Sunday, December 28, 2008


Week Seven was wonderful.  Christmas and family time.  Some of our favorite surprises where TOM's shoes  for Eliza and booties for me, knowing that two other people would also be receiving new shoes.  Yes, we had soccer - I am seeing a pattern.  We were all thinking that the next year would hold a even more wonderful gift....a new member(s) to the family.

Andrew left for Florida yesterday with one of his best friends-Robby (the handsome young man in the picture with Eliza).  I love that kid.  If he looks familiar it is because he and his sister found Cell Phones for Soldiers.  There are so many amazing kids out there.... I already miss the energy that Andrew brings to the family.  When he is around, the house is filled with big 16/17 year old, cleats galore, Axe (to disguise the sweat), and loud rough housing.  Needless to say, it is quiet and fresh smelling.  What am I going to do when he is at college?

We have been doing a lot of thinking and praying.  We are thinking about lifting the infant preference on our adoption preference.  We have been doing a lot of soul searching.  There seems to be a long list of people waiting for a baby and a long list of children waiting for families....The only thing holding us back at this point is the headache to change our documents, and a small amount of fear about attaching.  Any insight?  Post or email me.  We are open to learning.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

Messiah and Marshmallows

Week six finished.  Sometimes I wonder if counting makes it go slower.  I continue to count though, to share with our little one later.

Yesterday, in a mini-course at an area church we went over Handel's Messiah.  The music is beautiful, the history intriguing, and the relationship to scripture enlightening.  While, I was going to be crazy busy, I am so glad that I took the two hours to actually enjoy and appreciate the season.  I will not be able to listen to the Messiah without the new found appreciation.

What an incredible week it has been for Gladney families.  So many got through court on Wednesday.  There are a couple who did not, and I feel for them.  I can imagine how such disappointment must draw on their reserves.  

We are preparing for a big winter storm.  School has already been canceled for Andrew and the younger kids have an early release day.  We made marshmallows last night in preparation for hot chocolate today.  It is so easy and so good... so here goes.  

Marshmallows  (Ina Gartner)
3 pkgs gelatin
1 cup water (divided)
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1c light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
confectioners sugar for dusting

Mix the gelatin and 1/2c cold water in large mixing bowl.  Let sit.  In a small saucepan, mix 1/2c water, sugar, salt, and corn syrup.  Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase temperature and cook until syrup reaches 240 degrees on candy thermometer.  Remove from heat.  With mixer on low speed add syrup to gelatin mixture until gelatin dissolves.  Increase speed to high and mix for 15 minutes until very thick.  Add vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Generously dust 8x12 in non-metal baking dish with confectioner's sugar.  Pour mixture over sugar.  Dust top with more confectioner's sugar.  Sit overnight, uncovered, until dried out.  Turn over the next morning and cut into squares.  You can also find fun things to dust with (crushed peppermint, coconut, sprinkles, shaved chocolate, etc).  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Week Five, Exams, Ornament Hospitals, and other Christmas happenings.

A busy week that flew by.  

I had my A&P exam and lab exam.  I am so glad it is over and that I did well.  Nursing school is more and more competitive so I need to do well.  

I am relieved to have it done, though.  I now can savor Christmas.  I did not want to decorate, read the stories, make the cookies and gingerbread houses until I could really enjoy it.  This weekend we will get the tree. (I know you are thinking she is so late....I am.  When I was a kid, I saved my favorite Halloween candy until the end...this too... I save my most favorite things to when there is nothing to detract, no obligations hanging over our head.  We will play our Christmas music, have eggnog, and decorate the tree.  One of the fun things that we do, is have an ornament hospital as we decorate.  Any ornaments that broke during the previous year or during unpacking go to the ornament hospital.  Someone triages them and someone else fixes them.  We staff the hospital with super glue, hooks, and various little items.  Occasionally there is no hope but most of the time...they make it to the tree.

As for week 5 being finished... time is passing without much angst.  I know that the holiday makes it so.  The excitement makes the holiday even more special.  So far, so good.  The past few weeks,  friends have passed court and are preparing for travel and another got her referral for a sweet little boy, others are waiting.  What an amazing process- watching families being made and growing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Eliza!

The many faces of Eliza.  Happy 14th birthday.  Fourteen things I love about you! (And it was hard to limit the list:)
1. I love you for wanting nothing for your birthday but to sponsor a three year old named Temesgan from Ethiopia. (She found a sponsorship program through World Vision that allows her to write to him.)
2. I love that you want to go to John Hopkins to be a Pediatric Surgeon.
3. I love that you might be the goofiest 14 year old that I have ever known.
4. I love that you don't care if you are not the best dancer or singer but dance and sing anyway.
5. I love that you love the underdog.
6. I love that you love to read.
7. I love that you love your brothers.
8. I love that you have a heart for adoption even before your parents did.
9. I love that you choose Vivien Thomas as your person to research for your history project.  (if you don't know who he is look him up, I did...he is amazing.)
10. I love your heart shaped lips and face.
11.  I love that you love horses and dogs when all the other girls your age love shoes and purses.
12. I love that you want to go to Africa and work when you are older.
13. I love that you loan your older brother money to take his girlfriend out.
14. I love that I get to be your mom... what a privilege.  You have taught me so much.

Happy Birthday Eliza!  

Friday, December 5, 2008

Week Four

Week four down.  I have posted already about the sense of peace we have been able to maintain.  We are so excited about the family that passed court and the family that got their long awaited referral.  This family need to pass court to bring home their boy.  As these families are made, it gives us a sense of hope and anticipation. 

Since, I am using this as a journal of sorts...We had Andrew's soccer banquet, this week.  He was selected as Catholic Conference (Div.1) all-star for the second year.  He also was selected as a varsity team captain.  He is so flat line about it.  I love that about this boy.  If he had not made it, he would have been happy for his friend that did.  The challenge is to keep these athletes healthy and well balanced.  I think a baby in the house is in order.  That will keep him balanced :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shots (part 1) - Check

We went yesterday to get our shots.  Jason and I need so many that they split it up between two visits. Now, to be fair, they added some that they thought we needed that are not Ethiopia specific... like the flu vaccine.  Little steps like this really make us feel like we are doing something towards the process.  Trust me, my arm is a reminder - it aches, today.  I have four more to go.  Jason has five more to go.  The kids are done, thankfully.

Various thoughts.  We lit the first advent candle on Sunday.  We talked about the symbolic significance of the first candle.  Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.  Mark 13:33 Preparing, being alert, being watchful.  The wise men and the shepherd men waited for a sign.  This Christmas we have a new found awareness of what the waiting for the wise men and the shepherd men felt like.  The underlying anticipation and excitement.  They did not know the date.  They did not know what the sign would be.  With the adoption, we do not know when the call will come.  We do not know when we will travel.  We must wait, watch, and prepare, knowing it will happen but resigning and enjoying the "not knowing" of the details.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it. -William Arthur Ward

I have begun my list... it is long, and in no particular order.  I will keep adding so next year I can see where I was.

1. family, near and far, known and unknown
2. friends, gold and silver
3. health and strength of body and mind
4. food when I am hungry
5. CBS and all that I have learned
6. warmth in the chill of a New England winter
7. life and the many textures of experiences
8. the uncertainty and endless possibilities associated with adoption (one, two, when, who)
9. the perspective that having children brings to me
10. the quality of peace
11. music
12. science and the wonder of it all (Anatomy and Physiology I)
13. great books
14. house and home (so grateful for both)
15.  husband (being lucky enough to me married to someone who loves being married)
16. dogs (and what they have taught me)
17. the color pink (have you ever seen a color that embraces happiness and joy more?)
18. babies and the qualities they bring out in us
19. movies
20. coincidences (God's mini-miracles)
21. A God that adores us and has an even more amazing plan that we can even imagine
22. a car and the opportunities that it allows the kids
23. surrogate grandmother that lives next door to 3 children with no grandmother
24. neighbors 
25. teachers that care
26. doctors and nurses (they have made a career out of nurturing the body)
27. role-models (Emily)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holidays and Missing

With Thanksgiving and Christmas, I find that I think about and miss my mother more than I normally do.  I don't think that it ever goes away, it just becomes more acute during the holidays.  To explain why, I have to tell you a little about what my mother was like.  By the time we lived in India she had had four children.  My brother was a few months old when she fell in love with and then adopted Sabrina.  They went on to adopt another, a boy who is now 13.  When I came home from college, I never knew who would be living in the house.   A single mother, a down-on-his-luck young man, a young lady who needed someone to care... our house was full, whether it be children, or adults.  My mother never raised her voice-I mean never (okay,maybe twice).  She was incredible loving.  She almost never wore make-up and use to drive me crazy because she would pair a beautiful cashmere sweater with a flannel skirt.  There where two rules that are front and center that she taught me and that I continue to repeat to my children: 1. if you have nothing nice to say don't say it (she never gossiped-I try not to but I am not as successful as she was.)   2. what drives you crazy in other people, is a reflection of a characteristic that you have and struggle with - greed, pride, etc.  (unfortunately, I have come to realise that this one might also be true.)

Five and a half years ago, she was walking my youngest brother across the street to his First Holy Communion.  She was struck by a car in the cross walk.  She was able to push Chris.  I don't think that he even had a bruise.  She died soon after the impact.  I never met the man who hit her.  The six of her children have dealt with the loss in different ways.  I have felt that God has given me the gift of forgiveness.  I did not want to be angry at the man who hit her or God.  To this day, while I miss her, I have never been angry about the details of the day.  I am so thankful that we had had our daily talk earlier in the morning.

That brings me to the missing part.  My mother was an incredible cook and baker.  As the wife of a diplomat, she had made an art of it.  So, every holiday that involves food....I sometimes forget that she is not here and go to call her for a question on some recipe. Or, I start crying when I making one of her pies.  By the time the pies are made, the turkey stuffed, I have worked it out and am back to being thankful for having had her for 35 years.  It has made me more empathetic when my friends lose loved ones.  

So to the adoption part.  I wonder, too, if the experience may give me a grain of understanding as what the newest member of our family may experience around his/her birthday or other milestones.  Will he or she struggle with missing someone or somewhere, or doing something like making pies?  Will he/she even be able to articulate the feeling?  Will he/she be too young to register much?  

Friday, November 21, 2008


Week 2.  

Not too much to tell, this week.  I would characterize the mood in the house as patiently excited.  It is so cold in New England.  Andrew is in Florida for National Finals for Super Y.  Before I had a soccer player, this would have been Greek.  How did he get so lucky to be in the relative warmth?  His soccer season with his high school is officially over.  He knows that he made his conference all-star and he will also be captain next year.  In all, a nice way to end the season.  Last year he was an all star as well, but he also fractured his hip.  I was more concerned about the injury than I was excited about him making all-star.  I was not convinced he would be able to play again.  What a difference a year makes!

Eliza and a friend are so excited to see the Twilight movie.  Zach and I will find something fun to do together.  I will have to find some time to study for my A&P final coming up.

A few referrals came in this week.  It is so exciting to see families being made and growing.  We are starting to think about the bedroom configurations.  This is the first time that I feel no pressure to get a nursery set up.  The first time that I am willing "to fly by the seat of my pants."  It is actually fun, to not know the who, the how many, and the when.  Let's see if I still think that it is fun in month 6!  I think not.  

Friday, November 14, 2008


Week one complete.  I am a person who likes to check things off the list.  I have been thinking a lot about the process of waiting.  I have friends who are in different stages of the waiting... waiting for court, waiting for referral, waiting for CIS approval, waiting for an appointment, waiting for travel.  I remember when the kids were small that I was always looking forward to the next phase, walking or speaking or whatever the next developmental stage was.  What is it about us that makes us resist the moment, or day that we have been given?  Why can we sometimes be at peace with the moment and then at other times we are but a small sail boat in a vast ocean taken over by a hurricane.  I can identify two days in particular that the winds of the hurricane knocked me off kilter.  I was crazy.  Both of those times were connected directly to my expectations.  Jason has a saying, "expectations are the root of resentment."  Both of those days, paperwork was late, with no explanation.  I had paced myself to wait until those dates, and then when the date changed... I was unprepared.  I am going to count these weeks that go by because I am a list person, but I am going to try and not expect the referral.  

The other part of the equation that his hit me squarely in the heart is that while we wait with joy and excitement, a world away there is a story playing out that is filled with sadness and tragedy.  How do you honor that and wish away the time?  How I have chosen to honor it, is to be more present to my children, to prepare them for their new sibling, to connect and learn from the people who are that many steps ahead of me or behind me in the adoption process and to pray for the birth family.

So all in all, a great week has gone by.  Soccer is quieting down (although, Andrew has Nationals in Tampa next week).  School is picking up.  

Friday, November 7, 2008

Officially waiting!

One step closer to adding a little one to this group!

Who knew that I would be so excited about waiting?  We are now officially n the wait-list.  If you could read my journal entry today, it was on waiting.  I was at a good spot with waiting.  I understood that I was operating on God's time.  So I get home.... and guess what, I am informed that we are on the wait-list.  The irony of waiting to be on the wait-list is not lost on me.  Each step of waiting gets more challenging.  I imagine that waiting to "meet"  my new little one/s will be much tougher.  But, what about waiting for the court date, and then waiting to travel, once you have seen the eyes of your new child?  In CBS this weeks lesson had the undercurrent of patience. "God's timing is not ours. Waiting on God's timing grants us perspective and reminds us Who is in charge." Was He speaking to everyone or just me? So begins, the next phase of waiting. 

So the count down begins.  If and when we get close to 6 months, I may start going crazy, again.  

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I love my mailman, tagged, and halloween

Pic 1.  
First, it came.  The 797c came today.  I was getting so frustrated.... why does the mail take one week from Boston?  If it had been a bill it would have taken 24 hours.  I am so excited to fed-ex it to KSB who is doing our dossier.  I will keep you posted, next step will be to let you know that we are on the wait-list.  Yeah!

Pic 2.
Second, we were tagged again.  A fun one, sixth picture in our sixth album.  A sweet picture of baby Mike.  He is our second foster baby.  He is also the baby that Zach is hugging if you scroll down on Zach's birthday post.  He is part African American, part American Indian.  Zach use to tell people (and truly believed) that Mike "looks just like me as a baby."  Mike was with us for 12 weeks.  He was so smart.  He wore his senses on the surface and we had to transition him carefully.  He was sensitive to changes in tone, light, temperature, and position.  We caught on quickly.  He also did not sleep a lot, so Jason would take him in the middle of the night and watch ESPN with him.  We make a scrapbook for the baby and the adoptive (or birth parents) of the time that we have the baby in our lives.  This was one of the pictures from Mike's scrapbook.

Pic 3 and 4
Third, Andrew and a bunch of BC High boys made a haunted house for the Boys and Girls Club of the city.  They had so much fun thinking up ways to entertain (scare) these kids, providing a safe environment for them to go.  I love his high school.  It takes every opportunity to teach these boys to think of others.  They see these boys as agents of good in the world.  They see them as working "ad majorem dei gloriam" (for the greater glory of God).  While, the pictures look gruesome, pasta and paint and masks provide a  scene that makes 60 5-12 year olds opt out of the street scary scene on Halloween and opt in to a safer but fun scary.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


After three weeks in the black hole, our originals documents showed up at USCIS.  Now, we wait for the i171h.  When I think about the "lost time,"  I get so frustrated.  I have to think that the wait is productive in some fashion.  Is it to prepare our hearts?  Is the wait to give a mother some time with the child who will become ours? 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Zach!

Zach turns 10 today.  The many faces of Zach.  He loves soccer.  He loves babies.  He is quirky and affectionate.  He is also tough as nails.  Happy Birthday!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Beautiful New England Saturday

On this beautiful Saturday morning.  I find that I am in the house alone.  Eliza is off riding.  Zach and Jason are off at a soccer match about an hour away.  Andrew is at his team's soccer match, watching.  I have just completed my CBS lesson and have moved on to studying for my Anatomy and Physiology test.  Before that though, I have decided to sit and pray for a moment for:

Biopsy.  My father who is raising Chris (age 13) alone goes in for a biopsy next month.  My parents adopted Chris when he was a few years old.   My mother was killed five years ago (long story for another day).  For Chris's sake and the rest of us, we need everything to be okay.

Mild concussion.  Andrew got a mild concussion in the game on Wednesday.  He is out for today's game but hopefully will be back playing this next week, strong and healthy.

Lost paperwork. Still waiting for our i171. They needed to see some original documents, so we sent them those over a week ago.  Did I say that they are the originals that seem to be lost?  I keep thinking, "in God's time." They will find them. We will eventually get the i171.  It is an exercise in patience and peace.

Blog friends.  Needing a successful court date or for their baby to be revealed.

Samuel.  Most of you know who I mean.  He and his family have been at the top of my list.  

The list keeps getting longer and I have gotten less shy to ask for prayers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Does patience = peace?

Small steps in the adoption front.  We had our conference call with Jessica at Gladney.  She seems lovely.  I am at peace with the wait (at the moment).  I came out of the talk though, thinking.  The closer we get the further it seems.  As we get closer the wait time seems so much longer and painful.  There is a Chinese proverb that says he who knows patience knows peace.  I am not sure if Rebecca, Lori S, and Chelsea would agree ( just to name a few.)  I am so praying for them.  They have been so patient.  Maybe when we surrender to God's time, we know the peace.  I don't know.  I do know that at some moments I am so at peace and others I am so crazy.  They seem so peaceful and are handling this wait so gracefully that when I get to where they are, I can only hope that I handle it as well.

Going to a talk tonight on Surviving the Teen Years While Keeping Your Sanity at BC High. I will have tons of food for thought. Most importantly, I think she is approaching the issues with a sense of humor. I absolutely subscribe to that. I am sure I will feel compelled to write on that.

So have I mentioned (this week) that I love CBS?  I do.  This week , a couple things hit me.  How do I decide what impact people have in my life?  How often do they tell me what they know I want to hear?  Do I/we listen or take advice from a talk show host, a radio commentator, friends , "experts"?  Not bad, just notice who influences us.  Why do I turn to God for the crisis or big decisions but ask for no guidance with the small ones?  hmmmm  This week I am going to write down all the small or big decisions (should we move to a bigger house? should we change our referral? what do I need to do about a friend who just does not "get" disrupting the balance and adopting? -to-  how should I decorate the sun room?  what should I make for dinner?-just to name a few)  Instead of going to the usual source of advice, I am going to prayerfully ask for answers.  ("You may be surprised at how faithfully He answers when you get into the habit of asking Him for advice."- from the Community Bible Study workbook)  I also realized how much I miss my mother who died a little over five years ago.  She was amazing at helping me to reflect without telling me what I wanted to hear or what she wanted me to do.  Oh well.  

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cooking and Community

We had our Ethiopian cooking class at my house yesterday.  I love the people that came.  Some have adopted.  Some are adopting.  Some are single, some married.  Some have/are adopting siblings, older boy, babies... Basically we are all coming from a different perspective to the same point.  We all have an invested interest in Ethiopia.  I truly enjoy these parents.  It was a a great community experience.
Elsa, previously a restauranteur in Addis, came a prepared several dishes for us.  We watch and tried to take in as much as we could.  Bottom line, it was so second nature to her, and so new to me, that it would be difficult for me to recreate.  I am learning.  Small steps.  If I can get recipes, I will post them.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I was tagged by Emily.

1.  I grew up in a bio/trans-racial adoptive family.  My parents had 4 children, adopted a girl while we lived in India, and adopted again several years later.  The youngest is 13, now.

2.  One of my sisters was/is a "super-model" (has walked the cat walk, been on Vogue, ELLE, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, etc... been on Conan O'Brien) My brother played for the Blue Jays. Another sister worked for Reagan and Bush (senior).  Thus, I have always lead the most regular life in my family.  Some might say boring.  Boring can be beautiful - absent of drama and filled with love.

3.  I have to end every meal with "dessert" or something sweet.

4.  My family did not have a TV until I was a senior in high school, so I missed out on all those shows like The Brady Bunch.

5.  I love to read really well written children's books. I just finished the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and just started The Tale of Despereaux by the same author.  I am reading  it to myself and then will read it to Zach when we are finished with the one that we are reading together.

6.  I turn into "the wicked witch of the west" after 9.  No really!  I can be peaceful and patient until the clock says 9pm.  

7.  When my kids were little, after 4 they had to practice "peace-ability" - the ability to be peaceful.  I have a noise thing.  I can't always tolerate loud noises.

That was actually fun!  Off to a soccer game and then cooking class at my house.  I will post pictures and hopefully recipes, soon.  Here are some of my favorite blogs or people who have played a special role in our adoption process.

I tag, :
1.  Lori
2.  Lori S
3.  Katy
5.  Chelsea

Have a wonderful weekend.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Humanitarian Aid

A friend took this picture.  Since this is what we spend a bulk of our time doing, I thought that I should post it.  

We have been thinking a lot about the Humanitarian Aid that we want to do for the orphanages.  Just trying to think on it because Andrew is on this board of students that mobilize other student involvement in community service.  In CBS last week the following quote struck me:  "It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him."   (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)  I think that we may have been going about it the wrong way.  I believe that we have to be patient and be open to anything. 

 There was another time in our lives that I was selfishly fearful and decided to remain open to the experience, to God's hand in our lives.  Four years ago, a friend mentioned to me that Catholic Charities needed help because a baby was due, the mom was making an adoption plan but was not finished, so they needed a place for him/her to go.  Would I consider doing it?  It would be two weeks, tops.  My thought was, "I can do anything for two weeks."  Then I talked to the SW and found out that the typical placement took 8 weeks.  Now that was scary.  I would have to give up my "life" for that long?!  I could not go to the gym.  What about my regular nights out with Jason?!  Instead of walking away, we decided to let God do his work.  It was an amazing experience.  No, I could not go to the gym.  No, we did not get much sleep.  No, we did not get out as much as we normally do.  The trade offs were huge.  Two of my friends signed up to do it, as well.  The people we met!  The children we loved!  The path it brought us down!  Wow!

So back to the Humanitarian Aid, any ideas?  

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gladney Approved

We are officially Gladney approved.  I know, I know you thought we were already.  Today it is official.  We are waiting for the 171, now.  After that.  We should be on the wait list.  Yeah!

We are doing an Ethiopian cooking class at my house next Saturday.  So excited to learn about making the food.

I ordered a book/cd set to learn some Amharic.  Some of the fun is in the preparation, but I can hardly wait to hold and snuggle our new little girl or guy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


One of the exercises in CBS (community bible study) was to identify your priorities by looking at your checkbook and your calendar.  This one, was eye opening.  We spend an inordinate amount of time at soccer, playing it or coaching it.  It is interesting to see where we give of most of our time and money.  Are these areas really our priority?

That being said, fall is underway.  Both boys play on two teams.  Andrew's high school team is doing well.  More importantly he has stayed healthy.  We are only half way through the season, so prayers would be greatly appreciated.   He had a serious concussion spring of '07 and an avulsion hip fracture fall '09.  I take nothing for granted.  I pray during the games - for all of the boys.  Zach is also doing well.  That boy can not get enough of soccer.  Eliza is doing crew and riding (her passion).  Jason is coaching two teams and playing soccer, as well.  Soccer, soccer,  and more soccer.  (The only thing I can say in defense of how much time we spend with soccer is that we do it as a family.)

Andrew is driving.  In MA you get your learner's permit at 16 and 6 months later your license.  I hate it.  The first night he was driving home from school (highway driving) I thought that I would be sick to my stomach.  It has gotten easier (a bit), but I miss when I had to strap him into the stroller.

As for me, I am loving my classes.  CBS has been great.  I love history.  I love the Ethiopian connection.  I love the lessons.  I am excited to learn more about the book that is central to my beliefs.  Anatomy and Physiology, too, has been great.  the professor is very nice but not a great teacher.  I love the material, though, so I don't mind reading the text.  The only downside to all the learning is sometimes, I am exhausted at the end of the day.  I am trying to be mindful of that, to save some energy for Jason. Last night, we played backgammon while we talked, and the older kids finished homework.  We use to play backgammon all the time in college.

On the adoption front, I fed-exed our notarized home study to CIS and to KSB, yesterday.  That should complete our 1600a (we completed our fingerprints this summer).  I will wait for the 171. While we are waiting for the paperwork phase to be closed out, I went to a workshop on  Building your family through Birth and Adoption.  Great food for thought.  How do you building a cohesive unit and celebrating differences?  Today, I am participating in a workshop/webinar on how/when to share the difficult story with the adopted child (Ethiopia specific).  While waiting on the paperwork, I love the classes as a way to stay connected to the process.  

My goal is to get our calendar in balance with our true priorities.  

Saturday, September 27, 2008


The foolish mans seeks happiness in the distance; the wise man grows it under his feet. - James Oppenheim

We are not officially on the wait list but it is getting close, very close.  When I saw this quote by Oppenheim, it struck a chord. 

Adoption, I have discovered is about waiting.  Different periods of waiting.  Waiting for an appointment.  Waiting for CIS.  Waiting for the wait list.  Waiting for the referral.  Waiting for the court date.  Waiting for travel.  Waiting.  I remember waiting when I was pregnant, but I had an end date.  You have a boundaries that are concrete.  The first trimester is a defined period.  The second, too.  And even the third.  None of the waiting periods in adoption are set by a number of days.  There is such a pull to think about the future.  To plan for the future.  To dream about the family we are to become.  Is it at the expense of the family we are today?  I have been working hard to not let tomorrow be the thief of today.  It is so hard.  I am making a concerted effort to enjoy the calm in the house.  Being able to watch the soccer matches without interruption.  The relative ease that 3 children are.  The time I have with Jason.  The routines that we have established.  The discussions at the dinner table that are almost adult-like.

I know that life will be chaotic and exhausting for a while (maybe a long while) after we have our new child/ren.  Yet, we wait with excitement.

Friday, September 19, 2008

a fall favorite

Zachary loves banana bread.  This might be his favorite recipe.  Whenever we buy bananas, we usually have a few that we don't eat before they brown.  Those, I freeze so I have a constant supply of over-ripened bananas for this recipe.

Banana Bread

1 1/2 c. flour 
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda  
1 stick butter (1/2 c.) melted or softened
1 tsp. vanilla  
1/4 c. orange juice
1 egg  
2-3 ripe bananas

Mix by hand.  Pour into a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for one hour or until inserted knife comes out clean.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I pray that God does not grow impatient with ME!

God must look at me and just shake His head.  Why is He just not done with me, I wonder.  When will I learn?  To quote a fellow blogger...I am a slow learner.  Really, I am.

Just as I finished the post below.... I got the email from Gladney saying.... all set. No problem, a few revisions will be made and then they will go out to KSB, CIS, CIA, and KGB.  Just kidding on the last two.  

I will learn patience.  Eventually.  Won't I?  

I will sleep better tonight.

Now for a bit of inspiration go to this blog.  She is also the one that said she was a slow learner.  I think not.


Okay, so Gladney has had my home study for review since last Monday.  They did say it would take up to 10 business days to review.  Okay, that would mean tomorrow.  Not any word, though.  It is killing me.  I am waiting to be on the "wait list."  I am going to be horrible when we are waiting for a referral.  I am going to be even worse when we are waiting to go pick up that sweet child/ren.  Have I mentioned that I am impatient?  Have I mentioned that I hate waiting?  I was okay until this afternoon.  Then it all fell apart.  (I feel like I am back in 2nd grade.  What if I/we don' get picked?  What if they don't think we are good enough?  Why haven't we heard?)  For all of you who waited with grace...I need a lesson, quickly.  Gosh, I really have not even made it on the wait list and I am not doing this with much grace:)  

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wisdom and a discerning heart

This will be a somewhat scattered blog.

We went to our first Ethiopian celebration on Saturday.  We went to Enkutatash in Boston.  One of the families we were hoping to see, could not make it but we ran into other families that we knew and another PAP that I have become friendly with.  It was great to experience the food and a part of the culture.  The Ethiopian people who were there were so gracious and welcoming.  The are a beautiful people, and I do not mean simply in the physical sense.  We felt honored to be accepted into the group.  The kids tried Ethiopian food for the first time.  Initially, they were expecting it to be really spicy and they actually found it pretty mild.  Seeing the young children there, made us yearn for our child/ren.  Soon.  Patience.  Check out the stars of the party.  Eliza and her friend Justine think they are wonderful.  I have to agree.  Also, very rarely do you see a mom so comfortable in her role.  She is amazing, too.

In the Bible Study class that I am taking we are studying 1 Kings and 2 Kings.  I love history.  King Solomon is the first king that we are studying.  He apparently was a great king.  There is a strong connection between Queen of Sheba and King Solomon (I love this connection to Ethiopia).  The only thing King Solomon asked God for was a "discerning heart" with which to rule his people.  So I look up show good judgement.  Have you heard of the story in the bible about the two mothers fighting over the baby, each demanding that the baby was theirs.  I had, but did not know the names of the characters.  King Solomon was the king that said that he would cut the baby in half so that the mothers could share the baby.  The true mother replied that the other mother was the correct mother to save the infant.  King Solomon then knew who the true mother was.  (Please forgive the paraphrasing.)  

Given where we are in our life, this study has given me so much guidance.  I, too have asked for a discerning heart so that we can make a sound decision on the age, gender, medical issues, number of children, etc that we will be adopting.  I want to do what is right for the family that I have and the family that we are to become.  I also love the story of the two mothers.  In adoption, there are two mothers.  It is a reminder of the awesome responsibility we will have to our new child and the mother that is left with her arms empty.  I will need to be mindful of how we honor her, and keep her dreams for this child ever present.

Blogging experience.  One of the families that walked into the event on Saturday looked so familiar. I could not place them.  Why did I know them?  It took me a moment and then...I realized that I had been following their blog.  She was lovely. It is fun to meet in person, though.  Check her blog out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Jug stands for Justice Under God at a Jesuit high school.  It means detention.  Andrew has gotten one since he has been at BC High - for not making his friends clean up after themselves.  yes, we are responsible for our friends.  As a mother, I say thank you BC high.  His future wife will also say thank you.

I needed to laugh about Andrew.  He is driving Jason and me crazy!  Actually his cell phone is.  We have a rule that he needs to leave the cell phone downstairs to charge it after a certain time.  Yes, he does need a phone.  He calls us to let us know when he gets on the train, how he is getting home, etc.... Well, he has been sneaking it upstairs to talk to his girlfriend.  Long story short it has become a battle.  Silly, I know.  My solution is:  when you disregard the rule.  I get your phone and you get mine.  I am sure L and R (his gfriend and best friend) will enjoy catching up with me.  I have not had to follow through with that but I hate the battle.  Oh well.  Teenagers.

Learning patience

I am not even on the wait list yet and I am learning how to wait.  Do we ever get good at it?  Gladney has our home study.  It takes 10  business days to review it.  Meanwhile, we keep imagining who or how many we are missing from our dinner table.  Reading the blogs of the families who have recently brought home their babies has been a tylenol for the waiting headache.  I am normally a type A personality that has more than enough to do... now put that on Red Bull.  I signed up for my Anatomy and Physiology class and lab.  I signed up for a bible study (had my first class and love it).  I am working at Williams-Sonoma.  Sit on the steering committee for a fund raising for my junior's school.  Trying to fit in yoga, time with my friends, cleaning the house, and cooking.  By the way, I get all this done while the kids are at school because I am a stay at home mom.  Do you see a pattern?  It is a form of nesting for me.  Get everything done before our sweet pea gets to us.  Most of those items have an end date.  An end date that will be before we will travel.  So meanwhile, I get my comfort from seeing other families made and competed.  

This weekend we are going to the Ethiopian New Years Celebration close to Boston.  We are bringing two of our kids (Andrew has a game in Maine), one of their friends, and a good friend of mine.  We will see new friends there.

Love does not make the world go around; Love is what makes the ride worthwhile. 
-Franklin Jones

Saturday, September 6, 2008


The hard copy came today so that we could proofread it.  YEAH!  We need to look it over to catch any errors (Zach's age, my sister's age, etc).  I can't believe that we are closing in on the end of paperwork.  I have one more document to send KSB other than the homestudy.  The homestudy will be sent to CIS, Gladney, and KSB (for the dossier). 

I remember when we first started the paperwork (June) how overwhelming it was.  I did not think that it could possibly be finished in a year let alone three months.  there is alot of hurry up and wait.  I see the finish line!

Friday, September 5, 2008

As of today, all the kids are in school.  The two younger ones started Tuesday and Andrew starts today.  He made Varsity for soccer so he has been scrimmaging/practicing for long hours. Zach and Eliza seem to have had a good week.  No complaints.  On Wednesday I had a neighborhood coffee for all the moms of elementary school kids.  It was nice to reconnect with them after the summer.  I had my first day of Anatomy and Physiology.  It was somewhat dry but, the prof was really nice.  Yesterday, Jason had Lasix surgery on his eyes.  Today he woke up not needing contacts or glasses!  big changes in the Morgan house.

Now on the adoption front...I feel like it is a comedy of errors.  On Tuesday we heard from KSB that 9 of our documents needed to be redone.  Apparently there was an issue with the language the notary used.  I guess that MA changed their language.  So, I scramble and get them off my To Do list. (I hate having things on the To Do list.)  I get them notarized and send them FedEx.  Now, why I am so anxious to get them back...I do not know.  We are still waiting for the hard copy of our home study, so nothing can really go anywhere.  I got an email last night hat all 9 documents have to be redone.  The notary's commission expires in 2/2009.  I almost burst into tears.  So I will run around today, get them finished and get them FedEx'ed.  Hopefully, then everything will be correct and then, we will have to simply wait for the home study.  I can hardly believe that there will be a  point that we will get to hold a new being after all this paperwork is done.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Zach and Eliza start school on Tuesday.  Andrew starts on Friday.  I start Anatomy and Physiology on Wednesday.  Eliza starts Crew.  Zach's starts soccer (two teams).  Andrew's soccer started last week.  As you can tell we reach a fever pitch.  Buckle your seat belts because the school year begins with what can feel like whiplash.  

In addition to my Anatomy and Physiology class, I have signed up for a bible study class on Wednesday.  Yes, I have always done devotionals but never a true bible study.  I have been amazed at some of my friends' faith and knowledge of the bible.  I figured that would be a great place to start.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Today is officially the last day of the summer vacation.  I actually get really sad.  I love having the kids home for the summer.  I love not having a rigid schedule.  I love not having to "steal" time for the family.  I do love new beginnings.  What can we do differently?  How can we be better friends, students, parents, volunteers?  We get a "do-over".  The kids get a do-over.  Do it differently if you did not do it well.  

Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.-Flavia Weedn  

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Adoption thoughts

Okay, this will be a little of a ranting. Apology upfront.

Most of my friends and family have been really supportive of our adopting. I have also made some new wonderful friends during the process. Thank you!!! We appreciate you.

Some background. I grew up over seas (Poland, India, Lebanon, Greece, and Germany). My parents have four biological children and one adopted from India. I grew up in a family that was multicultural, because of my sister. I would not change it for the world.

Some of our acquaintances have made comments that have left me thinking.

"I have heard some adoption stories that have turned out really badly."
What pressure this must be on an adopted child. I have heard so many wonderful adoption stories. I have also heard countless stories on bio kids that have been not so great :)

"What if they are not healthy?"  
This one I had to laugh.  I am fully expecting to spend a little time in the doctors office.  Luckily, he is a friend of mine.  Wow, I must have misplaced the warranty on my bio kids.  

"Why would you go back to the little kid stage when Andrew will be going to college soon?"
Oops, I guess I missed the memo that real life begins when the kids have moved on.  I really like my kids and their friends.  Yes, they can be naughty, trying, fresh, and just plain spoiled br_ts.  Most of the time though, they are wonderful.  

"What color will they be?"
Not sure, but I can guess.  They WILL be African.  (This one came from a stranger.)

These were just a few.  Most of the people are well meaning.  Most are wrapping their minds around something that we have had a little more time to process.

Last night Jason and I went to a pre-adoptive health seminar.  Dr. Miller went over many of the health situations found in int'l adoptions.  Scary but informative.  The most exciting thing was a couple we met who are also adopting from Ethiopia.  They were really nice.  Right before we were ready to leave... the husband said something about school... I asked what school.  He is a teacher at Andrew's high school.  Small world.  One of God's gifts.  A new friend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

40 and to do list done

Jason turned 40 yesterday.  I love this picture because it shows you a little what he is like.  The kids love being around him.  They are usually draped on him.  I am the stricter parent (usually).  He is really smart, humble, not given to anger, patient, and willing to not go along with the crowd.  If he does "not buy into something," he is more than willing to be alone rather than support something he sees as wrong.  He has a boyish sense of humor (sometimes annoyingly so).  I love that he still plays soccer even though he has had both knees reconstructed.  I love that he truly "sees" the kids.  I have known this man for over half of his life.  He still is my best friend and love of my life.  Happy Birthday Jason.

Adoption News:  We are done with everything that we have to do or fill out.  We had the 4th of 4 home study meetings yesterday.  SW thinks that it will take 1 week to get the hard copy to look over (we move to the top of the list because we have completed all our paperwork and training). At that point, the home study will be forwarded to Gladney, CIS, and KSB.  We will wait for Gladney approval and the I171 from CIS (we have already done our fingerprints for them).  When we receive the I171 we will send that to KSB.  At which point we will be finished.  Completely finished.  Waiting for the first look at our little peanut or peanuts.  For any of you who are new to the process, it can go quickly.  We made the decision to adopt on May 30, 2008.  Then we contacted Gladney.  It has been almost three months since we started the process.  

Monday, August 25, 2008

Using what we are learning

For the past three months we have been reading and watching adoption books and videos. I took a nutrition class, too. (Okay, that was for the nursing degree that I am pursuing to add to my int'l relations and art history degree that I already have.) It is amazing how the nutrition info will be great for our adopted child. Well the adoption books/videos have been great for parenting the bio kids. When my 16 year old says something in less than a respectful way which seems to be way too frequently, I have been using the Karen Purvis (Connected Child), "Let's try that again and this time with respect." It is driving him crazy but it is working.

J has his SW visit tomorrow. Then we wait for the hard copy which she has promised won't be long. We have the Adoption Health Seminar at Floating Children's Hospital on Wednesday. Then, school starts for all of us the following week. I am grateful for the distractions.  My class for the fall will be Anatomy and Physiology.  Between the kids, my class, and my very part-time job at Williams-Sonoma, I should be sufficiently distracted.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Journal Writing

For a while now I have been writing in a journal. Sometimes it takes on a list quality and sometimes it is deeper. I have been doing yoga now for a while. i was diagnosed with osteopenia (beginning stages of osteoporosis) when I was 32. For a while my doctor wanted me to take a medication. after 6 months of taking it I asked him how many 30 year olds in his practice take it. None. I stopped taking it and took up yoga. A few months ago I was retested for a third time and I no longer am in that category. I am "normal." Yoga is the only thing that I added into my life. Beside the health benefits of it, I love that i have learned to quiet a busy mind.

Yesterday, I started to look at the 8 principles of yoga. They include, prayer, concentration, breathe, and the physical poses, One of the things that yoga tries to get you to recognize is experiencing the moment. I have often said, "we plan, and God laughs." With the exercise of yoga, I have been a bit better at recognizing the moment. Last night, while writing in my journal, Zach curled up with me reading, and I savored the moment. His small blond head. His tan back. He hates reading but was doing it anyway. I do not want to wish the time away. I want to commit moments like this my memory. The practice of yoga also frees my mind of all the "stuff" making me more able to concentrate on the big picture and His plan.

So while we are in the waiting phase, I will be relying heavily on yoga and prayer to keep me grounded and calm. Not necessarily in that order :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Home study, braces

Our SW came to our home today. We have one more meeting . Next week. Then we are done. I mean done. Then we are waiting on her paper report. We started this process at the beginning of the summer and we are closing it at the en of summer. Then we are simply waiting for the referral. It seems like we have been doing this forever but it really has gone quickly. She does not expect our written to take very long either. There have been times in this process that I have been truly terrified. That is when I have turned to Him. If this is not His plan, then close the door.

On a lighter note, Eliza got her braces off today! Right before school. We really did not care about the timing. It just worked out perfectly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fun Quiz. What color crayon would you be?

This was a cute quiz. Enjoy. I was black.

You are most like:


You are bold with a dark side. You make clear lines wherever you go, though you color outside of the lines. Many people may just see the surface of you and think you are merely plain, but you have a lot of depth to you as well.


Take this quiz: Which Crayola Box of 8 Color Are You?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


J and I celebrated our anniversary this weekend.  We had a quiet night out.  It goes without saying we had a great night.  I have the most fun when we are doing next to nothing and can talk and laugh.  We do love movies, fun activities, tours, and exploring, but when it comes right down to it, when we there is nothing but the two of us, we have just as much fun.  This next year will hold so much for us (love, adventure, healthy dose of fear of the unexpected and unknown, and faith).

The kids are predicting whether they will have a sister or a brother or both.  They all want and think that we will get siblings.  This is the breakout:

A:  8m girl and 2y boy
E:  10m girl and 2y boy
Z:  18m boy and 3y girl
mom: 10m boy and 3y girl
dad:  4m boy and 2y girl

So I pressed them for what they think the baby will be if it is just one.  This is the break out:
A:  6m girl
E:  8m girl
Z: 18m boy
mom:  6m boy
dad:  7m girl

Just dreaming!  

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Back from Chicago

We are gearing up for school.  The kids start in two short weeks.  I start Anatomy and Physiology in the first week of September.  I love beginnings.  New friend.  New teacher.  New notebooks.  New information.  New teams.  New hope.  A do-over for anything that you would have done differently.

On the adoption front, I think that we are only waiting for the completion of our home study! We have the second meeting next week and the fourth and final on the 26th.  Then we wait for Debbie's report.  Then that will go to CIS, KSB (foreign dossier), and Gladney.  We have nothing else outstanding.

I have been dreaming of our little one.  It changes from a boy to a girl and back.  Zach thinks that means that it must be both.  We have also fielded some interesting questions.  Most people mean well.  Why not adopt from foster care?  Why adopt and not have a baby?  Why Ethiopia?  We are trying to formulate a tactful way of answering the questions and some of the statements.  Sometimes people look at us like we have two heads.  We are so excited and anxious to get this little one home.  What will be a magnificent day for us will mean something much different for our little one.  He/she will be scared, sad, and alone.  Trying to manage both of these perspectives will be a large job.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Martha's Vineyard 2008

We had such a nice time away.  We met up with good friends.  We made new friends (more on that in a minute).  We came back refreshed.  What a wonderful time.  We had to cut it a bit shot because we have an appt tomorrow morning for biometrics for our I600a!!!  So excited.

We met a woman on the ferry over who had two bio boys and an adopted daughter from (of all places) Ethiopia.  E was a doll!!!!  she has been "home" for a year.   The mom was so nice and I immediately felt like I had made a new friend.  I have always felt that new friends where such an amazing gift from God.  She lives relatively close and she was so helpful.  I can not wait to see her on the "mainland".