I feel downright silly. But I'm so stinkin excited about the debut that I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to get through the squat and lunge track if I'm doing stairs all night. So I'm sitting on my favorite chair that I've moved into another room (go me) talking to you all. You understand, right?

And just for good measure, I'll attach some pics. How about that one with the two cute kids? Did God kiss those faces or what? Pics: My aforementioned hubby (in the middle, he's an 8-yr-old pirate) with his two brothers and a random lady (Frank=Dwight Shrewt, Jake=a road). Dailah and Trysten on a hayrack ride. Dailah in her chair watching my brother play soccer. Trysten getting in the har with his awesome bedhead.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's Gone!

So we mailed it. It's no longer staring at me, by tomorrow at noon, it will be staring at Jan our Ethiopian Program Coordinator. By tomorrow at noon, we should get an email saying we are officially on the waiting list. This email might make me cry. It represents a beginning of sorts, as well as an end. An end to paper chasing, an end to me being able to have any bit of illusion of control. Even more remarkable is the beginnings it represents. The beginning of being a family of 5. A multi-racial/multi-cultural family. We will go from a one-on-one defensive strategy with our kids to a zone defense, which I was never as good at. This is the beginning of our continual emergence in Ethiopian culture. The beginning of wearing my heart outside of my body for another child. The beginning of a new sibling for my children, a new son for my husband and a new baby for me. :) I am excited about it all. The challenges but more importantly the joys, however few and far between they might be in the early months.

Tonight was also the kids's trick-or-treating night. They went with my nephews and it was irresistably cute.

Tonight was also the first night of Bodypump. We filled the gym and had to turn people away! It was a remarkable night and just plain awesome. Our Downtown Y's Director took a big risk in bringing the program here and I was so thrilled to be able to vindicate her. Can't wait to see how it continues to go!

Big day for us. Big day. Wait until (hopefully) tomorrow when we can announce we're officially waiting. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

It Came!

I knew in my heartest of hearts that no matter what the situation, if the amount of money that came in the mail today was found in my mailbox, I would be excited. But I was actually near tears! THE MONEY CAME! However, by the time I had the checks cashed, the money orders, etc, etc done, I was 3 minutes late to overnight it tonight. Alas, we will be officially waiting on Wednesday, not Tuesday but it's still so soon I can taste it. The dossier is not only complete, but it's financed, and that is a brilliant thing!

Stay tuned for pictures of us mailing in our dossier!

Can We Start the Countdown Yet?

If I can start the countdown, then we're about T minus 4 days until THE money is in the account and we can send in THE paperwork to get on our way to getting OUR baby. For all intents and purposes, I will be starting the countdown regardless.

My long-lashed husband called today to let me know our house will be getting worked on starting tomorrow. 4 hours on Tues, Thurs and Fri and 8 hours on Wednesdays. This will continue until the house is done. If you could see me, you'd see my happy dance. It looks a bit like the running man meets the sprinkler, it's amazing, you should see it sometime.

This week my new class begins at the Downtown Y. BodyPUMP. And what am I? That's right PUMPED. My amazing family (hubby, brother-in-law (x2), sister-in-law and brother-in-law's girlfriend are all going to come on Thursday. How great are they? Not to mention a bunch of my friends, so I'm so excited.

This weekend we went out for my brother-in-laws birthday, tons of fun but not NEAR enough sleep. That being said, the kids are down for a nap and I should put myself there too.

Happy Halloween to you all. Can't wait to go trick-or-treating with my family!! Just think, next Thanksgiving we'll have even more treaters to take!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good News












So we figured out the whole "money issue". In just about 8ish business days we will have the aforementioned monies and will be able to send in our dossier, signed, sealed and delivered. Gimme a little "Woot, Woot!"

So I don't have too much else to write, I'm just all kinds of pizzumped about that. It's amazing to me how this adoption has opened up avenues I never thought it would. I've met amazing people, and found people I would've considered friends before this even better friends. Overall people are genuinely excited for us and I find that so great. We've had no shortage of people offering to help us in any way they can and it means the world to us. So thank you, all of you, for all the seemingly little things you've said or done.

Here are a couple cute pictures of the kids because where else are you going to see all this beautifulness in one blog entry? Couple things: 1) Don't remember if I let everyone know that my eldest lost his first tooth. Kinda crazy, kinda too young but it's gone nonetheless. 2) Dailah has started taking around 5ish steps at a time and continues to find herself ridiculously hilarious. Okay, I think I've introduced the pictures enough.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stop Looking at Me Swan

So the dossier is done. The dossier is done and it is sitting in a manilla envelope and it..is..looking at me. It won't stop! It's started talking to me too. I know, it sounds crazy, but it's true.

The dossier is complete, it looks pretty too. Zach and I have sworn our lives away, had a notary witness it all (thanks, Nate) and we can't send it in. Why can't we send it in? Because adoption is expensive. It's not just expensive, it's complicatingly so. We were just going to get your basic loan, I mean, we've taken loans out for cars and homes, none of which we wanted as much as this. But it turns out that loan can't be so basic, etc, etc. So we're waiting to figure that out a bit more. But the dossier won't stop looking at me.

It's honestly like that dossier IS our child(ren). I feel guilty not sending it since it's done. I feel like our child is just out there and in the worst of circumstances and somehow, me turning in my dossier would make it even just a slight bit better (granted, not as great as it would be if they weren't in this situation in the first place, but anyhow). The dossier is the last link in getting our child(ren). Once we turn that in, the next step is finding out who our child(ren) is. The longer we wait to turn it in, the longer it will take to find out. I've never been accused of having any resemblence of patience but in this situation, it's the worst I've experienced.

In fact, it got so bad yesterday..I drove by a sign that said if I signed up for the National Guard, they would give me a $20,000 signing bonus. I contemplated doing it, can you believe it?

Anyhow, it will all come together, I just have to learn a bit about this thing they call patience. Thanks to my hubby for being the most amazing man in history, he really truly is. His patience is lasting for the both of us, I fear for the time his wears thin as well. I'm off, better go hide the dossier before I start hugging and kissing it and putting it to bed at night.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Fightin' Irish







Hey all!
Well...unfortunately I don't have exciting news, at least not on the adoption front. Our dossier is completely finished, we are just finishing up financial details so when that happens, we're ready! I'll definitely keep you posted.

Anyhow, this weekend was just so much fun for Zachary and myself (and I'm sure my offspring!) Our dearest friends, Dan and Becky (see picture with my triple chin) invited us to a Notre Dame game. Becky's dad is the physician for the ND football team so we had great seats. Her parents were also beyond generous by letting us stay at their beautiful house and nibble on some food and drink a few beverages. We really had such a great time and thank the Bankoff/Aselsons for an awesome weekend.

It was a sad, sad game against USC but it was still a great time. We had time beforehand to walk around the ND campus and I can't say enough about he beauty of that place. Zach and I had such a great time taking pictures and strolling together. We even got pictures of just the two of us, which hasn't happened in ages! So enjoy those.

When we returned home, it was so great to see the kids. It was safe to say they had a great time getting spoiled by my sister and parents! However, we went downstairs to have some dinner and noticed there was an INFESTATION of those truly heinous non-dying ladybugs. Our house isn't what one would call "leakproof" so approximately 4 billion found a few holes. My fabulous husband took the Dyson to as many as he could but it's just no use.

Luckily, this led him to state that he's had enough and he'll hire someone to renovate this house full time, since the house wasn't touched by anyone wanting to renovate the house last week. So...here's to that happening! Until then, I'll continue listening to these kamakaze ladybugs hit our light. Woohoo.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Improved House in 2 Months?

So today would be what one might call "a great day".

Firstly, we spent most of the afternoon getting a lot of our stuff for the dossier done. It's such a good feeling to be getting this accomplished in the hopes of getting it overnighted on Thursday. This would mean we'd probably be officially waiting by FRIDAY!!!!! Could you even believe it?

Secondly, Zach and I have decided to be open to a single, twin or sibling group. That way, we know that whoever we are paired with it is completely in God's hands. Does that make sense? Zach is such a great sport with me. :) But I will continue to pray for our piece of mind about whatever happens.

Thirdly, Zach brought down the guy who will be renovating our house and he said he will be getting to it with another guy within the next 2 weeks and he thought it'd take just a 2 months. Could it be true that we might done by Christmas? I will set myself up for February just to be safe.

Anyway, I am hoping the next blog will be an annoucement that the next step in this process will be hearing of our new kid(s). WOOOHOO!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dossier and Divinity

Ok, so I woke up this morning to check my mail since I didn't check it at all yesterday (yay me!) and found that we were officially accepted into the Ethiopia program at CHSFS AND they sent us the checklist for the dossier docs. WOOHOO! That means that hopefully I will be done with that by the end of next week (a girl can hope) and then we could be officially waiting VERY soon! Yee haw baby doggies.

So I started to change the tone of this blog a bit once we started the adoption process because I wanted it to be a way for people to see where we were at in the journey as well as something my future children could look at and see what I was going through in every aspect of life during this time. I kept a journal for both Trysten and Dailah and this was going to be like a journal to my newest children as well (don't worry, I'm actually keeping a real journal too). So with that said, I want to be as truthful as possible about this journey.

I think my biggest struggle as a Christian, but perhaps more accurately as a human, is trying to control things. When Zach and I started feeling led RIGHT NOW to adopt I went full force into research, blog reading, forum reading, the works! I was/am frustrated with the snail-like process that is international adoption and can never quite understand why everyone else around me is feeling the need to go SO SLOWLY! So when we set out I was thinking we were being called to adopt 2 children. I thought so for many reasons, none of which I really want to list here, but there were many. Zach and I have started to pray even harder about this whole adoption. Since we know it is very much a "God thing" we really want to make sure we are doing it ALL like He wants us to (note: please know this is very much a selfish thing as well, we are praising Him that he has led us this way, we CANNOT WAIT to become parents again!)This adoption, like most parts of my life, I have been trying to control in every way possible. This adoption, in every way possible has been so out of my control! Why has it taken me 6 months for me to figure that out?

As of lately we have started to feel like perhaps God is leading us to adopt just one child. It is hard for me to even write, actually. I always pictured us getting 2 at the same time. So for 6 months when I've pictured us going to Ethiopia and being met at the airport, I've pictured Zach and I with a child in both of our arms. So I guess a part of me is a bit depressed to imagine just a child in one of our arms and luggage in the other. I think the best way to describe it is that it feels like I've already lost one. How could that possibly be? I don't even have a referral yet but I feel like I've lost a child if we ask for only one.

I think by far THE most difficult thing about this journey has been learning more and more about the horrific things happening in Africa and other parts of the world (obviously there will be a focus on Africa heretofore). I can't help but think that God has been telling me one thing and letting me think another so I can feel what the world should be feeling. WE LOSE KIDS ON A MINUTE-BY-MINUTE BASIS. My aching in my heart should be felt by the millions because these orphans are orphans through no fault of their own, their parents are in situations they cannot help. It is a horrific, ungodly thing happening out there and that, that is where the aching of my heart is coming from.

As my friend Jody said, adoption is not going to cure all that ails Africa or Ethiopia. It is, at the very best, throwing a life preserver to one or two children. At this stage in my life, there is little else I can do but continue to look for other ways to throw preservers anywhere I can.

God has given me a life most people in the world will never know and for that I am forever grateful. When people tell Zach and I were doing a good thing we want to look at them and say NO WE'RE NOT! We're doing a very selfish thing. A great thing would be going to Africa to build wells that will give people fresh water or funding a school so children of all ages can become educated. A very great thing would not make me remotely as happy as mothering another child(ren) would be. So please, I understand it's coming from a nice place when you say this but truly, it's just not factual. I can think of 100 other things off the top of my head right now that would be infinitely better things to be doing but right now, this is our baby step.

So I guess in short, I'm wrestling with God right now. Please pray for me to understand that God may have placed this on our hearts but I've GOT to take my emotions out of this and try to listen to what He's telling me or I'll never come out of this thing with even the remotest bit of sanity.

Selam,
Tesi

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Latest Cool Moments

1) Yesterday the kids were at Child Watch at our YMCA. I was talking to my brother-in-law right outside the door before I was picking them up. He looks in the windows and says, " Wow, the kids are minorities in there." I looked in and it was true! My 2 kids were 2 of 3 caucasion kids in the entire child watch which housed about 10ish kids. For some reason I got a little teary eyed. Probably because it reassures my belief that my African children will grow up with other minorities around them and perhaps even once in awhile putting their other siblings in their shoes (I am hoping in the not too distant future I will find myself in the same situation).

2) I chopped my hair off about a month and some ago. I do it every couple years because it grows so fast I'm able to donate once I start unappreciating it. Anywho, I was at my old work today and I got some hilarious comments about it for some reason, it just reminded me of why I love spending time with such positive children instead of the dripping negativity of people miserable at their jobs.

3) Speaking of that work, I am actually amazed that I don't miss it for a single second. I thought I'd miss a few things about it or at the very least when the kids were making me yearn for a hiding spot that I would lust after my quiet days at the office. But alas, the only thing I miss is one of the girls that works there and she and I still talk every once in awhile so it's officially worked itself out.

4) Dailah now says, "TT" with precision and it makes her big brother happier than almost anything (except cartoons, toys, and as we found out today, whoopie cushions).

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Merci Beaucoup All You Female Warriors.

So today I was thinking about my blog. I started it to muse about motherhood, life and love and it's become some sort of glorified baby book. I've never been very good at keeping those up anyway, and so I thought let's just combine powers. As my sister-in-law quoted somebody (sorry, sis, forgot the name) "Writing is like living life twice" or something to that effect. And I believe it to be true, my blog has become somewhat theraputic and the imaginary people reading it out there have become my confidants. So I thank you for that.

Our worship leader at church was talking about how God didn't make us to go at this life alone. I believe that with all of my heart but I also believe we, as mothers, as women, as humans try to do too much alone. We internalize things and put on our happy faces. I've been at points in my life when I've been without someone other than my husband to divulge intimate feelings and it is the very definition of miserable. I love having women in my life who I can be true with, who I can be real with. Happy or sad, disappointed or frustrated, it gets progressively easier when I'm sharing it over a cup of coffee with my girlfriends.

I don't think it's any surprise to my faithful followers that I am all about women connecting and coming together rather than tearing each other apart. My days in the women's studies department taught me something, right? But I guess even my best of friends would be surprised to know that sometimes it's still very hard for me. That even though I try to live life as a mostly open book to my friends, there are still days when somewhere inside is screaming that it's really not as okay as I'm letting on. Those days are few and far between, mind you, but they are still there. I'm trying to let those go a bit more at a time, not for anyone else's sake but my own. It just feels too good to tell someone and get the hug that was most needed or a shared tear or a look that shows me I'm not alone regardless of how alone I feel.

One thing the adoption (and perhaps motherhood in general) has taught me is that the ONLY way I can get through it is with a little help from my friends. So thank you to those that have been there all along, those that are new on board and those that will be coming very soon. I thank God for you each and every moment.

On a somewhat side note (not so side...it is about my very talented sister-in-law who is one of my biggest confidantes and also a mom to my nephews and also a female warrior) she is now a columnist on www. pregnancy.org. PLEASE go check out her first 2 articles. www.pregnancy.org/article.php?sid=3335 Copy and paste that into your web browser. You can click on her September and October articles. Do it, it will change your life. :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Long Awaited Pictures!!!!


















So my hubby figured out how to make the pics smaller res so they can post on here. Here you go mom. :)

Just A Quick Mention

Hey all faithful followers of the Klipsch blog...I am happy you are here.

Just a few quick notes..I would encourage all to visit my friend Jody's blog..if you go over to the right of my blog you'll see the link under "Landers" or you can go to www.landersadoption.blogspot.com. Her husband is our worship leader at church (the best one at that) and when they say behind every man....they are referring to the Landers. Anyhow, they are adopting from Sierra Leone, which for those geographically challenged (hey, I'm not a hater, I would consider myself one of those) that is also in Africa. They are the proud parents to 4 boys already and are now going to have twin 2-yr-olds from Sierra Leone. I've mentioned them before, but wanted you to go to their blog to a) see pictures of those beautiful babes and b) pray for them that they may be able to go over there VERY soon to meet their newest kids.

Also, was on our forum just a few minutes ago (as mentioned previously, it's a heinously addicting guilty pleasure of mine). One of the forum members has so generously donated her time to create what's called "The List". This list includes everyone on the forum waiting for their referral. It's fairly accurate as far as the forum goes, but there are still many people going through CHSFS who aren't on the forum/List so we have to take that into account as well. Anyhow, was just peeking through out of curiosity as to how long people have been waiting for siblings, how many are waiting for siblings, etc. There is only 1 other couple waiting for a sibling group 3.5 yrs and younger and they've been waiting for 5 MONTHS!! There are many others (7) others who are waiting for sibling groups 3 yrs and younger and range from wait times of 7 MONTHS and down. Oh, so I'm going to settle ourselves down for a bit and get comfty with our sibling group we have now. :)

On another note, we are continuously keeping our eyes on the WIC list and praying over the children on there. Please keep them in your prayers as well (they are kids on what's called the waiting international children list who are waiting for various reasons, i.e. medical, age related, etc). We know if God intends us to have one of these angels He will reveal it to us in due time.

Enough for now, my eldest has his last soccer game tomorrow, sniff sniff. Our time as coaches is almost officially over and I enjoyed it immensly. Hope you all have great weekends!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

2nd Homestudy, check!

Well, I think we passed. At least, our SW kept referring to the kids we were going to have, etc etc. She did mention she would like to see progress photos of our house (hey, you and me both, babe) so that'll be an ongoing deal I'm sure.

So now, we wait until our SW writes up the formal homestudy (she says about 2 weeks). Once we get the approved homestudy, we will get our dossier (I think it's French for crapton of paperwork, but can't be sure) together. We send the dossier off to CHSFS, they send it off to Ethiopia and oila! we will be officially waiting for our referral. No real concrete idea as to when that will be, but I'm planning on telling myself that I am now officially paper pregnant. That way, I can settle in for 9 months of waiting to hear word on my children. This one will, of course, be different than the last two. Firstly, this one will be a *hopefully* a bit easier on the scale. Secondly, I won't be feeling them kick or see pictures of them in the womb. I will and do love them just as sure as they were growing in there because as most adoptive parents would tell you, they have been growing in our hearts as our biological children grow in our womb. Unfortunately I won't be able to talk the doctors into inducing me this time, and there is literally nothing I can do either real or imagined to speed the process along.

Now we get to the constant worry of the financial issue of adoption. Obviously this is where the money starts hemmoraging from our wallets to CHSFS so that will be interesting. Please pray that we will figure that part out.

After waking up early and steam cleaning our carpets in his underwear, my husband waited until the SW was gone and started demolition on our house, what wonderful site that is!

Best be getting off to snuggle with my hubby before he goes to Biscuits (the essence of small town bar) to watch the Cubs game. Go Cubies!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hitting the Proverbial Wall

So today reminded me of the days when my mom would come home and say to herself while going up the stairs, "I had me such a hard day today." Because "I had me such a hard day today."

To set the stage, Zach got offered the Director of Camp position in April of this year. I had heard how gross the Director's house was before that but didn't really have a picture of it. One of our friends went through it and said it needed to be condemned and torn down. I went through it and had to plug my nose, wear my shoes and not let my kids get down to play. It really was that bad. We accepted the offer after they had said they were going to renovate the house for us. A couple months later, the bottom floor was being renovated (it houses the two kids' rooms and the kitchen). So I was excited by the progress.

We've now been in the house for 2 months and virtually nothing has been done since then. It's been SO hard for me, as the top floor hasn't been touched and that's where most of our stuff is. I hit the wall tonight because Dailah's head got stuck in the freakin' railing. Plus, I was cleaning for over 3 hours to prepare for our last homestudy tomorrow and I would be willing to bet the layperson coming into the house would not be able to tell I spent so much time doing it.

Sooo, I'm a fairly laidback person. I don't get worked up over much but I'm officially worked up over the homestudy tomorrow. I guess the reason is because I'm honestly not sure if I were the social worker, that I'd be able to okay the family living here to bring in more kids until conditions improve. I'm just plain upset I suppose.

My always amazing husband sensed my frustration (and by sensed, I mean heard me bawling uncontrollably) and asked what he could do before tomorrow to make me a little more comfortable. He hung up the phone, called back a few minutes later and announced he was getting himself and the guy working on the house together to work on it from 8-12 tomorrow. What oh what did I do to deserve him?

So I'm trying to get in a positive place. Living here (did I mention it's free?) has made it possible for me to stay-at-home. My day consists of working out, training a few people and laughing uncontrollably with my kids, do I really have the right to complain? I struggle with that so much because on one hand I praise God for giving us the opportunity to live at camp, on the other I ask how I've constantly put my kids in a position where they could be injured, perhaps even seriously.

Ok, I've got to stop dwelling on this and get back to more serious things like The Bachelor. :) If you're reading, Lindsay, I'm thinking of you, can't wait to hear possible baby news!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fast Life, Hard Living

So this weekend, Friday 11-8, Saturday 8-5 and Sunday 7-3, I was at a Les Mills training (a fitness thing, go to www.lesmills.com to check it out) this weekend. It was INTENSE to say the least but extremely rewarding. I've always been one to find HUGE value in women getting together for GOOD and accomplishing things they didn't even think was possible. This weekend there were 15 girls (and one boy, thanks Brian) that came together and it was seriously awesome. We all had quite a bit in common: a true belief in the values of fitness, the passion to change lives with what we know about fitness and the desire to take our fitness backgrounds to the next level. I can say without a doubt we mastered it all! What was so amazing to me was watching our bodies continue moving even when our heads said it was impossible. I've always been one to appreciate the human form (thank you, God for creating such masterpieces as Brad Pitt circa Fight Club, etc, etc) but it really was amazing. I kept praying all weekend and just giving thanks to God for giving me a body that could move let alone accomplish such crazy stuff!

On another note, our last homestudy was supposed to be tomorrow but I called our SW (again, she didn't call me, I had to call her) and she's had the flu all weekend, doesn't know if she'll be over it by tomorrow. So it's next Tuesday. NOT MY TIMING, NOT MY TIMING, that is my mantra.

My eldest son had a soccer game on Saturday when I was away. The kid scored 5 goals! If you noticed from previous posts, he was the one to be playing with his hair and pulling grass in previous seasons, so it was so exciting hearing how excited he was when I talked to him Saturday night.

My dearest daughter has begun to take a few steps here and there. I'll be the first to admit I never saw this coming. :) I thought we still had a few months (and we still might) so it's just crazy. I look at her and I still feel like she's too young to be doing it! So as congratulations, Zach and I (and Tman) bought her some Ugh boots and ballernia shoes tonight. Not exactly on my Target list, but a necessity nonetheless. :)

That's all for now, must get to my guilty pleasure of the night, but will remain mum on what exactly that is!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Great Day

For the record, to those few of you demanding pictures, some nicer than others, I've been trying for a few days, it's just hard on this new computer of mine!

Anyway, the last couple days have been really great. First of all, today my youngest daughter took her first steps! It was very exciting and made even more fun because she laughed hysterically at herself each time. Looking forward to the next few weeks to see if she finally gets the hang of it.

I was also able to meet another mom adopting from Africa and I can't tell you how much that relationship will bless me in the months and years to come. Her family also goes to our church so it will be really nice having our children together as well.

Tonight the kiddos and myself took off to see the African Children's Choir. It was so amazing and worth it. Can't believe how talented those kids are! What beautiful faces and voices!

I just had to follow up the last email by saying I really couldn't be more blessed. I look at my life and am completely humbled by everything I've been given. My pride is kept in check when I realize there are no real differences between myself and the other moms struggling around the world. I hope to bless their lives in any way I can. I don't know what role I can do yet, but I pray it's something for someone out there.

Off to itch my ridiculous amounts of mosquito bites. I guess that's what I get for holding a Boot Camp out at Camp. When will it get chilly enough to kill those little devils?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Late Night Thoughts

It's 10:42 on a Friday night. The kids are in bed, my parents are staying the night on their way to watch my favorite little brother play soccer in Chicago, my favorite husband is bowling with his siblings and I'm here, not sleeping. Thinking and praying and crying. I know, those that know me are asking themselves, "what's new?"

Interesting sidenote, I am on my bed at camp typing this, we finally got the internet today out here. Yippee ki yay (how in the world would you spell such a thing?)

Anywho...I'm thinking of my kids this night. Not just my kids who are safe and sound. One in her crib, her soft blankets caressing her baby skin, heated house on this frosty night. One on the floor, surrounded by a grandma and grandpa that love him. Both with more blankets, stuffed animals and love than can fit in one room, one house, one nation, even. But I'm also thinking of my kids in Ethiopia. We talked a lot with our social worker at our homestudy (which went well by the way) about what we were thinking for our kids. We're pretty set on 2 siblings 3.5 and under. She seemed to be pushing us towards one for some reason but we've been feeling led to two. We will continue to pray and talk this over. I'm begging for His will and not my own on this issue.

But are my children born yet? Are they suffering? GOD PLEASE DO NOT LET THEM BE SUFFERING! Rainy season has somewhat ended. Were they protected during this time? Were they kept warm and dry by coverings or love? Do they know of you, Dearest Jesus? Do they know of your grace that will bring them to us in the harshest of ways. Do they know of their impending loss and our impending gain? Do they know how my heart aches for their hurt and yearns for them? Tell them, tell them I love them already. Tell them though they may lose all that is good and true in their world, we will love them as our own.

Tell them of their amazing daddy they will be getting. Who will love them more than they can measure. Who will be there, through the pain, suffering, joys, love, hurt, crying, laughing and everything in between. Who will be their rock. Who will teach them of You and all Your goodness.

Tell them of their big brother who will teach them what kindess means. What it means to laugh from your belly. How to trick mommy into thinking you ate more than you did. Who will get them in trouble and keep them out of trouble. Who will be there for support and encouragement. Who will love them unconditionally and completely stand up for them should harm come their way again.

Tell them of their sister. Tell them of her laugh and her giggle. Tell them of her stubborness and beauty. Tell them of the way they will play with her and laugh with her. Of the way she will love them and jump up and down when she sees them. Tell them of her kisses and how she will do her best to heal even the harshest of wounds with them.

And tell them of me. Though I may stumble and fall short of what You were hoping for me every day, tell them how I will cover them in prayer as I do my family now. Tell them how I have loved them before I knew of them. Tell them I love their abaye and amaye (father and mother in Amharic, the national Ethiopian language). Tell them I love their country and culture, that I love them in every way possible. Tell them, God, that I will fall short. That I am a flawed mom and that I will make mistakes. But I will be there for them. I will do my absolute best and above all else, Lord, tell them of my undying love. Tell them how I shower my children with love and hugs and kisses. How I will go to the ends of the earth to make sure they know how much I love them.

Tell them we're coming. Let Your timing be perfect. Let them have all the time they need with their parents and their family. Help their parents remember every freckle, every expression. Engrave it on their memories. Bless our children with more love than they can stand. Your timing may be hard on me through this journey but I know You go before me and prepare our way. Give me the patience and the wisdom to understand that.