Sunday, January 31, 2010

Adopting Haitian Children

There's been a lot of discussion and controversy surrounding what to do with Haitian children who might be orphaned. Some people are advocating we simply bring them over here now, put them in foster care and find them American families. Not a good idea. Yes, there are some children who were already matched with American families prior to the devastating earthquake. Many of these families had been in the process for multiple years and just waiting to pass court, etc. In these instances, it was already determined that these children indeed needed families or would otherwise spend their life in the orphanage. I was happy to see Congress granted them Humanitarian Visas so they could come home to their families in the U.S. As for other Haitian children. Many of them may have extended family that could care for them. We don't know. But the minute we stop caring enough to determine whether they have a family, the minute we have opened the door wide-open to unethical adoptions and child trafficking. What do we do now? We put our resources into caring for these children in Haiti. I think this blog does a great job summarizing the issues and what we can do to help:

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Waiting Game

I get wait times are only projections. I realize we are still waiting because it's all part of a bigger plan that leads us to our daughter. I get it. But that doesn't mean I don't have my "moments" that result in my sudden need to "touch bases" with my agency just to "talk" about the wait. So today's moment resulted in a call to the Program Director since I hadn't spoken to her on the phone in a couple months. We have heard the majority of waiting families with our agency have requested an infant girl. There have not been any referrals of infant girls in quite a while so there's been very little movement on the waitlist (there has been for boys though which is wonderful for those families matched). I remember when we first spoke to our agency in November, there were young toddlers waiting for families. I've been thinking recently...what if there is a child 13 or 14 months old waiting to be matched because everyone has requested an infant. Well, there isn't (which is good!). I did tell our agency that while our ideal age range is an infant, all along we've been in the mindset that our daughter could be 18 months or younger at the time we bring her home. So that means we are open to a child that might be slightly older than 12 months at the time of referral (since it's 4-6 months from the date of referral until you travel). It has always felt a bit odd to me to talk about preferences but it comes as a result of a lot of thought and discussion when considering what is best for our family. And the good thing is that these children coming into care right now will have families. So back to the wait. Apparently our agency is changing facilities for some of the kids in care in Addis. The staff in Ethiopia has been focused on taking care of all aspects related to that and have not had the resources to dedicate to paperwork and all that goes along with giving out referrals. So the hope is that they can now focus on it and some referrals for infant girls will be given out "within the next month." When I have days where I struggle with the waiting game, I keep telling myself what the wait would be like had we not changed agencies. And really, it's all about expectations. So I've changed mine. Again. Valentine's Day referral anyone? (okay, Valentine's Day is a Sunday but my friend had a vivid dream about it so maybe there's some good energy around that date).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Don't Grow Up So Fast

I find myself in a weird place....I am "waiting" for the call and am so excited for the day to come so I'm constantly looking ahead. But then I have days like today (and it's often) when I look at my boys and want time to stand still. They are growing up so fast and while I love each stage of them growing and developing, sometimes I really want them to stay just as they are. I love being able to cuddle and squeeze them tight and have them cuddle and squeeze right back. I think of friends with teenagers or older children who are pulling away from their parents. I know that's what is supposed to happen and independence can be positive too...I just can't stand the thought. I want them to stay innocent, and loving, and sweet, and full of energy, and trusting and uninhibited. I always tell them know matter how old they get, they have to let me love all over them. Spencer (age 4) laughs and says "Even when I'm thirty I'll still love you." Oh please don't grow up too fast...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haitian Orphans Come Home

So much sadness and heartbreak in Haiti right now. Some of us have heard the news that orphans who had already been matched with U.S. parents have been granted Humanitarian visas so that they can come home to their families. Thank God. Here's a video of them coming home. Grab a tissue...

Monday, January 18, 2010


I had heard this before and was just reminded of it on another blog: Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama ran so our children could fly.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Advice on Adopting by Melissa Fay Greene

Melissa Fay Greene, author of There is No Me Without You (a must read if you are adopting from Ethiopia, and even if you're not), posted some great information on her blog as a guide to adopting from Ethiopia. It includes questions to ask in your selection of an agency, which is probably the most important decision you will make. I especially like her words on finding the "right" child. Here is an excerpt from her blog:

HOW WILL I KNOW I’VE FOUND THE RIGHT CHILD? Well, you may not know this. You may not feel anything in particular, other than a soft stirring of curiosity. You may feel – upon seeing a photo or film – “now THAT is one cute kid.” Is he or she the “right” child for you, the one destined by heaven to be yours? Hard to say. You’d hate to wish that anyone’s “destiny” included becoming an orphan. The child’s history is tragic; the child’s luck is about to change in a big way, beginning with your appearance on the scene. You will, in adopting this boy or girl, make the child your own. Your own life will swerve to meet the child’s; the two of you will begin to develop in tandem, becoming different people than you would have been without each other. Like many adoptive parents, I chafe at the term “biological” to designate only my birth children. First because all children, of course, are the products of biology. Second because aren’t my children by adoption also mine biologically? We breathe each other’s air, prepare and share each other’s food, borrow each other’s combs and socks and pencils; Helen sometimes falls asleep on my bed twirling her fingers through my hair. Aren’t these somehow biological processes? Aren’t our cells intermixing? Haven’t the years of Berenstain Bears books I’ve inflicted on these children been immortalized as brain cells? In parenting your new child, you will make the child the right child for you. Even if the relationship doesn't feel perfect or magical or pre-destined for the first few weeks (or months), just pretend that all is unfolding according to plan, according to a higher intelligence than your own. The child will simultaneously create in you the right mother or the right father, the one who knows where to tickle, what to cook, which bedtime story to read, and which flavor ice cream flavor is the best, the ice cream flavor ordained by heaven to be the one you both happen to love.

Changing Lives

Heard of Kiva? If you haven't, it's an awesome organization that connects people like you and me to entrepreneurs around the world who just need a little help to provide for their family. The amazing thing is that the repayment rate is 98%. So it truly is a loan that will change lives.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Word About Patience

I have to work at being patient. Waiting this long to meet our daughter has taught me more about patience than anything else I've experienced. It's all about a bigger plan to finding our daughter. While we wait, I continue to find inspiration in words like these... Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength ~ Edward Bulwer-Lytton Patience to wait does not come from suffering long in what we lack, but from sitting long in what we have ~ Beth Moore Patience is the companion of wisdom ~ Saint Augustine Patience and fortitude conquer all things ~Ralph Waldo Emerson The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen ~ Ralph Marston Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience ~ Unknown Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius ~ George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon The years teach what the days never know ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Melkam Ganna!

Merry Christmas! Here's what Ganna in Ethiopia is all about.... Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in Africa. It still follows the ancient Julian calendar (13 months in a year), so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Christ's birth is called Ganna. It is a day when families attend church. The day before Ganna, people fast all day. The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white. Most Ethiopians don a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends. The shamma is worn somewhat like a toga. Urban Ethiopians might put on white Western garb. Then everyone goes to the early mass at four o'clock in the morning. In a celebration that takes place several days later, the priests will dress in turbans and red and white robes as they carry beautifully embroidered fringed umbrellas. Around the time of Ganna, the men and boys play a game that is also called ganna. It is somewhat like hockey, played with a curved stick and a round wooden ball. The foods enjoyed during the Christmas season include wat, a thick, spicy stew of meat, vegetables, and sometimes eggs as well. The wat is served from a beautifully decorated watertight basket onto a "plate" of injera, which is flat sourdough bread. Pieces of injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the wat. We're looking forward to celebrating Ganna on Sunday with these friends!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Is This the Week?

Last week, our Agency was experiencing difficulty communicating with the staff in Ethiopia due to electricity outages and phone lines being down (not uncommon). As a result, there was no news for those waiting to hear if they passed court and no children referred to families (if there were in fact any referrals last week). So with each passing week, our anxiousness increases (or should I say mine as Ryan is way more patient than me). We are near the top of the waitlist. That could mean we won't be matched for a few weeks, but it also could literally be any day. Adoptive parents typically say the wait from referral until you can bring your child home is the most difficult of the entire journey. I might feel that way too but for now, I can't imagine the wait being any harder. I just want to know who our daughter is!