Thursday, September 29, 2011

Packing is a Cinch!

After having such a crazy weekend and busy start to our week, I was really worried that I wouldn't have enough time to pack properly. But what was I thinking? Packing is no big deal!



I'd say the hardest part by far was convincing Zinashi that it was a bad idea to leave her zipped up in there. She was convinced that if I just threw in a few snacks, she'd be fine.

Right.

We leave tomorrow for London, and on Tuesday we'll be in sunny Nice. I cannot wait!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Tuesday with Old Lady Mary: Cutie Pie!

I didn't get many compliments at Mary's yesterday, but I'm totally fine with that. Because frankly, shouldn't we be focusing on Zinashi? Seriously. LOOK AT HER. Stripey tights! Plaid shorts! Corduroy TOMS! Could she get any cuter? Probably, but she's going to have to try really hard.

tuesday, september 27, 2011
Click on the photo for more details about our outfits and Old Lady Mary's reactions.

Old Lady Mary called Zinashi a cutie pie, and I couldn't agree more. I love a lot of color on my girl, and I think we pretty much maxed it out here. Dressing her is so much fun; I have abandoned all my other hobbies.



Confused about who this Old Lady Mary person is and why we show up every Tuesday? Click here and proceed to the paragraph beneath the photo.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One Year Together: After a Hurricane Comes a Rainbow

This year has been an extraordinary one. So good in so many ways, but when I think of my daughter, I always think of what she had to go through to get here. And I hope that you'll forgive me for quoting a pop song and then using it as our official one-year-as-a-family video song, but it just seems to fit. What happened in Zinashi's life before we came for her--and, admittedly, even after--was like a hurricane. And regardless of the rainbow that comes after, the hurricane's damage is still there. Everything must still be healed and rebuilt. Nothing will ever be the same.

And yet.

Our daughter shines so bright. She is the rainbow, she is the firework, she is so much brighter than the moon. She has changed us in all the very best ways, and we hope that we can return the favor by loving her right.

Zinashi, my little love, you were always shining, from that very first day we saw your face on our computer screen. We could see the spark in you from the very beginning. Your name means famous, and we are certain that you will continue to blossom, to grow, to explode into bright colors that will captivate everyone you know. Happy One Year, baby girl.





The song we used is Firework by Katy Perry, as sung by the fabulous PS22 Chorus. See them singing it here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

On the Eve of Our One Year Familyversary

Tomorrow marks one year from the day that we first held our daughter in our arms. When we flew into Addis Ababa, we were met with the sights and sounds and smells of Meskel bonfires, so to celebrate one year together, we are heading out to our friends' home to have our own little Meskel bonfire this evening. I have many thoughts about this year, but it's hard to put them all down at once. So much has happened. It feels like it has gone by so quickly, while at the same time it feels like Zinashi has been part of our lives forever. We are so grateful for this year and for the girl who made every moment worth living well.

exuberance

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tolerance



Poor old kitty. She's not fast enough to get away when Zinashi is in the mood for dancing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Two Quick Things

First of all, Zinashi looks fab today, so I took a picture and put it up on the long-neglected Zinashi Fashion page. You can should go there to take a gander.

Second, I finally got my hair cut and colored after six months of hair-destroying absence from the hairdresser's chair. I was scolded a little bit for the ratty state of the ends of my hair, but she didn't say a word about the terrible job I've been doing on my bangs. I'd say that's more than kind of her. "Only four months next time, Mary," she said. I think I can comply. She does good work, no?

zinashi wanted to take my picture
Picture by Zinashi, who told me that she needed to take it because I look konjo [pretty] today. Thanks, little lady.

We are heading into a very busy weekend, and we are booked solid with things to do starting in about fifteen minutes. So happy weekend to you, internet. We'll see you Monday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

These Better Last FOREVER

Let me be brief. Zinashi loves her new hair.

braid extensions:  the finished product

I, however, am not loving it enough to want to do it ever again. It's super cute, but not quite nine-hours-of-manual-labor cute. In my opinion, that is. So let's just enjoy it while it lasts, yes?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This Tuesday with Old Lady Mary: Still Fashion Models

I must apologize for the squinty photo today. We really should start taking the photos indoors again, but today Zinashi took it upon herself to go ahead and put herself and a great quantity of stuff in the car before I told her it was time to leave. Such are the trials of parents who need to install a chain lock now that their child can reach the deadbolt.

Old Lady Mary loved our outfits today, saying that we are always fashion models, and frankly, we weren't even trying. After spending much of the day before unexpectedly putting braid extensions in Zinashi's hair, I just couldn't be bothered to make an effort. And then it was fine! I should not try every week!

tuesday, september 20, 2011
Click on the photo for more details about our outfits and Old Lady Mary's reactions.

If you're wondering how I would come to put braid extensions in Zinashi's hair unexpectedly, the answer is that sometimes there are really ambitious people at the park. A friend and I were talking hair, and a woman who was there with her daughter chimed in, and before I knew it, my general hair questions turned into her saying, "Just wait here; I'm going to go get some stuff and show you how to put in some braids." Ten minutes later she was back with fake hair, ready to give me hair lessons. She did about half before she had to leave, which left me with half to finish, and thus I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening putting braids into my daughter's hair. I was a little bit annoyed that we did it on a day that I had a ton of stuff to do, but then when I saw how much Zinashi loves having "big hair," as she says, well...I guess it was mostly worth it. I'll tell you if it was all worth it after I have to take those suckers out. In the meantime, please enjoy a video of Zinashi and her new hair taking a dance break.





Confused about who this Old Lady Mary person is and why we show up every Tuesday? Click here and proceed to the paragraph beneath the photo.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

You May Not Eat a Bird in the Car: A Real Conversation with Zinashi

In the car, on the way to drop Jarod off at work on Saturday

Z: I wanna eat a birdie.

Me: What?

Z: I wanna eat a birdie!

Me: You mean, like chicken? Chickens are birdies. Sort of.

Z: I wanna eat a BIRDIE.

Me: Wait, you mean a birdie like the kind that are outside?

Z: Like Lulu. [our cat, who is an indoor cat with big dreams]

Me: Yeah, but those birdies aren't cooked. You have to eat, you know, the feathers and everything. The feathers are very hard to chew.

Z: I wanna eat a BIRDIE!

Jarod: Can you catch one?

Z: Yeah.

Jarod: Well, if you can catch it, you can eat it.

Me: I'd like to see that. Good luck!

Z: I wanna eat it in the machina [car].

Me: Whoa, wait, no. Nope, you can't do that. Outside is fine, but not in the car.

Z: Why?

Me: It's just that...birdies are kind of messy to eat. Little bird bits could get on the machina, and then it wouldn't be pleasant.

Z: But I wanna eat it in the machina!

Me: No way. The thing is that when you eat a bird, and you drop bits of it, it's hard to clean up. So then the bits are stuck in the machina, and decomposing birdie bits don't smell good. Our machina would be stinky.

Z: Stinky?

Me: Yes. So the bottom line is that you can eat a birdie if you can catch one, but not in the machina.

Z: ...

Me: Or, I could just make some chicken to eat at home.

Z: Okay...I like chicken?

Me: YES. Let's just make that our plan.

And then I drove home and got a chicken out of the freezer to thaw. The end.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Let Me Throw a Couple of Photos at You

Zinashi's book of choice this week has been Children Make Terrible Pets. Little did we know--until Nicole called and told us, that is--that the author, Peter Brown, was going to be in town Friday night. How serendipitous! Of course we went, and of course we bought the new book, You Will Be My Friend, and of course Zinashi had it signed. She really liked Peter Brown, but you can't tell how much by the way she's standing kind of far away from him in the photo.

zinashi and peter brown
I promised that he didn't bite on Fridays, but she did not take my word for it until later, when she came up and smacked his arm to say good-bye. Sorry about my child's violent farewell tendencies, Peter.

Peter was super nice, and Zinashi and I both highly recommend that you visit him on his book tour. If you're not close to one of the places he has yet to visit, please at least buy his fabulous books. You will love them, we promise.

As if meeting the author of one of our favorite books wasn't enough, we also had a birthday party to attend this weekend. A birthday tea party, actually. I think we all know that if you are going to a tea party, you have to dress kind of fancy, right? Let us give you an example of an appropriate outfit:

this is how we dress for tea parties
If the flower on your hat is not bigger than your head, that's okay. Not great, but okay.

After those two events, it's hard to expect the weekend to get any better, isn't it? But somehow we have lined up a little brunch tomorrow, so I think we are just hitting the jackpot. This weekend wins at everything.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chilly Friday

It appears that fall is here. Hooray! It feels so good to me; I wilt in the heat. Zinashi is embracing fall as well, as it is the cause for wearing more accessories. This morning, she walked out onto the porch to check the weather, then popped back into the house to declare that she needed gloves.

she insisted on gloves today, for herself and her ababi
The hat was my idea.

You may notice that Zinahsi is holding a banana here; we have been doing a lot of breakfasts in the car lately. I still prefer family meals, but none of us seem to be able to get out of bed in time to sit down at the table before we need to leave to get Jarod to work. I could blame changing seasons or the fact that Zinashi has been waking up sometimes in the night, but I think the real culprit is Netflix. First I was obsessed with Mad Men, and now I've discovered that my favorite show of all time, Felicity (stop laughing!), has just been added to the Watch Instantly list, and now I can't seem to persuade myself to go to bed without watching "just one more episode." (Just one more! I swear! And then I'm going to bed! Really!) Then the next morning, I can't seem to get out of bed without a struggle. Since I usually start the morning ball rolling by getting my face washed before anyone else needs the bathroom, I'm pretty sure that my Felicity addiction is the reason my child is often found eating a banana and some bunny crackers in the car for breakfast. I guess no mom is perfect, and I will settle for my current bit of imperfection being slightly ridiculous.

(Somebody else who likes Felicity needs to hop in right here and go, "Mary. I KNOW." And then don't blame me if you didn't realize that Felicity is streaming on Netflix, and you are no longer sleeping as much as you were before.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'll Stand By You

Ever since the lovely Rebecca of Girl's Gone Child (who just gave birth to the most beautiful twin girls--please go over and ogle those adorable babies) posted the PS22 Chorus version of Empire State of Mind on Sunday, we have been going a little nuts with all the PS22 videos on YouTube. I'm not into things like Kidz Bop, but seeing these kids sing their hearts out gets me every time.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the past eighteen months of Zinashi's life, of everything that she has gone through and will go through, and it makes me feel a little bit like making a Casey Kasem style long distance dedication to her. And right in front of me, thanks to PS22 Chorus, is the song that would be exactly right.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

1001 Reasons to Love Zinashi: Reason #15

When she is pretending to be a dog, she really pretends to be a dog. She wanted me to buy her actual dog food, but I am mean and made her settle for peanut butter crackers. I also wouldn't let her pee in the yard.



At least I put her food and water bowls on the floor, right?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This Tuesday with Old Lady Mary: I Know She Loves Red

Mary just loved my outfit today, but failed to notice that I put my hair up for her. I'd joke that she's ungrateful, but that's not true at all, and I can't even joke about it. She thanked me very warmly today for the food that I brought and the things I did for her, and it was just so nice. I was actually kind of dreading going today; it took forever to get off the phone with her when I called to find out what she needed from the grocery, and I was tired from getting up for an early breakfast. I figured I'd just have to push through the visit, and then it was really lovely. I'm going to go ahead and credit the one thing I've ever bought full price at Anthropologie. Thank you, birthday and extra work money 2007.

tuesday, september 13, 2011
Click on the photo for more details about our outfits and Old Lady Mary's reactions.

That red dress has been a fabulous addition to my wardrobe, and may be the one thing that made me think differently about my clothing priorities. I come from a long line of thrifty folks, and I easily am led astray by low, low clearance prices, then end up with items that either fall apart in short order or don't get worn very much. There's certainly a place for cheap in my wardrobe, but I also recognize that sometimes it's better to purchase something that I really love and spend more than to cheap it out and end up wasting money on things that won't last or that I won't ever wear. My goal these days is to make sure that I've got a good amount of basics to work with and then save my dollars for things that are really special. This is why, after breakfast with the big kids, I hightailed it over to Target to look at the Missoni items.

I honestly thought that showing up at 8:05am on the day that the stuff hit the shelves would allow me plenty of time to make purchasing decisions, but I was wrong. I arrived to find women in yoga pants feverishly pulling things off shelves and racks, carts already full. The woman ahead of me in line spent upwards of $1200 on Missoni items. I was aghast. I mean, I guess if you've got it, you can spend it, but still...$1200 in one morning at Target? It wasn't even 8:30am!

In the end I got most of what I'd had my eye on and one extra thing I wasn't sure about, but that I figured would sell on eBay if I ended up not wanting it. With so many women reaching in to grab things, I had to make my move. This is why we now own a set of coffee cups, saucers, and spoons, which Zinashi adores. She wants us to all to "drink buna and eat somefing off plates." You know, as a family. And if that isn't adorable enough for you, she was also thrilled with the organizational items I brought home. You guys, this girl is so totally my daughter. "For my toys?" she asked. Yes, ma'am, for your toys. And then she got all excited about putting things in them and having her toy shelf look both pretty and organized.

a little missoni for target organization going on
A woman who was wearing a very large hat and a colorful scarf (but still sporting yoga pants) snapped up most of the teal chevron stripe bins, and I am trying not to hold it against her, even though I was forced to purchase two bins of the same print when I wanted to mix and match all three prints. First World Problems ahoy!

Finally, as is my custom, I hit up the kids' section for a little something to wear. I'm pretty sure this will be a hit with Old Lady Mary in cooler weather. Don't you think so?

missoni for target, from the kids' section
Wow, my eyes look a little crossed. I was concentrating pretty hard, apparently. Also, they had a toddler-sized version, but I just couldn't justify spending the money for something that would be so quickly outgrown. It's Target, but it's designer. This isn't some Circo level jacket, if you catch my meaning there.

All in all, it proved to be a fabulous morning. Mary was happy, and Zinashi and I got some extra style in our lives, and no one kicked me (accidentally or intentionally) when I reached past half a dozen yoga-pant-clad bottoms to slide that cup and saucer set off the shelf. Success! If the rest of the day goes half as well, it will be a good one.



Confused about who this Old Lady Mary person is and why we show up every Tuesday? Click here and proceed to the paragraph beneath the photo.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Of Ethics and Age Requests and Letting Go of My Planning Impulses

I realize that since I made the anti-climactic announcement about beginning our second adoption, I've said little about it. So much of life has invaded since then that I just haven't had the chance to sit down and give this topic the attention it deserves. It makes me laugh to think of how anxious we were last time to get all our paperwork collected and done and into our dossier, and this time we've received the welcome packet from our agency and opened it as an afterthought last night, after it had been sitting on the desk for more than 24 hours. I'm pretty sure we'll sign it and write a check this week. You know, when we get around to it. We're just not in as much of a rush as we were before.

Lots has been coming out lately about the ethical issues in Ethiopian adoption, and that's mostly what I want to write about here. We've questioned whether we should pursue Ethiopian adoption again at all. We still are questioning it. But we do see promise in what has been happening in Ethiopia. It is a good thing that MOWCYA (the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs) has slowed down their processes to be more thorough in checking the background of children who may be adopted. It is a good thing that orphanages that are not operating appropriately are being closed. It is a good thing that orphanages are keeping children relinquished into their care longer before referral in order to give Ethiopian families time to reconsider their choice. The question now is whether it is enough, and only time will tell. So to start slowly is truly to our advantage here. Taking longer allows us to see how these changes pan out.

We have been very intentional this time with our age request. To be honest, I feel a little guilty about it, regardless of whether or not our reasons for the request are good ones. Our age range at this point is zero to eighteen months at time of referral, and it will increase as Zinashi grows older. We want her to feel secure in our place in our family, and I believe a generous age gap will offer that to her. We are open to a LOT of special needs, even more than the last time, and will keep our eyes on the waiting child list in the event that we've left out something that we can manage. Still, our request range is young, and there are plenty of people lining up for that age range. In my opinion, part of what has created the ethical problem in Ethiopia is so many people requesting healthy babies. There simply aren't as many healthy babies in need of families as there are people who want to adopt them, but there are plenty of people who stand to profit from finding babies to meet that demand. Thus, corruption enters the picture. This is not to say that if you have adopted a healthy baby or are requesting a healthy baby that I am judging you or saying you are wrong. I am not saying that there are zero healthy babies who need families. What I am saying is that more of us should be opening our hearts and eyes to a wider age range and range of potential health issues, and more of us should be aware of the issues that arise when there is high demand for children who are young as possible and as healthy as possible. The kids who are most in need of families are older or have special needs or both.

It is hard to make decisions that fit your family and also take into account ethical issues. We wanted to start with young kids because it seemed a more natural way to start our family, and we prefer to adopt respecting birth order. Now that we know Zinashi and feel it would be best for her to have a sibling that will be less competition for her niche in the family, we have to work with that as well. We must be honest about our limitations, and then work from there. If what we feel is best for our family at this time turns out to be an ethical risk in Ethiopia, then we will have to look elsewhere to build our family. That's a hard truth to swallow--that there is a chance that we will work toward an Ethiopian adoption and feel in the end that we shouldn't go through with it.

For now we feel peace about this decision. What helps me most, honestly, is knowing that we can indeed change our minds--about part or all of where we're heading. Having Zinashi come to us first, we know all about how things can change, and we know how those changes can very much be for the best. We are excited to find out how it all turns out, and I mean that sincerely. Zinashi has been the most amazing surprise of my life, and the more I learn of her, the more I feel drawn to just letting go, to acknowledging that I really have no clue who will best fit in our family. I am confident that she will find her way here if we will just pay attention.

After this adoption, we have no immediate plans other than to live out our family life as a family with young children. We're going to take it slow. And then someday, maybe, if we are lucky, adoption will knock on our door again. For an older child, or children. Though now is not the time for us to pursue such things, we will not forget those who wait with little hope. We hope you won't forget them either.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Rest of Our Family: Found

I mentioned some time ago that we were worried about Zinashi's family during this time of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, and asked if anyone could help us go check on them. We got responses from a good number of people and eventually ended up using means that we hadn't anticipated, but which totally worked out. Thank you to everyone who stepped forward to help us. It's taken awhile, but we heard back, and I am relieved to report that they are okay. Well, okay considering the drought and the fact that farming provides their livelihood. Not that their lives were easy before, but now...I cannot imagine. But they are alive, at least, and I'm not sure I've ever heard better news.

To add to the list of "things no one tells you before you adopt," I would offer that no one tells you how much you will want to protect your child's first family. No one tells you how very important they will become to you, as if they are your very own family. Which, maybe they are. If Zinash is their family member, and we are hers, then we are all family. And so we love them, as our family, half a world away, and look forward to the day when we can love them in person*.



*Autumn 2012, kids--who's with me? Sidama or bust!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Four Good Things

Today was a good day. I'm just going to cut to the chase and make you a list of reasons.

1. After a few days of agonizing over some decisions we've made lately, and feeling utterly conflicted over two in particular, I awoke this morning to a photo in my inbox. In it, a man who we have only ever seen be serious or in distres, is beaming. I'm pretty sure light was shining forth from his teeth, and it was because of a decision we made. I felt, suddenly, like everything was going to be all right, that we had done the right thing, regardless of what anyone else might say or think or prefer for us to do.

2. Zinashi went to her first day of homeschool co-op preschool and instructed me to leave. When she caught sight of me in the common room, she said, firmly, "Mami. GO BYE-BYE." She is feeling so secure these days, and I love that.

3. When we came home, we did a little of this:

snuggles after co-op preschool

Because she might be a big girl who doesn't need me to stay in her class with her anymore, but she still needs her mama sometimes.

4. Zinashi has discovered the joy of popping bubble wrap.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Before We Were Parents, We Were Somewhat Glamorous

Four years ago today, these two weirdos got married.

in our spare time, we're aspiring models

And they haven't looked that good since. But they sure are happy despite the loss of good looks, and the little invader in all their photos.

first family photo

The years have been good to us, and it is a happy anniversary indeed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Starting School(ish)

People started asking me about Zinashi and schooling in January, right about the time we'd recovered enough from the holidays to make our way out of the house again. "Is she going to school?" was second only to "How is her English?" Which is to say that even if I'd wanted to let the topic rest, it never would have been allowed. It was brought up time and time again, and thus I had many opportunities to think about it.

It took some time to figure out what I'd do, if anything, at this point. I'm not of the "early reading is awesome" persuasion. I want Zinashi's first school experience to be enjoyable to her, and I want to be able to present things as she is ready for them. I never considered sending her to a regular preschool; it just wouldn't have been a good fit for her or for our family situation. Still, I wanted to introduce some school concepts and perhaps have a little time with a group of kids so she can get used to being in a group of her peers some of the time. So for what would be considered her Pre-K year, we are doing homeschool and participating in a co-op twice a month. I think this will give us a good starting place, allowing us to see if homeschooling is workable for us. My hunch is that we'll do fine, and that we will want to supplement with another group activity along the way (such as soccer or a dance class). But for now, this is where we will start. Our first co-op day is this Friday, and in the meantime we've started with my homemade curriculum. It looks like this:

this week's "school" features

And this:

our first "school" book

I'm borrowing a little from a series called Five in a Row, but using books we already have. I understand that a lot of homeschooling moms really like to have things laid out for them, but I find that I like choosing my own focus and activities at this point. After all, it's preschool. We don't need to get too intense. Each week I'll choose a book, and we'll read it each day of the week. Four-year-olds love repetition and learn well that way, so we are largely doing the same thing every day, with the goal at the end of the week being proficiency in our limited tasks. After we read, we talk about the story. We look at the letter of the week and find it in the book. We say the sound the letter makes. (P has been a really fun letter to start with, by the way.) Then we practice writing the letter. Next, we talk about the shape of the week and see if we can find that in the book and around the house. Then comes counting and the number of the week. We count to whatever our number is, and I choose something new to count every day. Our number this week is four, so yesterday I got out four napkins, and today we used four chocolates. Zinashi sometimes mixes up the numbers or skips some, so we are just working on a good solid count of one to four. Finally, I draw a four and let her practice drawing some fours, too.

After that, it's just a free-for-all. If she wants to write another number or letter, I'll write it down for her and let her practice. If she'd like to see her whole name written out, I do that, and sometimes she writes more than just the Z. If she seems keen on reading, I'll get out some hastily-written word cards and let her tell me which word is which. That's it. No pressure. It takes less than an hour for the actual "school" part of the day. When it is not school time, I do try to work in references to what we're learning this week, but it's nothing intense. It's just a good place to start. Because she's still four years old, and a lot of her learning still looks a lot like this:

swing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This Tuesday with Old Lady Mary: We Must Shop at Amazing Places

This week Mary was bowled over by Zinashi's hat and dress. And how they match! And she has cute clothes on all the time! Where do we shop? I said "mostly Target," which is true, and started to explain how the rest largely comes from sales on the internet, but then I stopped myself. There is no way I'm going to try to explain to Mary how you can find clothing on the internet and have it sent to your house. Maybe if I have two hours, but not today. So I just settled with Target and alluding to "other stores" that have "cute stuff that's not too expensive." She didn't say much about my outfit, but did ask quite pointedly why I didn't have my hair pulled back in a ponytail, the way she likes it. Seriously? I am wearing sunny yellow and this fabulous skirt, and all she can see is that I did not pull my hair back the way she likes it? I just can't win. (This week. Next week I am putting my hair in a ponytail and wearing something fabulous.)

tuesday, september 6, 2011
Click on the photo for more details about our outfits and Old Lady Mary's reactions.

I've got lots more to say today, but Zinashi and I are playing restaurant, and I may or may not end up with time to write it. Enjoy your Tuesday, internet.



Confused about who this Old Lady Mary person is and why we show up every Tuesday? Click here and proceed to the paragraph beneath the photo.

Monday, September 5, 2011

On Readiness

inverted

Zinashi has suddenly decided that she's a big girl. I like it, but I don't. It's nice that she can dress herself and go to the bathroom all by herself, and it's absolutely fantastic that she feels confident enough that she doesn't need us to help her so that she'll feel secure in her place in our family. At the same time, I miss her babyness. I know she came to us at three years old, but she was so small, and she needed so much, and she was very much our little baby. Minus the need for diapers and potty training, thank heaven for seven-eleven.

One thing I really needed to happen before we started our adoption process again was for Zinashi to be able to do more for herself and to feel okay about doing it. I have no doubt that she has been capable for quite some time of doing the things that she does now, but she needed to be babied until she was ready to do it herself. She needed to be allowed to rely on us in myriad ways so that she could be sure of who we are, and who she is. Parents and child. Large and small*. The caretakers and the one to whom care is given. Zinashi was forced to bear at a very young age that which would make any adult crumble, and I think it used up a lot of her. When I think about how well she is doing at just shy of a year in our arms, it amazes me. So much loss for someone so small, and yet here she is, asking when she will be able to read "all self" and taking it upon herself to go outside with a damp cloth and start wiping down the car. She has come a long way.

So we are starting again, and it's all her fault for being so grown up all of a sudden. What gives me peace about beginning the search for our next girl, even when life is in limbo in so many other ways, is looking at her and knowing that she is ready. And if she can be ready, after all this year has wrought, then so can I.



*If you don't have this book, you should get it. Zinashi and I are dressing up as Large and Small for Halloween. We are even going to try to make her a little chicken pull toy just like Small has in the book. We're not sure what Jarod's going to be, but in several of the illustrations, there are sheep, so we think that might be a good option.

Friday, September 2, 2011

This May Be Anticlimactic: An Exercise in Deciphering Run-On Sentences

Oh, hi. Guess what? Zinashi started going to sleep all by herself and has done so for two weeks now, and then she told me that she wanted her baby sister to have her old Robeez, whereas before when I set aside things she'd outgrown, she'd declare, "NO Baby Sister take my stuff!" and then we found out that the agency we used for Zinashi's adoption was going to raise fees, but we could get in on the old fee schedule if we applied by September 1, and so then we applied and now we are starting our adoption process again. Kind of. We can't move very far forward just yet. But we can take this step, just this one step. For now.

In some ways this feels totally comfortable, and in other ways it feels like quite a leap. We've known since we started our first adoption that we'd like our children to come from the same country, if possible, and we knew as we moved through the process with our agency that we would feel good about using them again. But things are changing in Ethiopia, and there are concerns when it comes ethics, even if the agency strives to be ethical in all the processes, and it's all sort of uncertain right now. But we like the changes we are seeing, and we still believe that our next daughter may well be in Ethiopia. I have more to say about that, and will, but later.

The other big snag at this time, of course, is that we didn't plan on beginning our process just yet. We were waiting to find out about some big life changes before proceeding. We were going to go on our trip with Zinashi before we started worrying about saving for our next adoption. We were going to do a lot of things in a different order. But we were going to do a lot of things in a different order when it came to Zinashi's adoption, too, and we all know how that turned out. It turned out to be perfect. The best kid for us, at the best time, in the best way. I think this will end up that way, too. Even if we don't have any money saved yet. Even if we don't know when we'll be able to start our home study because we don't know where we'll be living in six months (or three months! or a year! I'll stop before I explode from the uncertainty!).

I'll fill you in on the nitty gritty later. We'll talk about age requests. We'll talk about ethics. We'll talk about special needs and why I think it is so important that more families be open to them (oh, yes, I will go there). We'll talk about all kinds of things that might bore you to tears or thrill you to hear. I promise. But for now, I'll show you why we have pets. It's because no one wants Baby Sister to be the one to be subjected to this:


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