Monday, December 31, 2007


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


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 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


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


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


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.