Sunday, February 28, 2010

drumroll.....WE ARE #2!!!

These are the fortune cookies we received last night after finding out we're #2. Crazy right? (Kai's is the first one.) Check out the crappy ones below that we got last month. I never take pix of fortunes, but these were just over the top for their a) timing and b) "what?!?" factor.

So, there was movement!!!! YES! Congratulations to the Schmidts on their referral for a little boy. I've already warned that I'll be stalking them throughout the day until they get 'the call', as they now sit in the #1 spot. Don't you love this community?

I'm still a bit scattered since getting the news last night. I can only imagine where my head will be when our referral comes. This whole experience has been so powerful and eye-opening, yet we haven't even reached the best part yet!!!
Since reaching the WaitList stage, it seemed that not until we hit the top 10 would things begin to sink in. And they did.
Then it was...'We'll start getting all ducks in their necessary rows when we reach #5'. With a rational plan and sound mind, that also panned out.
Well, as of last night nothing makes sense anymore. AND I LOVE IT!

Are these the worst fortunes EVER? Ironically, they were right before the lull. They were so bad and made us both laugh uncontrollably that I had to take a picture. (sorry about the shoddy exposure - from my Blackberry)

Kai's: "The most important relationship in your life is with yourself"

Mine: "You love Chinese food"

Lastly, a HUGE thank you to everyone who posted and played along in the ballad-bonanza! That was a much needed distraction from the lull that had been staring us down over the past weeks. I laughed so hard at each post/comment - thanks for sharing!
btw...if you posted, email me your address at tamara at I'm working on digging up enough baby tees for each of you.

Yay for the Schmidt's referral and this family's court date...keep it coming!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Power Ballad and You

This is definitely stretching it a bit, but I'm sick of the big loom lingering over all of us with the recent lull. There's nothing we can do about it so let's have a little fun.

What 80s power ballad fits your current state of mind? They're all about angst, waiting and fighting the odds - if it's true that misery loves company, the lyrics to these ballads may actually cheer us up! If you feel like joining in, post a few lyrics to your ballad.

No, this doesn't mean I'm content with the lull. I'm just ready for a non-thinking distraction that will hopefully generate some good replies that we can all laugh at with each other. Okay ladies, bring on your best 80s big-hair ballad...

P.S. If you're playing and didn't grow up in the 80s, please note that 'girl' in any ballad is equivalent to what we are all missing and looming over.

P.P.S. Whoever has the best ballad at the end (determined by other readers) will get a little tee for your kiddie with your band's logo on it. (I make them and have a closet full that need to be cleared out before our kiddie arrives)

Ours would be GnR's Patience...

Shed a tear 'cause I'm missing you
I'm still alright to smile
Girl, I think about you every day now
Was a time when I wasn't sure
But you set my mind at ease
There is no doubt you're in my heart now
Said woman take it slow
It'll work itself out fine
All we need is just a little patience
Said sugar make it slow
And we'll come together fine
All we need is just a little patience (inhale)
Patience...Ooh, oh, yeah

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hey, Ho...Lets Go!

Gotta love The Ramones.
Okay, The Crazies are knocking and I think I have not only opened the door, but I have welcomed them in with open arms. What is going on? Why is there such a lull? Hellloooooo? I am going absolutely crazy.

It's easy to get wrapped up in your own world, forgetting that people from so many different stages of adoption (and some who are not adopting) are reading your little blog and may not understand the expected pace for each stage of the process. Well, to everyone reading this...we just went a little crazy because we hit a ginormous slow patch...but are slowly regaining a sound mind.

There has been such a silent, chirp-chirp-cricket standstill over the past month. Today marks one month and one day with ZERO referrals on the unofficial wait list. It's brutal. It's frustrating. It can make you paranoid. It makes you anxious, hopeful, sad, mad, and everything in between. And you know what you can do about it? Nada.

So that's when I decided to call our caseworker, aka our saviour, during the "quiet time". She is so positive yet realistic and transparent. We love her and thank her for making The Crazies leave. This is why you research your agency inside and out before committing to them. We are relying on them for the biggest decision our family has ever made or will make. The future of our family is in their hands. They are our voice in a world we don't know. And they are speaking volumes on our behalf, to bring our family together.

I must admit that I'm not someone who is easily won over. We're still in midstream here, but to date I have zero complaints and full respect for everyone at our agency who is working on our behalf. I have hope that things are going to start moving again and am wishing all waiting families a quick and peaceful wait for their referrals, court dates and travel dates.

Let's GOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Design Selected as the OTO Necklace!!!

first I would like to say...Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

To everyone still waiting...enjoy this one with your sweeties because next year we're all going to either have a babysitter or a little one sitting at our romantic dinner with us! I can't wait :)

(oversized silver charm clasp with gold key, silver lock and black glass beads; final design will replace the "E" with an "OTO" charm; )

I am beyond humbled right now.

Over the past months I've been working with the humanitarian aide division of Gladney (our agency) on various design ideas for one of their new missions, On Their Own.

On Their Own assists in giving young girls living in a Gladney orphanage the opportunity to acquire skills and interests that will assist them in real life once they 'age out' of the system. There are few opportunities for these young women when they reach the very eye-opening reality that they can no longer live under the care of Gladney in the orphanage they know as home. Sad is an understatement. Prostitution is a common transition for the girls, while drug dealing is the boys' alternative to making a living. (Gladney has another program for the older boys which is also under way, with much success to date.)

I am so honored to be a part of this project. I found out today that my design has been selected as the item the girls will be making. In a nutshell, they'll receive all the supplies with my video of how to produce the pieces and personal assistance from a newly placed Gladney intern who is heading to Ethiopia in April. Once produced, necklaces will be marketed to the public with proceeds assisting in creating life skills for these young women.

I've seen and received emails, pictures and videos from these girls. It breaks my heart to see so many beautiful, strong and competant young women with such a positive outlook while knowing what the future holds for them once they celebrate a few more birthdays.

International adoption has changed my life forever.

OTO Mission Statement
To provide meaningful, marketable job and life-skills training
for orphaned and foster care teens in the U.S., Africa, Asia,
Eastern Europe and Latin America in preparation for life
ON THEIR OWN as self-sufficient, safe young adults

...and by the way...I need your help!

If you were to consider buying this necklace, would red beads be more appealing than black? We're starting with only one color. I think the crowd here has pretty good taste and I would love to hear your feedback.
Supplies are being purchased at the end of this week, so if you can let me know by then it would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

7 Months on Wait List

I've been bursting to post this. The reason? This *could* be our last month waiting.

Last month at this time, average wait time for a referral was 7.2 months. It's now 8 months, but we are ever the optimist and just pleased to be in the zone. We acknowledge the naive-happy-la-la-rose-colored-glasses outlook we have right now and are just going with it...full force!

In October we went from #12 to something like #6 within a matter of moments. So why not again, especially when you consider the current lull? And we DO mean lull! It has to pick up at some point.

This also justifies our hourly check-ins with The Schmidts and CocoandKota. See, stalking others' blogs does a lot for the overactive mind.

a) confirmation...that others are also experiencing a lull

b) celebration...squeals and heart-stopping moments when you see the words "The Call" as various families receive their referrals and blog about it

c) enlightening...We're all writing the same story on our blogs. It's enlightening to read how we all express it in so many different ways.

Now, I'm off to make a big pot of hot tea and hunker down as the blizzard closes in. (it's currently 70 degrees in Addis)

Sunday, February 7, 2010


One of Kai's Valentine's Day gifts arrived early.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I normally distribute my gifts early. I get too excited in the hub-bub and build up to whatever the big day is that we're all awaiting. I've always been like that and most likely will not change at this point.

Niko's first Christmas is going to be interesting. It may be the first time a child tells a parent, "It's 4am, please go back to bed mommy".

So, I found this amazing collection of Amharic tees, coffee mugs, aprons, etc. When I saw the "DAD" tee, I sqealed and whipped out my credit card. Sold. (I know Kai doesn't look very excited in the picture, but he really is).

We girls blog, shop, read and talk about being a mom from day one. We've referred to each other with the ultimate title of "mom" or "mommy" at some point already. Our mothers, sisters and friends have had heart to hearts about what motherhold holds. I wouldn't imagine the average dad-in-waiting encounters the amount of warm & fuzzy "oh boy, we can call you daddy soon" moments as us.

I kind of saw this when Kai opened his present and asked "What does this say?" When I simply said "Dad", I saw the coolest look on Kai's face.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Vintage Post

Last year at this time, a picture of me under a sea 'o paperwork appeared on our blog.

There have been such little spurts of action, that when we now hit a realistic lull during our wait it just feels like things are dragging. The slow period the call it.

Well, when I look back at some of our first posts I realize how quickly (did I say quickly?) we've reached our current position and the strides made along the way. We've been at this for over a year and I honestly couldn't see it happening any faster for our family.

I'm giving a little shout-out here to our agency, Gladney, for being so __________ (insert all synonyms of absolutely incredible here). Words don't describe how helpful, professional, genuine, proactive and on & on they have been to this point.

We're nowhere near done with our process, having the biggest waits yet to come. However, reaching the unofficial #3 spot is a good time for reflection on the current state of the union. All is good.

And I didn't even mention the amazing ladies I've through this process. Many who will now be lifelong friends. The important stuff in life doesn't happen overnight.

Now, come on court dates & referrals!!!

Happy Friday to all :)

Passing the Time

I just received a fabulous award from an oh-so-fabulous woman.

Upon accepting, it entails answering the below questions with one word answers and passing along. I never realized, but I am a one-word-only challenged lady.

1. Where is your cell phone? Ottoman

2. Your hair? Red

3. Your mother? Strong

4. Your father? Charming

5. Your favorite food? Sushi

6. Your dream last night? Travel

7. Your favorite drink? Malbec

8. Your dream / goal? Motherhood

9. What room are you in? Living

10. Your hobby? Sewing

11. Your fear? Tornado

12. Where do you want to be in six years? Happy

13. Where were you last night? Working

14. Something that you aren't? Pessimist

15. Muffins? Carrot

16. Wish list item? Referral!

17. Where did you grow up? Pennsylvania

18. Last thing you did? Design

19. What are you wearing? Slippers

20. Your TV? BBC

21. Your pets? None

22. Friends? Love!

23. Your life? Rocks

24. Your mood? Goofy

25. Missing someone? Niko

26. Vehicle? Taaaaaxi!

27. Something your not wearing? Make-up

28. Your favorite store? Zappos

29. Your favorite color? Purple

30. What was the last time you laughed? Lunch

31. Last time you cried? Hmmmmm…

32. Your best friend? Kai

33. One place that I could go over and over? Spain

34. One person who emails you regularly? Sis

35. Favorite place to eat? Los Gatos
I'm passing this along to the four newest families making the leap over to the Wait List tab on the FBI list.
Welcome Gladney Girls!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Gram!

I love you!

A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.-- Author Unknown

Grandmas don't just say "that's nice" -- they reel back and roll their eyes and throw up their hands and smile. You get your money's worth out of grandmas.-- Author:unknown

There's no place like home except Grandma's. ~Author Unknown

When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window. ~Ogden Nash

Being grandparents sufficiently removes us from the responsibilities so that we can be friends. ~Allan Frome

If nothing is going well, call your grandmother. ~Italian Proverb

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is.-- Ellen DeGeneres

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ups & Eccchs

I'm making a conscious effort right now to be a more timely-blogger. Through the rest of our journey, I will make every attempt to not let it slip in excess of a week, like now. It takes a lot of mind-energy to get back in the flow. I feel like I need to list a diary of events in order to catch up for the past week and that's no fun for anyone, especially the reader!

So, to recap I'll simply highlight the ups & not-so-ups; some adoption-related and some not.

Ech: The waitlist crew have all set their sights on a 7.2 month average wait time. That was the trend with our agency at the time of our last conference call prior to the holidays. Well, the new conference call happened this week and we're all back up to an 8 month average wait. Boo.

Up: Our artist, Phoenix, won a Grammy!!!! Yay. Yay. Yay. If you're not familiar with them, I'm sure you've heard them in one of the gazillion Cadillac commercials currently running.

Up: Sticking with the musical theme, Cyndi Lauper was in the office today. I LOOOOVE Ms. Lauper. Who doesn't? Seeing someone like her just makes me smile and makes life seem fun and light. Nice aura to have!

Ech: Not to harp on this conference call business, but...something was mentioned that I wasn't aware of nor have I read about this before (and I have done a TON of research).
Children are available for adoption because they are either a) relinquished - parent(s)/living family member(s) willingly give their child(ren) to the orphanage or b) they are abandoned (self-explanatory). That we knew.

What we didn't know is that abandoned children are named by the police officer who writes up their case when taken into the station. After hearing this a few days ago, it still isn't sitting well with us and has taken us aback. Our intention was to take our son's Ethiopian name as his middle name. The whole purpose was because of its meaning and to keep part of our child's past with him forever. Knowing what we know now, I'm not sure we want that. I'm not sure he would. I don't know. We don't know. My middle name is after my maternal grandmother and it's comforting to know that. I wouldn't want that name if I knew a police officer, aka stranger, selected it. Has anyone else faced this and hesitated? not hesitated at all? Should our son be referred to us as an abandoned case, we may be considering a different Ethiopian name.

I would love to hear others' thoughts/experience on this topic. I already want to protect this little guy whom I've never met and do what's right on his behalf. Hmmmm...

And to end on an Up...our nephew thoroughly enjoying his day at Chelsea Piers. The genuine happiness that bouncing brings to a four year old's world! I'm seriously jealous.