Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saving Lives with Music...our little album is complete & released this Tues., 11/17

I still can't believe this is done and is already generating such interest from press and radio prior to release date.

A friend I work with takes the same train home as me. About six months ago, she approached me on the platform as I was reading The Blue Sweater.

It was one of those awkward moments when you tell someone outside of your inner-circle that you're adopting. Mainly because there is no time to slide it in conversation, so whatever time you choose will 9 out of 10 times, knock the listener for a loop.

When someone asks "How'd you find that book?", they don't expect to hear, "You see, we're adopting from Ethiopia and I needed a break from the child psychology books and wanted to learn more about Africa. This book came up in my B&N 'Africa' search."

That was the beginning of a wonderfully productive conversation that led to the creation of this album. We chatted until our train arrived and the entire way home, realizing how strongly we both felt about humanitarian aide. Our ideas were the same and we decided right then to do something.

We didn't know what, but we knew it would be through our job. We love our jobs but what are we doing? Music. It's a sexy job. It's not saving lives. And that's what we wanted it to do.

Rather than using our connections for great seats and backstage access, let's use them in a way that will impact many, many others in a positive light for years to come.

I've always been a fan of Malaria No More (thanks to the boys at FC Barcelona for bringing them on my radar!) and decided to reach out to them with our idea. They loved it, the artists loved it, and now press and radio are supporting it.

We secured exclusive tracks from Third Eye Blind and Peter Bjorn & John, who are all over the project. Stephan Jenkins has been beyond supportive and spreading the word. Other artists include, Juliette Lewis, The Walkmen, Youssou N'Dour and more.

And the best bit...100% of the proceeds go directly to Malaria No More. Neither Sony/RED nor the artists are keeping a dime!

p.s. On a personal note...the album artwork is a painting I did for Niko's nursery. It's a bit altered, but is an image of the journey from Africa to Jersey City/NYC.

To purchase the digital-only album, (available on 11/17)

Press release is below with all the details. Please repost and/or pass along.
Release date is this Tuesday, 11/17.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Unofficially #5

There were more squeals in the house this week as we read about a family who received their referral for a beautiful 7 week old son. Wow. Seven. Weeks. Old. Amazing!
When I read about a referral I continue to react as if it's the first referral I've EVER read. It's just this amazing thing that is very, very difficult to put into words.

I guess it would be like giving natural childbirth and instead of your chosen 'designated other' in the delivery room with you, you have all of us -the entire international adoption blogging community. That's a pretty poor explanation, but whatever. :)

So, because of the above mentioned referral, the Gittens' household has moved up, now holding the lovely number five position. Woohoo!

In other news, we've officially registered and sent the list to the moms. As I mentioned before, we were on the fence with this and in the end we opted in. Our family is all over the place, so I doubt we'll do a full-on shower but will plan an after-event; one that happens long after we're all settled in. For some reason I've always felt funny about registries. I have no idea why. I actually prefer when someone else registers because you know you're helping out and you're choosing exactly what they want/need. When the shoe is on the other foot with this though...hmmm.

In any event, things are a happening and we are READY!!!! (well, not really but we WILL be!)

Happy Saturday to all!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Wait, The Girls, The Gifts and The Gab

Four topics. Can you tell today is a scattered day?

I've read it's part of The Wait. My mind is all over the place. If there was a word holding a stronger meaning than stalker, it would apply to me. The only constant in my scatteredness is the FBI list. I'm now checking multiple times a day to see who is getting court dates, who is passing court and who is getting referrals. That of course segways straight to checking every blog to get updates on all the families. Oh boy.

My heart goes out to the families who have not passed, but I'm hopeful since new dates have been scheduled already. Sometimes when I read these families' posts, I realize how strong they are. It's all of us yet to reach their stage who sound so heartbroken in our comments to them. I think as you reach each stage in this process, you're becoming more and more prepared for your stage, knowing it will all come together. Your eyes are open to the fact there are bumps and nobody is immune to them.

I've mentioned the strong bond of the Gladney Girls (and I don't mean to disregard the men in this equation). It just happens that the majority of those writing are the women. We're all going through such a unique experience together. These are now bonds that will always exist (and all you men will meet each other on the inevitable playdates!).

Another thing during The Wait is you're never really sure what you should be doing. Reading? Decorating? Redecorating? Moving things? Buying things?

Today, I'll address buying things. My mother & sister sent us so much clothing, shoes, bibs, sheets and things along those lines that we decided we're fine. The crib will be in our possession in February. That does it then - we're absolutely fine! We'll just ask for books.

Bad move. You know why? We don't have ANYTHING!!! People kept telling us to register and apparently there is a reason. I've received sample lists from friends trying to gently guide us. Well, I can tell you that after looking at all these things, we are headed for a registry asap. Who knew all this stuff existed? And I'm not talking "stuff" for the sake of having "stuff". (I despise excess) Books are very important and we're not neglecting that thought, but there have been some major developments in the children's department that we will happily be partaking in.

In the meantime, I wait by reading about Ethiopia, Africa and adoption.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Crazies are Back

I believe when a dream hits a recurring stage (2x in my book) it's time to let it out and set it free. And you lucky readers are the recipients of my full-on crazies.

The dream: multiplying babies at various locations throughout my work day; all waiting for me to bring them home.

Dream One: Two babies are sitting all alone in the shuttle seat adjacent to me. They succeed in getting my attention by waving and giggling to me. I wave back, wondering how they got there and why are these infants commuting? Where exactly are they going?

As I exit the bus, the driver won't let me off, telling me "You're not leaving them here." Who is he talking about?

Driver: "Miss, please take your babies. Now."

I am now awake and vow to never close my eyes again.

Dream Two: A meeting at work is underway and my mind is drifting. Something in the corner of the conference room catches my eye. It's a mini-pyramid of diaper-clad infants (two on bottom, one on their shoulders - all seated on top of one another). They're all smiling with pacifiers.

I LOL and look around the room. Does nobody else see this? By the time I look back in the corner, the babies have brought in three friends. It's now a 3-2-1 pyramid of babies!

I stop looking in the corner and simply excuse myself from the meeting, head down with eyes focused on the floor.

The president abruptly stops speaking and says: "Tamara, please take your babies. Now."

There will not be a Dream Three, because now I really will never, ever close my eyes again.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Anniversaries of Note...

40th Anniversary of Sesame Street

Even Google is in on the madness leading up to November 10, 2009.

On 11/10/1969 we were introduced to Bert & Ernie's gang. Cookie, Big Bird, Mr. Hooper, The Count (who I always found a bit frightening), Oscar, Mr. SnuffleUpaGus (sp), Grover (who shares a birthday with our nephew), Elmo, Zoe and all the other little furry creatures who helped us along through the early years are all gearing up for the big day. There is an amazing SS documentary out there, that is worth a NetFlix, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET. I highly recommend it.

20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, 11/9/1989

"Mr. Gorbachev, Tear down this wall!" Former President, Ronald Reagan

"I, I will begin again. I will be with you again." U2

Wind of Change, The Scorpions performance

The Wall - Live in Berlin...a live concert performance of the Roger Waters rock opera celebrating the destruction of the Berlin wall.

Beethoven's 9th symphony with the word "Joy" changed to "Freedom", Leonard Bernstein's concert

The Berlin Wall was a concrete barrier, more than 87 miles long, built by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) (East Germany) that completely enclosed the city of West Berlin, separating it from East Germany, including East Berlin. The Wall included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. source: Wiki

4th Month Anniversary on the Wait List!!!

The most personal of all the big ones happening right now.

We are four months in and more excited everyday! The big redecorating moves are about to happen very soon, with each room moving down a room to serve a new purpose. Dining table moves to open area; office moves to dining room; office becomes the nursery. Whew. Yes, lots to do.

And do you know how we celebrated our final fabulous dinner in our official dining room? With one big fat snafu.

I'm a baker, not a cook. So, when I come across a simple, creative recipe that I know I can master, I'm all-in. The short story of this very long saga is that when I attempted to replicate the fabulous ham I made last Easter I didn't realize that what I was basting, prepping, and counting on to make our final dining room experience unforgettable was in fact, not a ham at all. I had purchased a side of pork!

Yup, plain ole pork that I have no simple, yet creative recipes for. The same pork that I have no intention of ever ordering again. Our guests drove over an hour for the ham I raved about, to end up sitting at our table with four adults staring blankly at "ham" that was not pink, not spicy, had no skin and had less flavor. And did I mention that 15 minutes per pound doesn't cut it when you're cooking PORK? Thankfully we all had enough after a few bites and didn't dig too deep where IT WAS RAW! ha! If you can't laugh....

and laugh we did, with some very fabulous chocolate cake. Thanks Aim!

A sign that it's okay to give up the privileges of a separate dining room and get on with the move.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baby Training 101

At 14 years old I was required to take Drivers Ed as part of my college prep curriculum, for the obvious reason that I was about to turn 15 and apply for my learner's permit, followed by the sought-after driver's license at 16.

At 15 years old I was required (by the 'rents) to take the PSAT course in hopes of boosting my SAT scores to those suitable for a fine institution and in turn, leading to a successful career.

At 16 I signed to a modeling agency and was thrown into a very rigorous "runway walking" training in order to land my first job. (yes, you read that correctly)

At each stage in our lives we are prepped, trained and officially certified. You all know where I'm going with this....
At what point are we certified to properly care for a child? NEVER. EVER.
(unless you count creepy Baby Alive, who taught us if you crank the baby's arm she'll pee her pants) brother. He had the genius idea of "Baby 101 Weekend". When he had his second son in April, he asked us the expected age of our son when we bring him home. I estimated the earliest would be six months, most likely older. In April, my brother picked a date in October (making his son six months) and said "You guys are coming down that weekend and are on full-duty. We'll stay home in case you need anything, but we're acting as if we're not there. You're doing the feedings, the burping, figuring out why he's crying, entertaining him, changing him, the whole shebang."

At 8:05pm on Friday, 10/24, we bounced off the train in a flurry of excitement for our upcoming training. Fast forward to the scene on Sunday, 10/26: drooling on each other while slumped over bracing one another up in our respective seats.

I highly recommend this for anyone becoming a first time parent. We are more ready than ever.

Thank you Amy, Scott, Jack and Theo for the most valuable life training EVER.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gladney &

Have I mentioned how pleased we are with our agency? They're at it again.

A local Children’s Hospital recently donated several infant incubators to Gladney which are being sent to Addis Ababa. Gladney has secured free shipping on multiple crates to ship these incubators. They would like to fill the remainder of the crates with diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, and baby carriers from They deliver diapers, wipes, and other baby necessities at great prices with fast free shipping (if you order $49 or more).

If you would like to help by donating items, you can enter the Referral Code “Gladney” on the shopping cart screen and you'll get an extra $10 off your first order of diapers with a $49 minimum purchase. And Gladney gets a $1 credit each time you order. Remember the Referral Code: Gladney

When ordering items, please have them shipped directly to Gladney at this
address by November 15th:

Gladney Center for Adoption
Attn: Scott Brown
6300 John Ryan Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76132

Here is a list of the products the children and in-country caregivers need which you can find by clicking on the links below:

Babyganics Germinator Hand Sanitizer - 250 ml -

Huggies Snug and Dry Diapers - Extra Large Case - (sizes needed size 1 through size 3) -

Huggies Natural Care Fragrance Free Baby Wipes - 360 Count Refill -

Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier Original - City Black -