Friday, July 30, 2010

People Ask, "Do You Need Clothes for Magnolia?"




sweet floral sweater up top, skulls down below.  yes, please.

stripey socks!  dots!  florals!  RIC RAC, for heaven's sake!

oh, little bunny

lucy approved

you'll want to rest your cheek on that shirt, it's so soft

weiner dog sweater and a hat with a pompom

That, my friends, is the product of a mother's love.* And also of the impulse to do anything other than the dishes.

*Of clearance.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book 'Em!

This morning I called our travel agency and gave all the pertinent information related to purchasing plane tickets and travel insurance. We have plane tickets. I've heard this means that we are actually traveling to Ethiopia. It's still surreal that we have a daughter who will be here for the holidays.*

After becoming absolutely spoiled rotten by spending his past two birthdays in international vacation spots, Jarod decided that this birthday also should be spent abroad, and handily enough, he requested a birthday in Addis Ababa. So we are staying beyond the recommended one-day-post-court-date, and Jarod will fly home October 7. According to my ticket, I will fly home November 17. It's highly likely this will need to be changed once we know our embassy date, but what it means for sure is that I am staying in Ethiopia for, like, ever. Or at least until our daughter comes home. I am thrilled. It feels good to have plane tickets set, it feels good to put something solid behind our decision to have me stay, it feels good to simply have some sort of a plan for anything.

Two months from today, we appear in Ethiopian court. Two months. It's really not that long. I thought it was, but it's not. It will be here before we know it.

I am very, very glad.

*Typical adoption disclaimer to confirm that, yes, I realize that anything can happen and there could be snags and it could be a nightmare and blah blah blah we still think she'll be home by Thanksgiving. We reserve the right to be correct or incorrect, whichever ends up being the case.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


It's really bothering me that I don't know what size our daughter's feet are. I mean really bothering me. Baby needs shoes, and I can't get them for her! So instead I'm shopping for a heavy jacket. If we get an embassy date four to six weeks after our court date, that lands us at home in Kansas City in November, and it's chilly then. Maybe not chilly enough for a full-on parka, but definitely for something more substantial than a sweatshirt or windbreaker.

Handily enough, I have a 40% coupon for the Gap that is good only tomorrow, and it appears they have a jacket that will work quite nicely. I realize that it's a little odd to be shopping for cool weather gear when I can barely leave my house without groaning at the heat, but my mind is on getting Nola everything she will need, and the one thing I've got left to provide for her is a jacket to put on before we leave the airport. After I've gotten that, well...I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

More crafts, perhaps?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

On a hot pink post-it on my computer, I have written our daughter's mother's name and its meaning. It means, "You are the whole world." Try thinking about that a little bit and not crying.

(My name means "bitter." Kind of a step down from "You are the whole world." I offer this as comic relief so you can stop crying.)

We presented our hope for me to stay in Ethiopia to our agency on Monday. Their answer was something along the lines of most likely no, but we'll at least talk about it and let you know. In essence, I was told that it might not be a good idea for me to see Nola regularly if I stay*, and our consultant pointed out that it would be very hard to be in the country and not see my daughter. And besides, they'd had a terrible experience with a family who had tried the same thing, and they really don't think it's a great idea. I agreed with her, and responded with assurances that we trust the agency's judgment as far as how they'd like to handle things. Except that later I didn't agree with her exactly about everything. I do think it would be very hard to be in the country and not see Nola. But I also think it would be just as hard to fly all the way back to the US to wait. So we are waiting to hear what the agency has to say, and then we will consider our options. All of our options, including me staying in Ethiopia. As Liz pointed out in her comment on my last post, the agency has every right to tell me if and how much I can see Nola, but they cannot tell me what I am allowed to do on my own in the interim. Even if I won't be able to see Nola at all, I think it is a good idea to stay. It is unlikely that we will have an opportunity quite like this again, and staying would allow me to both learn about my daughter's country and also give back by volunteering. Four to six or even eight weeks is a lot of time I could give away to someone who needs it. Jarod and I discussed it, and we very much want that to be a possibility.

We will still, of course, do exactly as our agency instructs in regards to our daughter. We love our agency, and we are so grateful for the policies they have in place in order to protect children and make the process as good as it can possibly be for everyone involved. One of the reasons we chose this agency is that we feel that they do all they can to protect children and families, and if what they feel would best serve our daughter is that we would not see her between court and embassy dates, we will trust their judgment. The end. No further questions asked. They want what is best for our daughter, and we want what is best for our daughter, and so we are in agreement. The end.

*I may be mistaken, but I'm not sure that the idea of me caring for Nola on my own in Ethiopia is even being considered as an option. I understand this, and I have to accept that it is very difficult to explain to those who don't know me well that I really would be fine caring for a small person in a developing nation. I am not exactly the usual adoptive parent traveler, and I'm pretty sure no one really knows what to do with the me. How would they explain that to other adoptive parents? "Well, Mary has assured us that she's quite accustomed to bucket baths and waking up with giant insects on her head, not to mention finding help in the middle of the night when some foolish teenagers left their tent unzipped and ended up with a giant centipede inside. Also there was that one time she threw up out the window of a bus in Pakistan and still helped unload luggage an hour later. She's fine." It would be a little hard, see? Oh, well.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Not Sooner, But Not Later Either

We received a surprise email yesterday announcing that we have a court date September 29. I felt all at once relieved and disappointed. I knew it was a long shot for an August date, but still...two more months seems like a long time. At the same time, it's better in terms of hoping to stay in Ethiopia between court and embassy dates. This is not something that our agency has even approved yet, and if they do, I might have to clam up entirely about the matter for awhile so as to not make it seem like it's the thing to do.

It's not the thing to do. I don't say this lightly. I will not go to our agency claiming that we have rights and that we can do this and blah blah entitlement-cakes. I'll present the opportunity we've been given, be respectful of how they'd like to handle it, and make repeated assurances that I have no intention of encouraging others to do the same or of telling someone that they should even try it. Both our circumstances at this time in our lives and my own travel style are well-suited to the opportunity for me to stay and learn more about my daughter's country, and hopefully see our daughter as much as possible in the process. Again, I plan to be sensitive to our agency's preferences and direction in this regard. I am not entitled to anything that is not being recommended or offered to others. I understand that everything about the process is unpredictable, and I could end up staying in Ethiopia for quite some time. I know that, and I'm comfortable with that, and quite frankly, I have loved living places where the excess that the West affords is absent, where the clocks ticks a bit slower, if at all, and I find it quite funny that one time I served a group of teenagers cereal for three days straight because we had to pack up our kitchen since we weren't sure when our boat would leave exactly. I dig that sort of life is all I'm saying. If we weren't adopting and I were given the opportunity to stay in Ethiopia for an extended period of time, I would surely take it.

So that's where we are. We have a court date. We're exploring our travel options. Jarod would like to spend his birthday in Addis, and I think that can be arranged. We are beyond excited to meet our girl. I wish it were sooner, but I know that once she's with us, we'll hardly care anymore. I'm doing my best to keep that in mind, and also to not cry at the drop of a hat, or at least not in public. So far so good, but ask me about that in a month, and I might be telling another tale altogether.

(PS--Those of you clamoring for photos can mark September 29 on your calendars; we'll be able to show her off to you once we pass court.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Today we received brand new photos of our girl, and we just love them. Her cheeks look chubbier, and she looks happier, though she's still not offering a full smile. She is outdoors, wearing a jacket that is way too small. When it is zipped all the way up and the hood is up, this has the hilarious effect of making her arms stick out to the sides a bit, and her neck completely disappears. So in my new favorite photo of our daughter, she appears neckless. There's also a hint of silliness to her facial expression, which delights me no end. She's going to fit in well around here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cutie McCuterson

We have had a lot of people ask about baby (er, little girl?) showers for us, and I find myself feeling a little bit guilty that the combination of my own clearance prowess, my weakness for the Genuine Kids line at Target, and a ton of hand-me-downs have left us with little need for clothing for our girl. I happen to know that people love to buy cute little girl clothes for baby showers, and I am not giving the people the opportunity to do what the people want! So I've been trying to put some useful items that are also very cute on our registry. One thing that it occurred to me today that we'd need are ice packs. And wow...all those people who want to shop for cute things are not going to be disappointed. Observe:

cutest ice packs ever!

cutest ice packs ever!

Don't you kind of want to order one of those for yourself, even though you're an adult? Go ahead; I won't tell or judge. In fact, I'm hoping that if someone chooses to purchase those for us, I'll get a nice boo-boo in short order.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I am Mom Jeans

There are two families heading to Ethiopia right now that will take photos of our girl. This makes me feel like crying. Lots of things make me feel like crying. I should have bought more waterproof mascara for this time in my life. Or perhaps I should forgo makeup altogether and embrace the Frumpy Mom look in advance. I'm just a few clicks away from ordering my mom jeans! Let's make this Mom thing happen!

Last night I sat in Nola's room for a long time; it's turned out just the way I was hoping it would, and that makes me feel good. When I am struggling with the fact that our daughter is half a world away and there's nothing that we can do to speed the time until our court and embassy dates are appointed for us, I find comfort in doing what I can do for her here. I really can't wait to show off to you guys what we've done in there. We're one small project and one big one away from the big reveal, and I can hardly believe it. So much has come together in these few days, and I am pleased as punch. I hope Nola is pleased as punch, too, when she sees the space we've made for her.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Three, Two, One...DECORATE!

Today I'm painting in the nursery, which is what I'm still calling Nola's room even though she's not a baby. I believe they called the children's room in Mary Poppins the nursery, and neither of those kids were babies, so I'm sticking with it. It's hard enough to adjust from saying "the baby" to "our daughter." I still consider her my first baby, so maybe I should just stick with that, too. Our three-year-old baby will sleep and play in the nursery.

We had sort of a bird theme going on in there until I decided to switch from fabric on one wall to a greeny yellow paint with decals, and now we've added bunnies and a hedgehog to mix, so I'm going to say that we're all about the woodland creatures. I can't wait to show off her room when we are all done. You'll have to wait a couple of weeks for the big reveal, but I promise you, it will be worth it.
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