Thursday, December 30, 2010

one day at a time

again - it has been forever since I have posted - about a month ago I was pretty sure that the next post would be about our referral. no such luck. we are still waiting at number 2. and it stinks. no matter how hard I try each day to forget about the phone ringing, or not wonder if today will be the day - I still do. a million times a day. our 10 month waiting list "anniversary" has passed, and still nothing. when we signed with AGCI, we were given a time frame of 8-10 months for a referral. So in my mind, I knew that we would get one before christmas. I think that is why it is so incredibly hard. I never stopped to think that it might go over ten months. that was my fault - I should know by now that nothing in this adoption journey goes as planned. There are very concrete reasons why we have not received a referral yet (embassy dates for traveling families have been postponed - thus there is literally no room at the inn:). I can remind myself of this fact one hundred times an hour - but it still does not help. This momma's heart is breaking over her little one. Trusting in Him - that is the only thing that is keeping me from going completely insane. It is so hard to watch other families get referrals, and travel, etc......and to still be waiting. THis does not mean that I am not overflowing with excitement for all the families that are bringing their little ones into their homes, but my very human mind often wants to wander into the world of "it's not fair, why not us, etc". This journey has stretched me more than anything else in my life. It is not about me. At all. and oh how I hate the little devil that sits on my shoulder day in and day out, whispering selfish little thoughts. one day at a time. even though the hours seem to drag, and the phone never rings. one day at a time.

This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames
And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here
And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be empited again
The seed I've recieved I will sow

Thursday, December 16, 2010

His perfect peace

oh my sweet friends - thank you all so much for the prayers that were lifted up for us this week.  Tuesday and wednesday were such bad days, full of anxiety and impatience.  But He makes each day new - and even up with Jadon at 4:30 - I could tell that today was going to be a blessed day.  I love waking up early and going downstairs to a quiet house.  I started a fire, brewed a cup of tea, and read a book.  For 90 minutes.  Just me.  No noise, no distractions, no whining, no fighting - you get the picture.  I prayed - for His peace to come over me today, that I would not be anxious but that I would enjoy just today.  And not worry about tomorrow.  or the next day.  or Christmas without a referral.  And today is such a good day.  I feel at peace.  Finally.  This is not to say that tomorrow will not be a bad day - because odds are it will be.  But today is full of blessings.  Hanging out with close friends (Emily and Gini - I am amazed that you put up with me:), eating cookies (my favorite food), cuddling with my kiddos before school, a rheumatologist appointment for me that did not require any more blood to be taken ( yeah me!), a daughter sleeping in her bed.  Thank you for this peaceful day

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

keeping it real

okay, so this is not just a blog about our adoption, or about our family - it is also about our lives together,  the good and the bad.  I want our daughter to be able to read these entries in the years to come and tangibly know how much we loved her before we knew her, how we longed for her before we saw her face.  This blog is also a way for me to write down my feelings, kind of my own personal journal that I am letting you all read:).  So, here it goes (this is not going to be a normal light-hearted post - just warning you)
I have had a couple of really tough days.  Incredibly tough.  for a multitude of reasons (most of which I am not going to list here:).  My heart aches.  Physically aches.  It is often hard to breathe.  And it is so hard to explain.  so this next part is going to be jumbled.  We were put on the waitlist the end of February - and were told 8-10 months.  So my mind did the math, and Christmas is the end of ten months.  So I began to tell myself - if nothing else we would see her picture by Christmas.  This thought has kept me going for 10 months.  10 MONTHS!!  if I was pregnant I would be so overdue!  now, the time frame that is given in inconsequential - they could have said 20 months, and when the 20 months were almost over - I would be going crazy too.  It is just the way my mind works.  My hormonal, like to be in control mind.  So, everyday starts like is a new day, full of referral possibilities.  As the hours tick by, I am acutely aware of exactly what time it is, and what time it is in OR, where are agency is, and how many hours they will still be there.  Just in case.  And then 6pm hits, and that is pretty much the end - no more calls.  and all day long I tell myself that it is okay, I do crazy things Martha Stewart like to keep my mind and hands occupied - but it does matter.  to me.  and then the night is hard.  but tomorrow is a new day....ready for me to wait again:).  And I know all the right things to say to myself - God has picked our daughter for us and His timing is perfect....I could go on and on.  And I pray - I have prayed for peace and patience more in the last month than ever before.  And I listen to worship music - but Hillsong just makes me cry even harder:).  And if you have never gone through it - I am crazy to you.  To ache for a little girl half way around the world that I have never seen and have no biological ties to....crazy.  But that is me.  Eric has been so very patient and understanding with me, but he also has had no idea.  When we were pregnant with our first child,  I know that he did not feel connected to Noah until he held him for the first time.  So I expected with Jadon and Hannah it would be the same way - and it was.  And so it is with this.  I think that he is done waiting because he is done with putting up with me!:)  Anyways, last night I was up (cannot sleep any more) and praying (I pray a lot in the middle of the night - if you ever need prayer - I'm your girl!) and I was trying to come up with something that would explain to Eric how I was feeling.  and then this morning it hit me.  and hit him, once I told him.  So, for all you adopting mommas our there - I know that you know the ache that I am talking about.  But for the rest of you - here goes.......Pretend that one of your kiddos disappears (why is not important).  you do a ton of paperwork, and finally are told that in 8-10 months, you will see a picture of their face and find out how they are.  during this time, you have no idea what is happening to them.  are they hungry? cold? lonely? do they have someone to hold them when they cry?  Are they told that they are precious and loved?  You are a mess.  There is nothing you can do.  8 months go by, and nothing.  9 months, nothing.  you are nearing the end of 10 months, and still nothing.  each day brings hope for the call, and then despair without it.  each night brings tears, longing to see their face again and know that they are okay, that they are safe and loved.  I know that it is a stretch, because she is not ours yet, but this momma's heart longs and aches for her daughter like I did not know it could.
Precious little one - you momma loves you more than you will ever know.  You were born in my heart one year ago.  You are so incredibly wanted, prayed for and loved.  I cannot imagine my life without you already.  Hold on - we are so close.....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

trying to patiently wait - but not doing a very good job:)

well, dear readers, as many of you know we are unofficially number 3.  Which is really really good.  really really close.  And my mind is playing games on me.  we moved 6 numbers in one week, so three is a couple weeks really should not be too much, right?  I cannot even imagine how Gini feels (she is my best friend sitting in the number one spot - every time I call her I have to apologize that it is just me and not our agency:).  Anyways, I know that once we get a referral it is going to be so incredibly hard to not have her in my arms, but right now my heart just aches - we are so close and this momma knows that something is probably happening or will happen soon in her life - and while I want her so much it physically hurts, I cannot imagine what her family is going through.  To wake up every day and wonder if today is the day often seems so very selfish to me - because my great gain of a daughter is another momma's loss.  and then mix in with that the anticipation of actually getting the call, and the excitement of being so close - I am going crazy!!!  So, if you see me in the next weeks, and wonder why I look like that crazy person I feel like:) this is why.  I am an overdue, tired of waiting, anxious to be done waiting, grieving for my daughter and her family, hormonal MESS!!!  thanks for putting up with me!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hannah's lollipops!

I know - do not fall over, I am posting again.  No, a month has not gone by:) - I just knew that if I did not do this now - it would not get done!  I cannot believe that my baby is turning three tomorrow!  Happy Almost Birthday, Hannah!  So, as many of you know, my Hannah is a picky eater.  As the third child, I am surprisingly okay with this - she is healthy, growing, etc.  But this makes it very difficult on her birthday, because she does not usually eat cake, cookies, etc.  (I know - definitely not my child:)!.  Anyways, I have been asking her what I can make for her birthday, and she keeps saying that all she wants is lollipops.  I admit it, I did think about plopping a big bag of dum-dums in front of her tomorrow and not make a cake, but I just could not do it, even if she does not eat any of it.  But, I decided to be Martha Stewart again today (Yes, dear friends, I went to hobby lobby again:), and I made cake lollipops.  Here is what I did (don't I have the cutest assistant?!)

Ingredients : one box cake mix
                     one container frosting
                     melting wafers
                     lollipop sticks
                     styrofoam block
                     decorations (I used sprinkles and candles)
Directions:  Make and bake the cake according to directions on the box.  Cool.
                    Break cake into small pieces, put in mixer, crumble into tiny  pieces.
Add frosting, continue to mix until dough becomes sticky

Scoop out dough and form into balls, place on silpat or wax paper and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
Melt a small amount of the wafers (in microwave for 30 second increments).  Dip the end of a lollipop stick in the melted chocolate and stick into the cake ball.

Refrigerate for several hours, allowing the chocolate and cake balls to harden (the cake will still be mushy).
Melt the wafers (again, in 30 second increments).  Dip each ball into the chocolate, tap off the excess, and place in the styrofoam block.  Store in refrigerator and enjoy!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

november update

again - it has been forever:).  I just get so busy catching up on all the other blogs that I follow that I forget to post here!  (thanks em for reminding me.).  So, our official November number is 7, although we know that we are unofficially number 4!!!  oh, it could be next week or next month.  Right this moment I am listening to Hillsong Saviour King, and they are singing "I'll wait on you - your name is higher than all created things - I will seek your face, call upon your name - all I want is you".  I constantly need that reminder every second as I yearn to see my little one's face.  I wonder if she is born.  Is she hungry?  Is she loved?  Is she cold?  The closer we get to our referral, the harder it is becoming.  There is no way that I can explain it, even to Eric.  It is like there is a piece of my heart crying out for something that is just beyond its grasp.  I wake up in the middle of the night (a lot) and pray for her - for her health, her safety, her family and the incredibly agonizing decision that they are making.  As excited as I am about seeing her face, at the same time my heart is broken for her family, the ones who love her first.  My heart is broken for the loss that my little one may be going through right now.  On the side of the road, in an orphanage, with sounds and smells that are not familiar, without hearing her momma's heart beat, without the knowledge that all is well.  I simply want to be with her, for her to feel her mother's love, to wipe away her tears.  Oh my little one - we are so close and we love you so much.  You are so incredibly wanted and loved already.

PS - on a lighter note:) - if you read this could you just leave a quick note?  just wondering.....

Friday, October 22, 2010

answering some questions

So, we have had many friends and family supporting us during our adoption journey.  And, as we do:), they have tons of questions about the process.  And I have not done a very good job of explaining things.  So I am going to try.  Let me start by saying that I love love love it when any of you ask what number we are, or ask us how our adoption is going.  It makes it feel real, like it is really going to happen one of these days.  Because after the paperwork and everything is done, the waiting is so so hard.  So, here is what we are going to go through.
Right now we are unofficially number 9 on the waitlist.  We have a "underground":) group that keeps a list of referrals, etc, and instead of waiting until the first of each month to hear our official number from our agency, we keep a list to kind of know where we are.  As we get closer, we "know" the people in front of us and their parameters, and they have become a family to us.  We cry with them when they are waiting and rejoice with them when they receive their bundle of joy.  Adoption is like nothing else, and those who have chosen this path with us know a part of our hearts in a way no one else can.
Okay, I digress.  So, we are really waiting for THE CALL.  The day, the minute when our caseworker calls and says - "I have a little girl to talk to you about".  That is the sentence that we have been waiting for for almost a year.  And then we receive all the paperwork that our agency has on our daughter, and pictures.  Did I really write that?  Our daughter.  And then we have more paperwork to do, and we have to contact an international pediatrician for a consult.  And we write a transition plan for our agency.  And then we turn in all our paperwork and officially accept our referral.  And then we wait again.  But we wait with a picture, and a name, and with our daughter in our hearts.  Our agency sends our paperwork in to the Ethiopian courts and a file is opened.  And then we are granted a court date.  We will travel to Ethiopia on a weekend and meet our daughter, and then during the following week we will go to court and stand before a judge and answer questions about adopting our daughter.  And then, Lord willing, the judge will say "She is yours":).  And then we come home.  Without her.  And we wait again, this time for the US embassy in Ethiopia to give us a visa appointment date.  And then we travel again.  And this time, on a Sunday, our daughter will be placed in our arms and never taken out again.  I write this with tears streaming down my face.  Because one day, in the coming months, it is going to happen!!!  And yes, there is a lot of waiting.  And it is not fair, with the 163 million orphans in the world.  But this is how long it takes.  And in the end, she is going to be in my arms.  And I may not ever put her down:).
Okay, one more thing while I am writing:).  For those of you in the adoption community - you already know this.  But for the rest of you who put up with my ramblings, this is new.  We are not going to be able to share a picture of our daughter on line until she is home.  It is for her protection, and for ours.  Some agencies allow you to post pictures after you pass court, but ours has asked us to wait until we are home.  So, if I see you in person - please ask to see her picture (if I have not already shoved it in your face:).  And as soon as we can, we will share her with the world!!!!  Again, thank you all for your prayers, support and love that you have given us through our journey....we cannot wait to the next step!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Pics

So, I decided to take a "few" pictures of my monkeys today.  Eric came home from work early to help me out - I am a little camera challenged:).  Love my monkeys, but Good grief!!  Getting them to all look at the camera at the same time is impossible!!!  We cannot wait to have a fourth little face in the pictures - we are waiting for you!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October number!

I love the fall!  I love love love cool weather, with crisp mornings, the smell of leaves, the colors (one perk of living in NY:), apple cider, caramel apples, pumpkins, soup on cold days, fires in our fireplace, the list could go on and on!  And I love getting new numbers at the beginning of every month!  Last month, we were #20.  This month's number is 15!!!  We are 5 steps closer to our little girl!!!  Maybe only three more months until our call!!  Oh, I try not to get too excited, but some days I cannot help it!!!  We are coming little one!!!  We cannot wait to hold you, love on you, and have you here at home!  This momma is ready!

Monday, September 20, 2010

catching you all up!

Okay, let's be honest - it really has been forever (or at least two months).  I knew that when I started this blog that I would have this problem - thinking of things to blog about.  Now, if you know me at all, you know that I can always think of something to say:).  but writing has always been hard for me.  Anyways - I have obviously had a bit of a writing "drought" lately, which I am trying to overcome.
The last two months have been full of joy, heartache, travel, waiting, pain, and love.  I love the summer time - now that the boys are in school it is the only time that we can travel without feeling guilty about them missing school.  So down to Virginia and over to Michigan we went.  So much fun to spend time with the grandparents and just not have to think about grown-up stuff:).  I love watching my children spend time with their cousins, or reading with Grandma.  I love sleeping in late (yes, eight is quite late for me nowadays) and not having a schedule (definitely the Zoloft talking - I used to love my schedules!).  I love to grill out every night.  We joined our local beach this year - and every day that we were home we spend building sand castles and splashing in the water.  Both of the boys learned how to swim this summer!  and hannah is getting a little more used to having water splashed in her face.  but one of the things that I hate about the beach - is the sand.  Go figure, right?  The day that we were done with the beach I spent hours vacuuming out my van - and yet every time I get in it, their is a little reminder of my summer:).
At the end of the summer (just 10 days before school started and two days before our last trip to virginia), we had to make a tough decision about where to send Noah to school.  Now, I like being in my boat.  My safe, planned out, organized, planned boat.  I am a toe dipper - it takes me hours to get into a body of water if it is not 90 degrees.  and walking on water?  no thank you.  But our God had other plans for this momma - He has such a sense of humor with me.  So, after much crying, pleading, bargaining, etc.  We pulled Noah out of the Christian school that he had been going to and he is now going to Vail Farm Elementary School.  and I am praying constantly.  So, for those of you how live close to me, if you are talking to me and I am not paying attention, it is because I am praying.  all the time.  Which - in hind sight, could be a very real reason for the change.  Another incredible thing that has come out of this is that after four years of living in NY, my kids are actually playing with our neighbors kids!!!  And I have new friends that are so close!  So, while my prayers were not answered how I would have wanted them to be - He is faithful.
Okay, this is getting long, so I will try to condense and close:).  Hannah is doing so well - her uveitis was completely healed and we were able to put off started her on chemo for a little while.  She loves being the only one at home, but no worries - she is the first one out the door when the bus pulls up.  My boys, my boys - as she goes flying down the driveway:)  Oh, I love it!
On the adoption front, it has been a very slow long summer.  Courts have been closed in Ethiopia due to the rainy season, and referrals have been few and far between.  As far as we can tell from the unofficial list, we think that we are close to 17, which is soooo much better than 50!  We have our good days and our bad days, days when we are thankful for the time, and other days when my heart aches and is impatient to hold our daughter. My life verse is Isaiah 40:31, and that is definitely applicable right now!
Okay, it is after 8, and this momma is usually in bed by now:) (I know - I am crazy!)  Hopefully I will update before two more months go by......we'll see

Thursday, July 29, 2010

some yummy recipes!

So, for those of you who know me - you know that I love to cook.  Well, I used to love to cook, before children:).  I would do sushi, thai, indian, mexican - you name it, we ate it.  I loved to spend my days off cooking in the kitchen, singing loudly (when eric was not home:).  And then came the kiddos.  And the easy to prepare crockpot, meal sharing, 5 ingredient dinners.  Yep - it is usually boring around here at supper time:).  Every once in awhile I venture out and make indian or mexican, but our latest favorite is Ethiopian (I wonder why:)!.  We have been to Ethiopian restaurants, had our Ethiopian meals catered, and I have dabbled in trying to prepare it myself.  Two weeks ago I ordered a bunch of spices, lentils, etc. from and they came while I was in Virginia.  After a day of bad news about Hannah, hitting my head inside the refrigerator at Sam's (oh what a site I must have made:), and having three kids going through grandparent withdrawal (fun times here:), I decided to do something crazy and make a whole Ethiopian meal.  In the past I have only made injera and kik aletcha - both of which are relatively easy and the kik aletcha is very much like cooking indian dal, but with different spices.  Anyways - I am rambling and I know that many of you just want the recipes!  I was so impressed and I am afraid that if I ever try to make it again, it will never taste as good.  Honest to goodness - it was the best Ethiopian that Eric and I have ever eaten!!!  I made injera, doro wat (the "national" dish of ethiopia - it is like a chicken stew), and shiro (a fragrant "mush" made of ground lentils and spices.).  I used about three recipes for each of the dishes (kind of combined them:) and I will try to remember exactly what I put in them all:)!!  Here we go.....

3 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast; (one package)
3 1/2 cups warm water

In a large bowl, mix:Let set in large bowl, covered, 2-12 hours, until batter rises and becomes stretchy. When ready, stir batter if liquid has settled on bottom. Whip in blender, 2 cups of batter at a time, thinning it with 1/2 - 3/4 cup water. Batter will be quite thin. Cook in non-stick frypan WITHOUT OIL over medium or medium-high heat. Use 1/2 cup batter per injera for a 12-inch pan or 1/3 cup batter for a 10-inch pan. Pour batter in heated pan and quickly swirl pan to spread batter as thin as possible.Batter should be no thicker than 1/8-inch. Do not turn over. Injera does not easily stick or burn. It is cooked through when bubbles appear all over the top.Finished injera will be thicker than a crepe, but thinner than a pancake. Lay each injera on a clean towel for a minute or two, then stack in covered dish to keep warm.

one large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-3 teaspoons berbere (I used three and it was way too spicy for me, but eric loved it!)
2-3 cups water
1/2 - 1 1/2 cups shiro
salt to taste
In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil until soft, about 5 minutes.  Turn heat off, place in blender and puree.  Return to pan and add berbere and a little water (so it does not stick).  Stir to combine, cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add 2 cups water.  Begin to add 1/2 cup shiro powder, a little at a time so that it does not clump.  The consistency of our shiro was a little thinner than hummus and oh so yummy!  I ended up adding another cup of water and another 1/2 cup of shiro (because it was too spicy and I needed to tone it down a little).  Enjoy!

Doro Wat
2-3 pounds of chicken pieces (I used thighs and legs)
2    large onions finely chopped

1    cup of vegetable oil 
3    cloves garlic, minced
1    teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/4  cup berbere (more if you like it spicier!)

1    teaspoon

1    teaspoon wot kimen
1    teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 -1    cup of water

In a large pot, combine onion, garlic and ginger with oil till lightly brown and soft. Remove from heat, puree slightly in blender.  Return to pot, add berbere.  Continue to simmer for about 15-20 minutes at low heat stirring occasionally, adding a touch of water as needed to avoid sticking. Add chicken and simmer until chicken is fully cooked.  Add salt, Koreria, Wot kimem and water (as needed).  Serve hot with injera.

Let me know if you have any questions - I hope that you enjoy!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

a phenomenal cause and giveaway!!!

embracing the least of these is having a sequel to their first big giveaway - and this time it is to benefit the children of Ethiopia that are called "Korah", or cursed.  Over 100,000 people have been shunned by their families and communities, and many are literally living in a dump, attempting to find metal, plastic, etc. to sell in order to feed their families.  Please visit their site and see how to help!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

some fun pictures of our summer

Here are a few pictures from our summer. The log pile - eric and I spent 8 hours one saturday splitting wood. Hopefully it will take us through part of the winter. Kim - the pictures of Hannah in her dress are for you - that is my attempt of a fancy bandana dress.
The rest of the pictures are of my three little monkeys, clowning around in front of the camera. You see, I was taking the pictures and Eric was behind me (I have no idea what he was doing, but you can tell from the kids faces that they thought that he was hilarious!!)