Monday, May 31, 2010

Oliver

So my nephew turned 6 today. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love my nephews. Love, love them. They were born and sealed the deal that I could love little kids that were not born of my womb. I share no genetic similarities with them and yet, I would step in front of a bus for them any day. They are just two of the most precious people in the whole world.

So of course I loved celebrating his birth today.






During "Happy Birthday"...love the look on his face.



My other nephew, Eli.



And then some of the other people I love, you might recognize them.






My sister-in-law, Kait brought a pinata (Tariku kept calling it a siesta, so at least he was close). It was a REALLY fun time.



Afterward it made a great hat for Trysten and my father-in-law, Frank!





Love you, Oli!!!!!

The Weekend

I'm on a roll with blogs, let's just keep lettin' it rain, right?

Family camp at camp this weekend. Lots of fun, lots of swimming it was a fantastic time.

Trysten passed the swim test (swim 25 yards without stopping) for the first time so he got some QT in the deep end.



Tariku chose instead to quit LITERALLY half a hand away from the edge, totally psyched himself out (which is not at all frustrating for his mom, ahem).



Dailah spent a lot of time on her float circle too and enjoyed her special treat of the straight up sugar they call "Fun Dip".



Oh, and Tariku showed us a new talent he picked up. He can suck his nostrils in for a really long time. Try it, it's nearly impossible.

Chain Gang

Remember how I shared about Tariku's triggers? I'm trying to figure out how to best prepare him (and the other 2) for what's coming in 3 1/2 weeks. So Saturday I decided to make some paper chains so Tariku could have a visual on just how much longer he has to wait until we leave and just how long we're going to be gone. So we made 2 chains.

One for the amount of days he has to wait until we leave.



And one for the amount of time we're actually gone.



It's been great watching the kids get excited about taking a chain off in the mornings. Selfishly, it's been great watching the chain get ever so shorter in my eyes as well! Something like 24 days...Woot!

SITC2

Some of my girlfriends and I went to Sex in the City 2 on Friday, opening night. Here's the thing, the movie was fun. Of course there were some eye rolling parts, of course it didn't live up to the TV show or the first movie, of course, of course. BUT, the people I was with, the atmosphere of the room was just fun. So it's hard to separate the two.

Zach has asked me before how a cinema major (that's me, did you know I majored in cinema?) can enjoy the kinds of movies I do. It's pretty simple, I just need an escape. I don't want to think, I don't want to analyze the camera angles and what would've worked better. I don't want to think about how the cinematography worked with the sounds of the film. In fact, I don't want to call them "films" anymore, I just like "movies". And there's a difference.

Sex in the City 2, that's a movie. Which is what this mama of (almost) 5 needs at this time in my life.

But these ladies, these are my other peeps. They're the peeps that are on the ground, in the trenches of the hotflawedmama madness. They've seen it all with me and they continue to dive into the ups and downs of being my friend. They are some of the people that make this life of mine blessed beyond measure. You have no idea what you're missing if these people aren't in your life.

But I get them in mine, and I am so very happy about that.



And come on, could they be any sexier? I even got Janet (second from left) to throw off her Crocs for the night and put on a decent pair of shoes. ;)

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Haven't Forgotten

And I hope you haven't either.

Lots of fun stuff going on in water-land. Go to Jody's blog and read about an incredible opportunity to be a part. I'm going to do it, you should to.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On "My Peeps"-One in Particular

Rebekah received her referral last week. Rebekah is one of my people (though probably there are a lot of people who can make that same claim) and I can say that because I traveled with her when we picked up Tariku and she picked up Matthew Zerihun.

So when she told me she was ready for a champagne toast (code in the adoption world for "I got a referral, come drink yourself silly with me!") I was downright depressed that I lived 3 hours from her and couldn't do so in person.

But...she's a genius. She asked people who were too far away to send in their virtual toast.

Thus...



*Quick note, I chose beer instead of champagne because when we were in Ethiopia we had a few beers together. Zach went with someone to pick up some beer from a local shop. We didn't really realize that it wouldn't be refrigerated but of course it wasn't. So we all drank our warm beer and (kind of) enjoyed it.

Here's the thing about the adoption world, specifically the adoption world in this technological age. We all (seem) to know each other. We are interwebbed through the interwebs. It's a pretty remarkable thing.

When Zach and I started out on this adoption some of the first people I told (even before some family and most friends) were my adoption "soul sisters". The people who I knew would be able to give me support and encouragement as well as a healthy dose of reality "It's not that big of a freakin deal, Tesi, suck it up." They are good like that.

Rebekah, she's one of them. After we got our travel email I tried calling my family, no one was answering! So I emailed Rebekah because I needed someone to celebrate with. Celebrate we did.

After that, I had to text Amanda and Tiffany (also fellow travelers of first adoption and good friends) because I wanted to share joy.

Then I had a good chat with Chandra because she's hilarious and loves chocolate and I knew she would be excited for us.

So people make fun of me (cough, Zach, cough) because I'm always "on the blogs". But there's kind of this thing we do for each other. We laugh, cry and toast together. Most of "my peeps" I've never even met but often I feel like I could go to Cathy's house and debate over a cup of coffee about which always-talking Ethiopian boy actually talks more.

But this world is sometimes the only place I feel sane and sometimes even the only place where "crazy" is the norm, and for that I am eternally grateful.

So this toast goes out to Rebekah, and Patrick. To my buddy Quinn and of course sweet MZ. But most especially to the most precious Dagmawit. Of course that beautiful little girl doesn't know what just happened to her. Her world was turned upside down and inside out but I have no doubts in just a few short months it will be (somewhat) righted again because she's landed in the most remarkable family. Raise your glass (or just head over to Rebekah's blog) and toast the new addition!

It's Really Happening

I'm not sure if you knew that or not but Zach and I certainly had our doubts. We had our doubts that we would bring home the boys for another few months.

But today we found out otherwise. We will indeed be traveling to pick them up. When?

June 23rd!!!!!!!!! Less than a month!

When I called to tell Zach that we got our travel date we both thought the same thing, "Really?" With Tariku we ran into so many hurdles, everything that could go wrong or slow, did. But this time it's as if we're hitting all the green lights, very crazy.

Which is what these boys deserve. They deserve green lights to a family. They deserve no more hurdles to finding love in our arms.

And yet...

Their parents are a bit in shock.

We actually get a whole month (almost) to plan, which is pretty amazing in international adoption. Last time we got just over 2 weeks' notice.

So it's happening and we're beside ourselves. When I got the email I was busy feeding the kids (our CSA delivered fresh strawberries, lettuce and radish last night so we were dining on that, the perfect thing for this excitable belly). Tariku fell to the floor, started kicking the air and yelling, "Mommy and daddy are going to get our brothers! They'll be home soon!"

And that's when I cried.

Because I realized bringing them home means so much more than just bringing on babies to love for us. It means Tariku gets siblings who look like him, siblings who have the same terrific and horrifying memories. Brothers who may not be biological but who are certainly similar in histories. I am so excited for him, for us.

I can tell you their names, I was told.

Tomas and Binyam.

Still no pictures until June 22nd. I'm already creating a slideshow for you. :)

But we booked our tickets. Flying NW/KLM June 23rd and coming back July 2nd. My nephew is due July 2nd so my sister-in-law has to either deliver early or keep him cozy for awhile.

As for us, we're pinching ourselves and giving praises to the Author of this story. We are praising God for these blessings, these terrific blessings. We are in awe of His grace and humbled by His mercy.

We hope the boys wake up this morning with a feeling they can't shake, a feeling that they are loved most intensely by a family half a world away.

This family, my family, who will be complete in less than a month.

3 habeshas and 4 mostly-germans, sounds like the strangest, most amazing pairing I've ever heard of!

Thanks for letting me share, thanks for being "my people". Watch for my next post about "people".

Tomas and Binyam, we're coming!!!!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

In the Meantime

My brother got married, I'm waiting for pictures.

We got an update on the boys, I'm waiting for energy.

For now, you get a commencement speech by Bono because it re-inspired me today and made me realize my desire for laziness today can't extend the rest of my life. Breath of fresh air in a stagnant heart this morning.

This is a tasty morsel, if you want the whole dish, go here.

An amazing event happened here in Philadelphia in 1985--Live Aid--that whole We Are The World phenomenon the concert that happened here. Well after that concert I went to Ethiopia with my wife, Ali. We were there for a month and an extraordinary thing happened to me. We used to wake up in the morning and the mist would be lifting we'd see thousands and thousands of people who'd been walking all night to our food station were we were working. One man--I was standing outside talking to the translator--had this beautiful boy and he was saying to me in Amharic, I think it was, I said I can't understand what he's saying, and this nurse who spoke English and Amharic said to me, he's saying will you take his son. He's saying please take his son, he would be a great son for you. I was looking puzzled and he said, "You must take my son because if you don't take my son, my son will surely die. If you take him he will go back to Ireland and get an education." Probably like the ones we're talking about today. I had to say no, that was the rules there and I walked away from that man, I've never really walked away from it. But I think about that boy and that man and that's when I started this journey that's brought me here into this stadium.

Because at that moment I became the worst scourge on God's green earth, a rock star with a cause. Christ! Except it isn't the cause. Seven thousand Africans dying every day of preventable, treatable disease like AIDS? That's not a cause, that's an emergency. And when the disease gets out of control because most of the population live on less than one dollar a day? That's not a cause, that's an emergency. And when resentment builds because of unfair trade rules and the burden of unfair debt, that are debts by the way that keep Africans poor? That's not a cause, that's an emergency. So--We Are The World, Live Aid, start me off it was an extraordinary thing and really that event was about charity. But 20 years on I'm not that interested in charity. I'm interested in justice. There's a difference. Africa needs justice as much as it needs charity.

Equality for Africa is a big idea. It's a big expensive idea. I see the Wharton graduates now getting out the math on the back of their programs, numbers are intimidating aren't they, but not to you! But the scale of the suffering and the scope of the commitment they often numb us into a kind of indifference. Wishing for the end to AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa is like wishing that gravity didn't make things so damn heavy. We can wish it, but what the hell can we do about it?

Well, more than we think. We can't fix every problem--corruption, natural calamities are part of the picture here--but the ones we can we must. The debt burden, as I say, unfair trade, as I say, sharing our knowledge, the intellectual copyright for lifesaving drugs in a crisis, we can do that. And because we can, we must. Because we can, we must. Amen.

This is the straight truth, the righteous truth. It's not a theory, it's a fact. The fact is that this generation--yours, my generation--that can look at the poverty, we're the first generation that can look at poverty and disease, look across the ocean to Africa and say with a straight face, we can be the first to end this sort of stupid extreme poverty, where in the world of plenty, a child can die for lack of food in it's belly. We can be the first generation. It might take a while, but we can be that generation that says no to stupid poverty. It's a fact, the economists confirm it. It's an expensive fact but, cheaper than say the Marshall Plan that saved Europe from communism and fascism. And cheaper I would argue than fighting wave after wave of terrorism's new recruits. That's the economics department over there, very good.

It's a fact. So why aren't we pumping our fists in the air and cheering about it? Well probably because when we admit we can do something about it, we've got to do something about it. For the first time in history we have the know how, we have the cash, we have the lifesaving drugs, but do we have the will?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not Wordless Wednesday

So I had asked Zach to get the group of guys who works at camp to bring old railroad ties down to our house to start our garden.

Today I got an email from Zach that said, "I would send you a picture of my cleavage but I thought this would turn you on more."



He's got such sweet pillow talk.

Oh, and nope, not able to post pictures of our boys. Guess you'll have to wait another month. :(

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And Then There Were 7

Amazingly, miraculously, terrifically...we passed!

We passed court today. The boys are ours!

Tonight in Ethiopia, paperwork will be gathered and glanced and soon enough we'll get a birth certificate for the boys. And their last name, will now be Klipsch.

Awesome.

I really had planned on not knowing until the end of the week, but then at about noon people starting saying they heard they passed. So I started to get anxious.

And feel like I was going to throw up.

And not be able to eat.

And biting my nails to the quick.

And, in short, becoming adoption Tesi.

Then at 3:37 we got an email notifying us of our "Court approval". Those are some pretty fantastic words.

Oddly enough, last night I was trying to go to sleep but kept finding myself dreaming about all the things that needed to happen to pass court. Who needed to be there and what that meant for that person. Couldn't sleep.

Then I just felt God saying, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I got this."

And I knew He did. So I turned over and fell asleep.

I woke up with that calm sense of peace. I thought probably it was God saying, "Not today, but another day. They'll be yours when you are ready and they are ready."

But now I realize it was probably more like, "It's going to be fine, you'll be a family of 7 today, for the rest of your lives."

I'm kind of lovin' that feeling.

SO...our agency says that we are not allowed to post photos until we travel. I still have not figured out the reason for this as every other agency I know working in Ethiopia allows you to post pictures once you pass court. So I'll find out tomorrow, and if they let me, you'll see those faces I've been staring at for 5 months!

So hang on, just a few more hours (hopefully)!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Adoption Related Tidbits

- We received our i171H on Friday. Yippee! That means the US Government has okayed us to bring in two little boys from Ethiopia. This also means there is nothing standing in our way of travel except...

-Court. Tomorrow. It's actually probably happening tonight as we sleep (IF we sleep). Maybe the case won't be heard, maybe the people who need to show up won't show up, maybe there will be missing paperwork, maybe, maybe, maybe. Somehow I'm incredibly calm about the whole thing. I'm chalking that up to God because Lord knows I'm not typically calm in these certain situations.

So if you could, pray for us and for the court. There are a lot of people from our agency who have court tomorrow and, of course, I'd love it if they all passed.

Remember that we probably won't hear whether we passed or not for a few days. They typically wait until they have the actual paper saying you passed court before letting you know the outcome (which I appreciate because, if you'll remember, our last agency told us we passed court with Tariku but we actually didn't. Had they waited for the piece of paper it would've saved me a lot of stress...and lbs).

All this to say I had a good few weeks in there where I didn't actually have to stalk my phone but we'll be back to doing that for the rest of the week.

Good thing I have my brother's impending nuptials to keep my mind off things.

To a successful court hearing! I want to be able to officially declare these boys Klipschs!

The Sale

Last night as I sat in my home, with *nothing* to do (except laundry, clean the house, give the kids a bath, figure out dinner, etc) I realized I had not watched TV since Tuesday and had not been on the computer since Wednesday.

That is huge for me.

I was trying to figure out how much time I spent on the garage sale but after logging over 24 hours in straight up sale-ing this weekend (up at 5:15 am, finishing at 5:30 pm) I figured I didn't want to know because it just might depress me.

I do know, however, that I'm still exhausted. I took a 2 1/2 hour nap yesterday and went to bed at 9pm last night and yet I still feel like I have a good 10 hours of straight sleep in me.

But it was worth it, because...

$1500.

That's how much we made. It's incredible! Literally I had hoped for $1000, assuming we'd make closer to $500. It was a great surprise.

We figure that's one plane ticket to Ethiopia. When I texted Zach to tell him our good news (he was in the middle of my brother's bachelor party "poor guy") it said.

We made $1500 this weekend. $5500 more to go and we can pick up our boys!
Typically I am a very positive person, I promise. :)

God is so, so good people, I can't begin to tell you. We had perfect weather despite all of last week receiving rain and freezing temps. I have family and friends who are so reliable, so loving, so helpful. And the people came out in droves, it was non stop. It was, in a word, fantastic.

I didn't even have time to snap many pics but I did get some important ones.

We pimped out our kids a bit to pull at the heart strings. Turns out 1) most garage salers have no heart strings to speak of and 2) the kids got bored after about one hour and we were left explaining to people the cute table and chairs and cooler were not for sale. (But read the sign in the background that Trysten made, so precious).



Here is the side of the sign, can you see which person Trysten colored and which one Tariku colored? Classic. There were also pictures of 3T and B on the other side, but I can't show them to you...yet.



This was the garage, we were still pulling stuff out and throwing on tables all day Friday despite working until 11pm Thursday night and waking up at 5:15 Friday morning.



This here is one side of my dear sister's yard. The other side hosted hundreds of purses and hundreds of shoes, among many other things.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gonna Get Through It

The garage sale, that is.

So much time, this thing! We have so much stuff. But it has to be done, because we need money to bring home our boys.

So tomorrow and Saturday 8-3 come out to visit us. 5105 Taylor St in Davenport.

My kids are going to be selling lemonade and cookies to help bring their brothers home.

I'm going to be drinking coffee (probably laced with a bit of Kahlua if I'm being honest) and selling all of my kids' memories.

But my commune is back in action. Parents coming with a trailer to load all of our big stuff (beds, couches, weight bench, dressers, tables, Oh my!). Beth offering her able hands and organizational skills. My sister offering her garage, doesn't end.

And by Sunday hopefully we'll have a good start to our adoption travel expenses.

I wonder if everyone thinks their garage sale has the best stuff. I wonder if everyone has doubts that a single person will show up for their sale.

Maybe it's just me.

Maybe I need to get out more.

See you tomorrow and Saturday!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

6 days until court, still feeling like this.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Day in the Life

Could also be titled, "Why I believe in singing and dancing in the car".

video

World Aids Orphan Day. Mothers Day, etc

I have no idea what I've been doing the last week. All I know is, somehow I managed to not get on my computer much the last week and therefore have not been able to blog in that time.

I wanted to blog for World Aids Orphan Day, but I didn't, so go here and listen to Erin. She's amazing and says it better than I could anyway.

I wanted to blog about my dear friend, Beth, passing court. In 6-8 weeks she'll meet Ethiopia and her sweet Lucia (and maybe, selfishly, T3 and B). I am so excited for her whole family.

I wanted to blog about having a wedding shower for my almost sister-in-law but there were too many little cookies to make, too many meat trays to pick up.

Then I wanted to write about mother's day but I was enjoying it too much.

I wanted to write about how much I love being a mom but I couldn't find the words. About how I pinch myself at the very thought of this being my life.

I wanted to write about this "job" of mothering my kids.

I wanted to write about the card my hubby got me that listed lots of reasons why I was a good mom (including, but not limited to, "You wash pee sheets" and "You wash sharted* undies"). *sharted, if you didn't know, is when people thought they were farting and well, sh*t their pants. It's a shart, and my boys do it from time to time.

I wanted to write about how when I was taking a shower my eldest slipped a note under the door, a note on mother's day, that made me cry.

I wanted to write about the mom who I share this day with. This mom I think of every day. The mom who I share one of my kids with.

I wanted to write about my mom, this most amazing, loving, beautiful, tireless creature who inspires and supports beyond comprehension.

I also wanted to write about my mom-in-law. Funny, beautiful, loving, joyful, talented beyond comprehension.

I wanted to write about my grandma, my aunts, my sister-in-law, my friends, my fellow adoptive mommies and bloggers.

I wanted to write about the women who so long to be mommies but who find their arms empty this mother's day. I wanted to tell them that it won't always be that way, that I pray and hope for them every day to experience this wonderful world.

I wanted to write to the single moms who have my respect one hundred times over.

I wanted to write about moms around the world who have made the most difficult decisions. The "birth moms" who are so much more than that.

I wanted, perhaps most, to talk about my kids. The ones who made me "mom".

But I was busy loving and laughing. I was busy enjoying this mom-ness. I was busy with these three. And busy dreaming about the other two.



Happy mother's day to you!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Little Secret

So I've always kind of wanted to live on a commune. Not those scarier versions where the "leader" makes you drink poison and things, I just love the idea of neighbors helping neighbors. So in my garden I would plant lettuce, carrots and peas and in your garden you would plant potatoes, onions and peppers. You would help feed my family, I would help feed yours. You need a new roof? Zach helps your husband and I watch your kids.

Love that idea.

Thankfully I have a few friends (and family) who, despite our geographical distance, enter into our commune and help our family. One such friend is Beth. This woman is just a better person in ever single aspect than I am, but she's so dang sweet I can't help but love her for it.

So I'm doing this garage sale to help raise travel money. It is the bane of my existence. Eyes on the prize, though, I'm going to finish and add the probable $500 towards our plane tickets.

Anyhow, this little garage sale is taking up a tremendous amount of time. I had to miss our Wednesday play date last week to pull another "all day-er". I get an email from Beth, "I need to help you, I hate imagining you under a pile of boxes. I'm coming over Monday to help."

Who does that? Well apparently Beth does.

So last night she came over, I introduced her to "G and T's" (Gin and Tonics) and we set (garage) sale-ing...for the next 3 hours. 3 hours of dusting off, tagging, throwing some things away (some things I just couldn't force myself to put my claim on them), reorganizing, pushing, pulling, etc, etc.

No complaints from Beth. To top it off, she tried to PAY ME for a few things she took from the pile. This woman is out of her mind, clearly I should be paying her (and honestly, I would've bought new clothes for her little Lucia-who is waiting for her in Ethopia-anyway!)

So Beth, Beth is definitely in my commune and I hope she knows anytime she needs a head of lettuce or new tile for her bathroom floor, she can call us. Because that's what we do in my imagined commune.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

My Big Sister

it's her birthday today. The 3-0 birthday.

I'm so proud of her. So proud she's my sister. She's beautiful, talented, smart (she's a Pharmacist, need I say more?) a great auntie and a great sister.

A little low on patience but high on love. Slow to trust but super trustworthy.

When we were younger people always asked if we were twins. I remember pretending (in my head) that we were.

When I'd have nightmares I'd always climb into her (twin) bed, she'd hate it but let me stay there anyway.

When I get good news or bad news, she's the second person I call (the first being Zach, of course).

There were some years in there that were touch and go between us-I chalk it up to teenage angst-but I never, ever stopped being her biggest advocate and her biggest fan.

Every time I think Dailah is ok without another girl in the family I think of my sister and how she is a rock when I need it most and knows me better than most people. I know Dailah can form those relationships with friends and future sister-in-laws but I do mourn for her a bit this most amazing relationship between sisters.

So happy birthday to my big sister. I love you so very much!


Chicago

Just pictures (unless I get frisky and put some captions with them). It was a great time, a fantastic time. An amazing game and the company I was in, just doesn't get any better.




Hotflawedmama, my future sister-in-law and her sister.



I LOVE this man. My heart bleeds for him.







My brothers future brother-in-law, Zach and my brother.



Marcus and Lindsey



Lindsey and Zach



We also found Zach's sister Kait. Short time with her but it feels great to see her even then.



Siblings!