Thursday, March 31, 2011

Random Thoughts

Tomorrow is the first day of April and yesterday we had 3 inches of fresh snow fall. While I realize I live in Ohio, this year I am so ready for spring. And so is Gabriel!

Gabe was accepted into an intensive therapy program. Constraint Induced Movement Therapy starts Monday! It's 3 hours a day, 5 days a week for 3 weeks. We're excited, nervous and hopeful all at once. Gabe has no idea what's coming.

As Matt and I were discussing our 10 year high school reunions tonight, he felt compelled to mention that we're getting awfully close to 30. And while I am finally getting over my aversion to getting older, I'm not quite there yet. I think it has more to do with the fact that I'm not quite who I want to be yet and that there are a few things I want to accomplish before I turn 30 more than the actual being 30.

Matt and I are both on the same page of not having any desire to go to our high school reunions... and I think that's just peachy!

The Bead for Life party was a complete success! I have one more person coming to check them out and then I'll be shipping them back. Shipping them back with a check for over $1200! Many thanks to all my friends and family that purchased jewelry (or soap!) to help women in Uganda escape poverty.

Parenting is the hardest job I've ever had. I haven't had many jobs, but I'm fairly certain it's ranks right up there with president of the United States. Having to make decisions, hopefully the right decisions, for someone else is a huge responsibility. Sometimes educating yourself and prayer doesn't seem like enough.

We hit our March Madness goal! Once the freebies make their way to my house we'll draw for winners. Will we go old fashioned and write every one's name on a slip of paper and draw winners or will we do the modern thing and try out We shall see!

And if you're on twitter, Patricia Heaton has pledged to donate $10,000 to Reece's Rainbow then their (RR) twitter page reaches 10,000 followers! They have 5,410 followers right now, so if you're on twitter please consider following! In case you didn't know; Patricia Heaton plays Deborah on Everyone Loves Raymond (one of Matt's favorite shows).

Gabe knows where his nose is, and he also knows how to pick his nose. It must be a boy thing! And as you can see, Gabe's working on his balance and standing now!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pleased as punch

That's how I felt when Gabe and I left the Cleveland Clinic this afternoon!

Gabriel had his 4-month follow-up neurology appointment today and Dr. F is "very pleased with his progress" since his last appointment. Scheduling conflicts caused Gabe's appointments to be almost 5 months apart and I was amazed to see how far Gabe has come since his last appointment.

5 months ago, Gabriel was not sitting up unassisted, could not go from lying down to sitting up by himself and didn't recognize his left hand at all. Gabriel couldn't army crawl, clap or take steps. Today, Gabe can do all of those things and more. Because of his phenomenal therapists, hard work at home and the grace of God; Gabe is cognitively on target and continues to grow and learn each and every day.

Of course, Dr F is concerned about Gabriel's left arm and hand as the rest of us and provided us with a few ideas to think about to help Gabe in that area. It was just so amazing to hear Dr F comment on how well Gabe is doing, how pleased he is with his progress and his expectations for Gabe. Expectations that Gabe can only achieve through lots and lots of hard work, but that he will be able to accomplish. Things like walking, using his left arm to provide him balance to stand and his left hand to assist him in day to day tasks.

Believe me, I'm not wearing rose colored glasses; I recognize the fact that Gabe has a lot of work to do before he can be considered developmentally on target. And truly, if Gabe were never to learn to walk, never use his left hand to hold open a door or jump and run like other children; that would be okay. We want Gabe to be all that he is meant to be, whatever that may be. But, to know that Gabe's doctor has great expectations for him is just plain old fantastic!

I'll admit, I was a bit worried before the appointment. Lately Gabe has begun to remember doctors offices and it's not something that he thinks of fondly. It usually takes a nurse getting to close or a doctor with a stethoscope for Gabe's bottom lip to pucker out and the sobbing to start. With all this behavior escalating (Gabe even hates when I sit on the exam table), my hopes were not high that Dr. F would get a good evaluation of him. Of course, I was worried for no reason at all and Gabe pulled out all the stops. After a few tears from hearing Dr. F tear the exam table paper, Gabe played bashful for a few minutes and then pulled out all the stops. Taking steps like a champ and saying "hi" "block" "mama" and "ball", Gabe showed Dr. F his stuff!

And I was one proud mama! Especially since Gabe said "mama" and he usually holds out on saying my favorite word!

Suffice it to say, when we left I was pleased as punch and Gabe, well he flirted with every lady we passed and then danced in his car seat the whole way home!

I thought these pictures of Gabe show just how far he's come; balancing and reaching to get his ball and clapping his hands.

I sure do love this little guy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


On Wednesday, Gabriel and I headed west into Oberlin to have lunch with a very special person; his grandma S! After eating lunch and catching up on all things Gabe, we decided to check out a store that opened recently.

The store was called Inspired and it is a fair trade and eco-friendly store. Everything there, and I mean everything came from a fair trade organization and almost everything was eco-friendly, ie made from recycled or sustainable materials.
Gabe was gifted two very cool things.

This bib was made in Ghana and helps women work themselves and their family out of poverty. It's made from cotton and was dyed with, not dye, but berries. How cool is that?

(bad picture, but it reads "Toys with Integrity")
This cute little farm was hand-painted in Thailand using their renewable wood sources and non-toxic paint. It has 12 animals, a zoo entrance gate and 8 pieces of fence. And you can tell it's hand painted because of the little details and even a few smears :) Not mistakes, they give it character!

This store had the cutest fleece jacket that I now have my eye on and a wall hanging that would look great in our back room! And everything was fair trade. I love that there is a nifty place to shop where you know that the people behind the merchandise are making a living wage; enough to provide food and shelter for themselves and their family.

Good merchandise, good cause - I can't wait to go back!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Small Things

At our house we celebrate the small things in life just as much as we celebrate the big things. Accomplishments like learning to open and close (and open and close) the refrigerator are embraced just as much as pulling up into a four point crawl position or using crayons. to make discreet marks. And milestones like being able to support and control the left side of your body to help you open the refrigerator garner just as much praise as standing without assistance.

If Gabriel has taught us anything (and, boy has he taught us a lot!), he's taught us that every day is a miracle and we should act accordingly! So today, we celebrate the milestone of being able to open the refrigerator door. And close the refrigerator door. And open the refrigerator door. And close... well you get the picture [SMILE].

Friday, March 25, 2011

Quick Note

Today Ordinary Hero is offering an incentive! The first fundraising family to raise $100 in commissions will receive a matching grant from OH for $100! So that's $200 for an adoption fund! Do you think we can do it? Have you been wanting to buy and just can't decide which shirt? Well buy today and we receive an 'extra bonus' if we're the first family to $100 in commissions! I myself am trying to figure out how to convince Matt that we can buy some early Christmas presents and I'd like a shirt too of course [SMILE].

***don't forget to choose us as the affiliate the proceeds go too***

In other news, we're getting closer to our March Madness goal, so if you're jonesing for some good coffee check out our Just Love Coffee shop. Enjoy some yummy coffee whilst helping us raise the ransom to bring our sweet little one home; the one whom only God knows his face but we already love dearly. Yes, it is totally possible to love someone you don't know, who may not be part of this world yet.

And please, please, PLEASE, keep praying for Kirill.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BIG and little

There are so many fights going on in the world at this very moment. Big ones, little ones, personal ones, public ones. Some fights we'll win, some fights we'll lose and some fights we will never understand this side of heaven.

Right now I have a remarkable friend going through a very private fight; a fight many people won't have understand, less will have to endure and one I pray you never go through alone. She is not alone.

On the other side of the world there is a little boy in the middle of a fight. And I'll quote my bloggy friend Adeye when I say "This is not a war against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and the forces of evil that try to hold orphans captive." The little boy is Kirill and he has a family that is longing for him to be home in their arms. For Kirill though, a sweet little boy with a 3rd 21st chromosome, he may never make it home to be with the Mommy and Daddy that long to love on him. Love on him I say because they already love him, he is already their son.

And he may not ever make it to his forever family because a judge on the other side of the world believes a child with down syndrome belongs in an institution rather than a home. You and I know that this is horrifying, no child deserves to spend their life unloved in an institution when they can be loved in a home.

Reading the Davis' blog, you'll see that the judge changing her mind during their appeal sounds unlikely.

But unlikely things happen everyday because we serve a very unlikely God. God can make the impossible possible and the difficult seem easy. And while we might not always understand His will or His ways, we do know God hears our prayers.

Please pray for Kirill. Storm the gates of heaven with us as we pray that God, the God who made the heavens and the earth, who parted the Red Sea and rescued Daniel from the lions will have His will done. That the battle that rages between good and evil, the battle that keeps orphans imprisoned and families unable to make the ransom to bring their little loves home is won by God. That sweet little Kirill finds his way home to his mama and daddy, Tesney and Greg. Pray for Tesney and Greg; that while they may not understand God's ways, they continue to trust in Him.

This is not just one of the BIG fights, it's a war. A war against the evil in the world, for Kirill and all the orphans waiting to be rescued. Please join us in praying.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

True Confessions

It's late....Gabe's sleeping.... Matt's sleeping...I should be sleeping, but can't fall asleep.... I didn't take a nap today and won't get to take one for the next few days either...

Today I caught up with an old friend, K. It's a shame we don't talk as often as I'd like. There was a period in my life where I found so much strength in our friendship. And I still love her dearly; life has just taken us into different directions and that's okay. Relationships, like life, are fluid and need to be worked on continuously to be maintained. And when a relationship changes or ends, it doesn't have to be a bad thing (it took me a LONG time to realize that), it just means that you are changing. Outgrowing someone doesn't mean you don't love them, it just means you recognize that your friendship hasn't matured with your lifestyle. Rather than having a fall out in the relationship, you just let it go. And that's okay too.

Unbeknown st to me K reads here (Hi!) and of course we spent quite a bit of time talking about Gabe. We also talked a lot about faith; something we both share. Then she said the thing that I hate, despise, loathe... she said that it seems like I "have it all together". And I just had to laugh because I do not have it all together, far from it!

And I do not want to come off as having it all together because that is so not the real life I live. This week has been crazy! Why?

Let's start the first ever True Confessions of a SAHM.

  • Yesterday at Target an older lady asked what happened to Gabe's leg (he was wearing his AFO and his pants had ridden up when I put him in the buggy) and instead of patiently explaining that he has a tone problem and the AFO stretches his muscles and will help him walk, I snapped. I'm not sure if it was the look she gave him (pitying) or the tone of her voice but I didn't not respond kindly. To her "what happened to his leg" question, she received a "what happened to your manners" response.
It wasn't kind, necessary or Christian of me, but in the moment it felt good.
  • Speaking of snapping, Monday I tried to make chicken fried rice for the first time, without a wok. And then I neglected to let the rice cool so when I went to fry the rice, it became clumpy. It was edible but not tastey and poor Matt decided to add some Franks hot sauce to it. Rather then adding spices to my own bowl of yuck, I took it as a personal insult and gave him attitude. I later apologized, but c'mon Mere, it was mushy rice, what should I have expected!
  • As we prepared to leave Oberlin today, Gabe did not want to get in his car. So while he cried in his car seat, I put in an old cd and had a little bit of a cry as well as we sat in our parking spot. It's amazing how a few tears can make you feel better.
  • I did all of the laundry on Monday. But then the blanket I won at an adoption auction came in the mail today and I had to wash it right away so he could sleep with it tonight. I try to do laundry all at once so that the dryer doesn't have to cool down (you can save energy and money that way) but I just couldn't wait! Yes, a blanket made me that excited!
  • I've become re-addicted (is that a word) to caffeine and can't seem to get through a day without some. My lovely Megan's cleanse is seeming more and more inviting, yet more and more challenging every day.
  • We're going to Daytona Beach this fall so I've been trying to get back into shape. That includes making Gabe laugh as I run on the elliptical for as long as he'll let me most mornings and trying not to eat as much chocolate as I usually do. I enjoy the running but really miss the chocolate [smile]

So, there you have it! True confessions of a stay-at-home-mom who most certainly doesn't have it all together! What kind of true confessions do you have?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


My love for all things Harry Potter has finally spread to Gabriel! Yes, he is that excited because he finally has a HP shirt! He's been asking for one for months now. I'm fairly certain (like 100%) that even though he won't be attending the midnight release of Harry Potter July 15 (less than 4 months to go!), he'll be rocking this shirt. And when we head to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter when we go to Daytona this year - this shirt will be rocked again. This shirt, or another one I have my eye on! But this one will match his BG black and white diaper perfectly!

Yes, I do try to color coordinate Gabriel's diapers to his outfits. I am just that cool!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Not Your Thing?

T-shirts and hats not your thing? Well, Ordinary Hero now has a way for you to help bring our baby home and make a difference in the life of an child in Africa.

Product donations for Children in Africa is a way to provide a child in Africa with shoes that will keep their feet safe, a rain coat to keep them dry during the rainy season or a blanket to help keep them warm during winter (which is quickly approaching for them).

I can not stress how much I love organizations that find ways to support people in need. And I'm continually amazed by Ordinary Hero, how they continually keep finding ways to help people.

Onto a completely different subject but still the same topic... NCAA's March Madness is ruining my television watching. Thursday night Matt turned on the tv and I was eagerly anticipating watching The Big Bang Theory but alas there was basketball. Ack! So while I'm eagerly awaiting basketball's March Madness to come to an end, I wanted to remind you that Just Love Coffee's March Madness has 10 days left! Buy coffee and get a chance to win coffee!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Some good stuff!

Our last home study visit was today! Of course, our house passed the inspection. I say of course, because the sheet was the exact same form that was used for Gabe's adoption and our home study update for DCFS and as we passed those times and had changed nothing but room colors, we were sure we'd pass.

Stacy, our caseworker, said she would have the home study ready for us to preview in a day or so, and then it will be submitted to Cincinnati, then off to Portland. As soon as we have our home study approved we can apply to get our CIS fingerprints (the last, most official fingerprints!)

And while we wait for our fingerprints we'll finish up with our dossier paperwork. I love that we are getting closer and closer to the point where we will be just waiting for the call. While we know that the time of just waiting will be tedious, and that God will probably be teaching me a lot about patience during the waiting period, I just can't wait to officially be waiting. I say official, because we're already waiting on the little one we so dearly love.

And without further ado a little picture strip of Gabe clapping. We're ecstatic that he recognizes his left side enough now to clap! And if you knew how hard it would be or the amount of work it took for him to be able to do it, you'd be ecstatic too. You may already be ecstatic though?!?!

Yes we are in the car but no, I am not driving. Why take pictures in the car? Because that's where Gabe does most of his clapping. Gabriel hears music and claps along - our boy has rhythm!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Some good news!

As you all know, parents adopting from Ethiopia had their world rocked 12 days ago when the Ministry of Woman's Affairs (MOWA) announced that they would reduce the amount of adoptions they process daily to five starting on March 10th. What you may not know is that a few days later the director of MOWA and many other staff members had their jobs terminated.

Since all this has been going on our agency has been relentless in finding out what's happening, working towards rectifying these horrible changes made and keeping us informed. Today we received another update.... and this time the update was positive.

And since I'm horrible at re-communicating things, I'll just do a bit of copy and pasting!

At this time, all Foreign Staff on the ground in Ethiopia are reporting that MOWA has completed their staffing changes and are now currently working at full capacity to complete those adoption cases currently re-scheduled or assigned a court appointment through the courts of Addis Ababa. Our staff believe this to be around 800 cases they are working at full force to complete with no restrictions on the number of cases processed each day. This is great news! We are thrilled to hear these drastic changes do not seem to be going into full effect.

We are also pleased to report that for new cases moving forward; it appears the original changes proposed by MOWA will not be implemented to the degree of 5 cases a day. At this time it is unknown whether or not
MOWA will issue a formal statement regarding how they will process cases in the future, but from all discussions it will not be a drastic decrease from before. Through the continued work, meetings, and advocacy of many Foreign Staff members in Ethiopia, it appears any future changes within the case processing for MOWA will avoid sweeping and disproportionate alterations to the number of cases processed each day. Rather, the hope is that MOWA, Joint Council, Adoption Service Providers, the US Department of State and other NGO organizations can come together to support the government of Ethiopia in strengthening the process for ethical adoptions to continue while also improving the general social structures to assist with family preservation in Ethiopia. This plan was acknowledged in the recent posting by the US State Department this morning at We understand the US Department of State cannot issue a formal statement without MOWA issuing a retraction. Based on the information we are receiving, MOWA is concentrating on processing the current adoptions and the new staff is not focused on numbers, but doing their jobs.

There was definitely quite a bit of sweet relief in our house this evening. And while we don't know exactly what this means; it does mean that instead of choosing an asinine number randomly, MOWA will be working to help the children.

And that's what really matters in all of this.

Thanks for your continued support and prayers!

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

See Gabe!

See Gabe sit (on his Gabriel stool)See Gabe balance
See Gabe blow kisses
Silly Gabe!

And while Gabriel looks like he's having fun, he's really working. Gabe sits on his stool practicing his balance and using his right hand and his left hand to reach for things, stack blocks and use his shape sorters. Hard at work or hard at play; either way Gabe's doing, learning and growing!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Little Update

A little change in the Ordinary Hero t-shirt fundraiser: instead of using a particular link to access our account, you can get to the Ordinary Hero store any way you'd like and while checking out just pick out our name (actually it's just under my name) from the drop-down box of affiliates and the proceeds go directly into our account!

And one of the best things about this little fundraiser is that the money goes from our Ordinary Hero account directly to our adoption agency. We don't have to do anything but promote our fundraiser and well, adopt of course!

Many thanks to everyone for purchasing a t-shirt, supporting us and praying for us during our adoption!

To continue on with the fundraising talk; we're about 1/2 way to the March Madness goal with Just Love Coffee.

Like I said above, thank you for your support! We are humbled by the love and generosity that meets us at every turn of this journey to Ethiopia.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Be a Hero

This weekend was our church's missions conference, it was called Reach 2011: The Power of 1. Unfortunately I was unable to come; an emotionally exhausting week and physically exhausting day had me sleeping on the couch shortly after Gabe went to bed Friday evening. Matt said it was fabulous though and now I'm itching to go to a missions conference.

Whilst I missed the conference on Friday, there was a speaker today was inspirational. Some of the things he said were like God whispering in my soul. Don't you just love when you're sitting in a church service and you feel like the pastor is talking directly to you. Today was like that, but more surreal as I know he was saying things God wanted me to hear.

Like the power one person has through the many different opportunities God provides to us. One of the things that really stuck was that he said people always say they are waiting for God to call them into missions. But he said that God has already called each of us to The Great Commission:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:18-20

God's obvious call for each of us to go spread His word reverberated in my soul then and when Matt and I talked about it after service. And Matt so easily related the call of ministering to the far ends of the world to the call for adopting.

Just because you don't feel God's call for you to adopt or support adoption, that doesn't mean anything. Scripture after scripture is already written instructing you to care for the orphans.

"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing." Deuteronomy 10:18

"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Psalm 82:3-4

"This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the stranger, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place." Jeremiah 22:3

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

I love that I know scripture to defend my point of view. I love that Matt and I have already taken that step in faith to follow God's will and stand up for orphans. And we are getting much more out of our journey than our child will get from coming home to us. The Lord is strengthening us and stretching us, He becomes our stronghold in times of doubt or trouble and is our beacon of light throughout it all.

Adoption has caused us to draw nearer and nearer to God; relying on Him more and the world less. It's hard as the Lord convicts us of me of my earthly ways and reveals to us His plan for our life.

So, God has called demanded we heed his word and care for the orphans. And one of the many ways to do that is to adopt. And when I think of this I always think of the quote that God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called. For us, with our adoptions it has meant financial equipping.

It's an understatement when people say adoption is expensive. And I'd be lying if I didn't say that issues that deal with money (or lack there of) stress me out. But God didn't tell us to wait to adopt until we were financially well off, he told us to adopt and we listened.

And He has equipped us. The generosity of others is astounding; from money slipped into the palms of our hands or in a card from a near stranger to the overwhelming generosity and love we've received from our family and friends - God has provided.

God has also provided us with awesome opportunities to not only help ourselves but to help ourselves and others. Our ongoing fundraiser with Just Love Coffee and our past collaboration with 147 Million Orphans were two great examples of this.

Today we are excited, honored and grateful for the opprotunity to partner with Ordinary Hero to raise money for our adoption by selling their apparel. They have items for men, women, youth and even babies!

You want to know how it works? Well all that you have to do is click here or over on the Ordinary Hero badge on our sidebar. This will take you directly to our family's fundraising link. Shop their merchandise and then become a hero to us and orphans everywhere. We receive 40% of each purchase so not only are you blessing us you are also blessing the many different facets Ordinary Hero supports.

But unlike our Just Love Coffee fundraiser we won't see who bought what, so please let us know what you buy so that we are able to thank you.

We are so grateful for all of your love and support! And even if you Ordinary Hero gear isn't your style, please feel free to spread the word of our fundraiser!

And to learn more about Ordinary Hero click here

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lots of Thoughts

A deep sigh of relief emanates from my soul as the weekend is here! It's barely 7 o'clock, Gabe is a sleep and I have just enough energy to put my thoughts on paper, err the Internet.

This weekend will bring peace from updates about Ethiopian adoptions. And while I'm thankful for each update, I dread reading them and the anxiety is overpowering sometimes before I click on them. I'm going to relish my empty inbox this weekend.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for all your love, support and prayers this week. And if you haven't signed the petition... what are you waiting for?

And despite the news in Ethiopia we are plugging away at our adoption paperwork. Matt and I both had our individual interviews and our last and final interview and home inspection is scheduled for March 19. And while we wait we're getting together as much dossier paperwork we can so that, despite these current setbacks, we're still ready to roll!

Also on the adoption front we're trying to get a few fundraisers rolling. One should be up and ready in the next couple of days while the other ones are a work in progress.

Help Me Grow came this week for Gabe's 6 month update! All three ladies that came (HMG representative, Gabe's play therapist and a BCMH representative) couldn't believe how well he's doing. Donna (play therapist) sees Gabe monthly but the other two were so impressed by our little man. Sometimes I get so caught up in what we need to work on rather than how well he's actually doing but this week, after this visit I found myself being much more thankful for all the little miracles Gabe achieves daily. Tammy, (BCMH representative) who hadn't seen Gabe in 8 months and had just been with another child who has schizencephaly, kept marveling at how remarkable Gabe's progress has been. Definitely warmed this mama's heart!

My Bead for Life party is tomorrow! I'm super excited and hope to have an even better turnout this year. It's pretty spectacular to think that have a fun get together with friends (old and new) can help eradicate poverty a world away.

Tomorrow I also get to meet my friend Erica. I'm using the term friend a bit loosely as we have yet to meet but seeing as she and her family are also adopting from Ethiopia (they're a few steps ahead of us!) it will be nice to be with someone who really 'gets' what the recent news means to us.

And now I'm going to join Gabriel in the peace that only sleep can bring!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pray, Act and Fear

This is a long one! Please read it though.

Tonight as Gabe was sleeping in his father's arms I knew the only place I would feel comfort was in my father's arms as well. So while they laid in the recliner I sat on the couch and prayed.

By now many of you have heard that Ethiopia is changing their inter-country adoption regulations. The Joint Council released a statment late yesterday in regards to it.

Statement on the Pending Reduction of Intercountry Adoption in Ethiopia (copy and pasted from my email)

Last week the Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs announced their intention to reduce intercountry adoptions by 90% beginning March 10, 2011. The Ministry’s plan for a dramatic reduction is apparently based on two primary issues; 1) the assumption that corruption in intercountry adoption is systemic and rampant and 2) the Ministry’s resources should be focused on the children for whom intercountry adoption is not an option. Without further announcements by the Government of Ethiopia, it is our understanding that the Ministry’s plan will be initiated this week.

The Ministry’s plan is a tragic, unnecessary and disproportionate reaction to concerns of isolated abuses in the adoption process and fails to reflect the overwhelmingly positive, ethical and legal services provided to children and families through intercountry adoption. Rather than eliminate the right of Ethiopian children to a permanent family, we encourage the Ministry to accept the partnerships offered by governments, NGOs, and foundations. Such partnerships could increase the Ministry’s capacity to regulate service providers and further ensure ethical adoptions.

The Ministry’s plan, which calls for the processing of only five adoption cases per work day, will result not only in systemic and lasting damage to a large sector of social services, but will have an immediate impact on the lives and futures of children. Moving from over 4,000 adoptions per year to less than 500 will result in thousands of children languishing in under-regulated and poorly resourced institutions for years. For those children who are currently institutionalized and legally available for adoption, the Ministry’s plan will increase their time languishing in institutions for up to 7-years.

Joint Council respectfully urges the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs to reconsider their plan and to partner with governments, NGOs and foundations to achieve their goals and avoid the coming tragedy for children and families.

There are many things you can do. The JCICS released today a Call to Action (again I copied and pasted from their post)

March 8, 2011

Joint Council: Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian Children

What You Can Do:

1) Sign the petition to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi – and pass it on!

2) Have you adopted from Ethiopia? Please send us up to 3 photos and 50 words or less with what you would like the Ministry to know about your child – we’ll compile the information and send a book to the Ministry of Woman’s Affairs. Send your photos and stories to by Sunday, March 12, 2011 to be included. Please note that sending photos and stories gives Joint Council unrestricted right to use the information you provide.

3) Share…Please send this Call to Action to family members, other adoptive parents, and everyone you know! Post, forward and share your adoption stories via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Make sure you include us in your posts so we can all hear your stories! Here’s links to our pages: Facebook, Twitter and our our blog.

4) Stay informed: Get up-to-date information regarding the situation in Ethiopia by signing up to receive information from us: click here to do so, make sure you choose “country and issues specific information” and “Ethiopia.” And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our our blog.

5) Help ensure our advocacy can continue: Joint Council is a non-profit and receives no government funding. Please join us in ensuring more children live in safe, permanent and loving families. Donate today!


And if you made it this far, you deserve a reward!

While my last post was about rejoicing in the Lord always, I'm finding my rejoicing tained with fear today. Fear that our child will be waiting longer for us than already necessary, fear for the little hearts in Ethiopia that have yet to know the love of a family, fear that we will have to change our adoption plans and see where else the Lord is leading us and fear that maybe we heard the Lord wrong. Was it our sinful, human nature that led us to Ethiopia and did we not hear God correctly? I truly feel that this is where God has led us, so while I'm afraid I know that I have nothing to fear.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Monday, March 7, 2011


Rejoice in the Lord Always. I will say it again, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4

Today I woke up rejoicing; Gabe had gone 9 hours without Tylenol or Motrin and woke up fever free! The healing properties of little children's bodies are amazing! I'm fairly certain had I been fighting a raging fever all weekend I would not have woken up neither as happy nor spunky as Gabe did.

So I rejoiced through breakfast and working out but just before Gabe's Help Me Grow appointment (more on that later) I decided to check my email. Ack!! I should NOT have checked my email right before I had to be able to think straight to update Gabe's therapy plan.

Like so many of my friends in this adoption world, we are reeling just a bit (me more than Matt, he's always such a rock for me) about the announcement that Ethiopia may be cutting back their adoptions by 90% starting March 10. While right now this is all speculation, conjecture and rumor (according to my agency and a few other adoption outlets I've checked); I can't even begin to fathom the ramifications this holds. For us, other adoptive families and even more so the children that need homes.

And while organizations like UNICEF (whom I will never support again! ever!!) would like you to believe that it is better for children to stay in their home country, be sponsored by someone far away and grow up in an orphanage that just can't be the truth. Children need families; they need a mothers love, a fathers guidance and a grandparents over indulgence.

I agree that adoption and corruption do not mix. I just don't think that the solution is stopping children from going to their forever home is the solution.

But when Paul wrote Philippians he didn't say "rejoice in the Lord when you feel like it" or "rejoice in the Lord when things are good." Instead, Paul said "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice."

So even though the road ahead is unsure, our path even more unknown than it was a week ago we will still rejoice. We will rejoice in the fact that our God is sovereign, all-knowing and just. While we may not know when our little boy is coming home (yes, I'm convinced our baby will be a boy) God knows. Though I long to look into the deep brown eyes of the one I already love, I know God knows the number of eyelashes surrounding those little eyes.

With that, we will heed Philippians 4:4 and "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice."

I just might need a reminder now and then to maintain my perspective.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


No 104 is not the number of days until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premier (that's actually 130 in case you were wondering), but the temperature that Gabe suddenly spiked Friday morning.

When I put the thermometer under his arm (we have since bought a temporal thermometer after the displeasure Gabe shows when the thermometer is under his arm) the numbers skipped right to 100. And I almost fell off my chair. Well, had I been sitting in a chair I may have fallen off of it.

A very long call to the pediatric nurse on call told me that because Gabe wasn't showing any other symptoms that we should do a regime of Tylenol and Motrin, alternating them every three hours. And his temperature went down a bit and continued to hang around 100 - 101.

Que late Friday night (or really early Saturday morning) when the dosage times were a little farther a part and Gabe's temp skyrocketed back to 103. The Tylenol and Motrin brought it back down but like Friday, Gabe was a clingy, crabby, tired 'ole hot mess for most of Saturday.

Except for the few moments when he found his smile, climbed on the ground and played for a few minutes. How my heart rejoiced when he would smile.

Saturday night was identical to Friday night except for one caveat. When Gabe awoke feverish he decided that it was time to get up and play. So from about 3:00 - 5:00, Gabe and I cuddled on the couch. He played with a few toys and laughed, poked and patted me whenever I'd close my eyes.

Today, Gabe's fever has hung around 99.5 - 100. We're hoping (and praying) that this means Gabe's little body is on the mend.

***Updated, I just took Gabe's temperature (while he naps!) and it was 98.9! Close enough to normal for me :)***

I'm not sure I can tell you how quickly my heart fell into my stomach feet when I read the thermometer that first time. Instinctively my mind went directly on seizure watch. Matt and I have not let Gabe out of our sight as we watch him to make sure that 1.) he's okay and 2.) that we don't miss a seizure. And it hasn't been to hard to keep him with us as he's feeling wimpy and prefers to be held, cuddled and just plain old being close to us.

Will there ever be a time when Gabe gets a fever and I don't go crazy watching for a seizure? And by crazy I mean, the second Gabe moves in bed, pick him and check him out. Yes, Gabe finally began spending the majority of his sleep time in his bed and then a fever hits.

Here's to hoping Gabe feels better soon! And goes back to sleeping in his bed!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I adore the way Sam (our nephew) says sandwich. When I pick him up from preschool and ask what he wants for lunch he says one of two things: hamburger with only pickles and catsup and chicken nuggets or a peanut butter and jelly swamich. I giggle to myself every time I hear him say swamich! It's so cute, so little boyish and I fear the day when he actually says the word sandwhich. But he will say sandwich one day as he continues to turn into this amazing little boy that Gabe just adores.

But this post isn't about Sam, it's about swamiches!

So, if it hasn't been made obvious before, I'm pretty neurotic about quite a few things. Some of the things I can't control, so I'm learning to let those go. Some other things I can control and I thrive on them. But then there are the things that I think I can control but really can't. One of the things I think I can control is what goes in Gabe's little tummy. And while he's had cake and ice cream, brownie batter (Matt!) and chips (again, Matt!), we try really hard to ensure he has a well balanced and nutritional diet.

But it s hard to get a toddler to eat what is healthy for them! Luckily Gabe is a really good eater and generally eats what we give him. If I believed in knocking on wood, this would be one of those times I'd knock on our floors. But I don't, so I won't!

And now I digress. Recently Gabe has been wanting new and different things at meal times. And I mean who really wants to eat a banana and waffle/oatmeal for breakfast, steamed veggies, meat/pasta and fruit for lunch, and steamed veggies, meat/pasta and fruit for dinner. I'll be the first to admit it was getting a little redundant.

So I knew we needed to switch it up! But where to start? I wanted it to be good for him, help with a balanced diet and provide him with a good flavor he would enjoy.

Enter swamiches. Trying to avoid allergy/health reactions we're staying away from peanut butter until Gabe's two. So in comes Sunbutter. It is yummy! It's chock full of protein, vitamins and has a smooth flavor. And Gabe loves it!

So while it's not your typical PB & J (it's more of a SB & J), Gabe likes it. And it's good for him, so we like it!

Presenting Gabe's 1st swamich made on whole grain bread (I'd prefer Ezekiel bread but we were out) with sunbutter and strawberry jam!

I think he had a little sunbutter stuck on the roof of his mouth

Sweet lunch success!

Friday, March 4, 2011

UPS came by

And dropped off my shipment of Bead for Life products for the Bead for Life party I have planned for March 12.

Do you know about Bead for Life? You don't? Well, I didn't until I won 2 bangle bracelets that I blogged about here. Shortly after that post I decided to do something to help Bead for Life and host my own party. I hosted it last March. A few months ago I decided to host another party and now I'm thinking that it will be an annual March event. Can I call something that I put on in my own home an event? Well, I'm going too because anytime I'm surrounded by food, friends and merchandise that makes a difference, I think it should be called an event!

Bead for Life is an organization that helps women in Uganda work their way out of poverty by making these beautiful beads and turning them into jewelry. Click here to read more about Bead for Life.

And not only do they have beautiful beaded jewelry (really inexpensive at $5.00 a bangle bracelet) they now carry Shea butter lip gloss and Shea butter soap. I've used them both and like them both! Actually I love the lip gloss and like the soap but still prefer my own homemade bar soap.

So if you live in our area feel free to stop on by on Saturday March 12 (starting at 1:00) and browse the jewelry and leave knowing you're making the difference in the lives of women, mothers and their families, people just like us that are living with so much less than we are.

And now a peak at the stuff!
Shea Butter Lip Gloss and Jewelry Bags
3-strand and banded bracelets

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Today is Dr. Suess' birthday. And besides writing some pretty fabulous children's book, Ted Geisel also unleashed a few remarkable quotes on the world. The insightfulness behind his statements conveys to me a legacy of wisdom that is rare these days.

One of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes is “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” And this quote comes to mind many times when people ask questions about adoption. Or our adoptions in particular.
Why adoption?
Why international adoption?
Why Ethiopia?
How can you afford adoption?
Isn't one adoption enough?
How did you choose boy or girl, baby or waiting child?

And then there are even deeper questions that people have asked;

Why are you adopting a different race? (and this question is usually phrased differently)
Why aren't you adopting from the United States?
How is Gabe going to feel with a sibling? A black sibling?
What will people think about your family?

And the questions go on and on. Most of the questions are well-meaning, coming from people that love and care for us. And most of the time I take the time to answer the questions in well thought out and patient manner.

But really, the answer to all the questions could be the same answer. No matter how you ask it or how you phrase it, the core root of each question has the same answer.
And the answer is God.

Matt and I wanted a family but also wanted to follow God's will. And for us, that was adoption. Gabriel's adoption is an open, domestic adoption; not because we chose it but because that's how God arranged it. We didn't choose Ethiopia, a boy or a girl or an age for our next child. God opened doors for us, closed doors for us and led us to place He wanted us to be.

From a person who thrives on control and evaluates and re-evaluates every option, I've had no qualms about going where God is leading us in this adoption. Each seeming mis-step leads to exactly where we're supposed to be.

While each question about adoption is multi-faceted and could have a million word answer, each question really has one answer, the same answer, the easiest answer: God.

And while the questions are complex and the answer seemingly easy, the path to get where we're going will be challenging. Challenging but oh so worth it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Madness

It's March Madness and I'm not talking about basketball!

Just Love Coffee is offering a March Madness Incentive for our fundraising families. And if we're able to reach our incentive goal, we'll be sharing all but one bag of the incentive with the people who have supported our Just Love Coffee fundraiser!.

So here's the deal. If we earn $75 or more in proceeds we'll recieve 4 13oz bags of coffee, a Just Love Coffee mug and a bumpersticker. Because we're not coffee drinkers (which is only slightly ironic because we're doing the Just Love Coffe Fundraiser) we're going to share those 4 bags (well, only 3 of them actually - 1 bag will be combined with the next bagel bunch or donuts Gabe takes to therapy), the mug and the bumpersticker with the people that participate in the March Madness fundraiser!

So whether you buy 1, 2 or 5 bags of coffee, a tote bag or a t-shirt, you will then be entered to win a little more! Sound like fun? Winning something and helping raise the ransom to bring a child home sounds like fun to me!

Thanks for all of your support, then and now! We are ever so grateful!