Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Yesterday we went to the doctor, an International Adoption Specialist, who was incredible. He spent 2 1/2 hours with Judah, and GAVE HIM AN A+! Mommy and Daddy were immensely proud (although truthfully, I feel pride in my heart and toes when he does things like poop, so I'm not sure that "proud" is the right word - since it was so much more than that). After we went to the beach. All around, it was a perfect day (with the exception of a TB test, which Jude vehemently tried to fight, but didn't even cry over- again, nothing but pride and more pride).
Here's his announcement, which his Daddy made:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Since it's only fair to share some of the cuteness!

Happy 7 month birthday Judah!

To properly represent Jude, it should be noted that this is his usual state (unless he has lost his patience, which he has an abundance of...then he questions the adoption screening process and calls us rookies...For example, yesterday he tried to explain to me that he carries his weight in his belly and thighs, therefore, it doesn't matter how many pairs of pants I try to stretch over his middle, they are NOT made for his body shape, it's embarrassing to him, and trying more than 3 pairs at a time is just bad manners...but, we shouldn't talk about that).
When I'm not embarrassing him, Judah laughs constantly (often more intensely). Sign up for your visit (or just come by) to witness the goodness yourself.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I thought this parenting stuff was supposed to be hard?

Jude is so easy, happy, and just an all-round super cool baby! Here's a peek at the magic maker :)

Judah loves to read stories with his Daddy!

Judah doing what he does best (laughing and smiling)!

Just being the super cute babe he is!

Judah makes his Mommy so happy!

and Auntie Heather so happy!

and Grandma so happy!

and Grandma and Grandpa so happy!

We just love our little Jude SO MUCH! I cry all the time because I love him so much I feel like I just might burst. Here's another example of why:

Daddy's Second Post

As a new daddy, I felt I needed to learn more about taking care of a baby. So I went online and found these simple instructions. They are so helpful and easy to follow that I needed to share ... (click on the sample)

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I’m speechless. My words insufficient to explain the emotions (and I have felt them ALL) these last few days. I cannot talk about so much. I know that I will forever be different after this journey. I have been moved and touched and shaken to the core. I have cried openly. I have held tears until I thought I may pass out. I have gone into the bathroom from 3-4 AM and wept; you know, silently, in the fetal position, when you more just cringe and hold your breath and take moments occasionally to sniffle. My tears of joy from being united with my radiant boy have been met with tears from those losing him.
Today I went to the orphanage. The children were gorgeous with ready smiles, and I will always remember: their beautiful voices singing, how small I felt, how brave they were, how hard it was to pretend not to cry (who wants to watch people cry at your life?), and that I meant it when I said “I love you”, but how my love for these beautiful children feels so inadequate and pathetic. After the visit, I went to try to find answers for my Judah. I was unprepared for the pain in knowing he deserves more answers than he will ever receive.

My son is extraordinary. More than extraordinary, I just don’t know a bigger/better/more descriptive word. He makes the best jokes, and he makes a lot of them. Today he made Tommy laugh until tears were rolling down his face. He is also extremely generous about laughing at everyone else’s jokes. All around, Judah’s a good friend to all.

Judah’s Interests:
Eating- he has had many comments in regards to his size including “he’s HUGE!”
Playing, Dancing, Smiling, and Laughing
Loud kisses or quiet ones in the crook of his neck
Holding pretty girl’s hands (he has been caught reaching out and grabbing both Simret’s and Pacey’s hand, this move is followed by shameless flirty moves, which have included: boisterous laughing, bouncing up and down, running fingers through their hair, etc.)
His Nannys at the Thomas Center
Lights and shiny objects
Water fountains
Smiling at his parents in the middle of the night

Areas that Jude is NOT interested in:
Sleeping (although this has improved drastically through the week, so I may have to move this soon)
When mom and/or dad are not looking at him (this has happened only a couple of times and Jude is a benevolent ruler, willing to just talk with them about the situation)
When mom won’t let him shake paperwork right before the embassy appointment
His parents’ learning curve regarding frequency of feedings (they act like they have no idea how much dedication it takes to build and keep up the present bod).
Colds that make him sound like a pug.

Seriously, such a good good baby…and smart, too. He already says “mama”, “dada” and “I love you” in his second language. Tommy and I both heard it. ☺


Sunday, February 10, 2008


Today, we went on a walk to find lunch. As soon as we ventured outside of the Hilton fortress, we were met by an old-souled, finger-nail-bitten, 11-year-old boy. His name was Teddy, the youngest of four children. He attends primary school, likes black Mercedes (not VW bugs like Tommy and me) and wants to be a doctor (which after becoming, will be the owner of said black Mercedes). His English was excellent. Tommy is the friendlier of the two of us, with an unbelievable social thirst that needs to be quenched, much as this boy needed. Questions, many, many questions were asked and my husband, as they walked a few steps behind me, was happy to answer and ask in return. A half-mile down the road the three of us ate lunch. Were we conned out of the equivalent of $3? Most probably. Is it perhaps the “wrong” thing to do, perpetuating this over-friendly, hustling behavior? Possibly. Did we have a wonderful lunch talking with an amazingly interesting young boy whom we both fell in love with? Absolutely. We regret not making a deal with him from the beginning; “if you promise to practice English and tell us a bit about Ethiopia, can we buy you lunch?” Then it would not have seemed uncomfortable during the beginning of lunch, when he welcomed himself to a seat without being invited, and we would not have contributed to the nail biting that commenced during the meal. In the end, we got more than we gave. Just a lunch, but we will miss beautiful-eyed Teddy.

Welcome Home

We have arrived! Without even a hiccup. The flight was long- but we
were lucky enough to get a bulkhead (which my very leggy husband was
profusely happy about). It took about 1.3 painless minutes to get our
visa (no line, about 4 people waiting to help us). Our luggage also
arrived, which seemed like pure magic, and the minibus to take us to
the Hilton was ready and waiting. I don’t want to jinx it, but I
can’t believe our luck already. We are scheduled to pick up Judah
tomorrow morning, until then it is just the adventures of 2.
Right before we left, I mean, seriously minutes before walking out
the door, I received an ugly comment on my blog. I wasn’t initially
upset, as the words of the sad, crazy, and uneducated don’t typically
affect me. Although “typically” in my life, I am not leaving to be
united with my son. So, this was different. I tried to figure out why
the words of a miserable person made me pause. I realized it was only
sadness that I felt. Sadness that Jude’s world is not more beautiful.
Not more perfect. I am a dreamer by nature, and although I see
misery, I like to pretend that people are even more beautiful than
they are. Tommy once told me, “not everything can be beautiful.” I
felt a pinch of pride that I do try to make things beautiful, at
least through his eyes. It’s so easy to see the misery.
Although we have only been on this journey for a matter of hours, we
have come across an amazing surplus of beauty.

So, we left our house, me having mixed feelings - feelings that were
too surreal and lacking the tangibility to describe. Hope and fear
being most prominent. We parked our car and took a shuttle to the
airport. The shuttle driver, a wonderful Ethiopian man whose whose
love and pride in his country was readily available, gave us helpful
hints for our visit to Addis. He promised that he would be there to
pick us up when we returned to L.A., so he could meet Tesfahun (which
he said was the name of a revolutionary leader? I will have to look
this up).

We got on the first plane to DC and our flight number was #44. You
know how some people have favorite numbers? Like REALLY favorite
numbers…I like numbers, but I’m a fair-weathered-number-friend,
friendly to all. Tommy’s dad, on the other hand, is fiercely loyal to
number 44. This loyalty, I took as a sign…and guess what? All went

Our second flight, from Washington D.C., was also pleasant. Most of
the passengers were Ethiopian and I noticed something atypical
instantaneously. I’m a friendly bird. I smile at people A LOT. I once
asked Tommy is he was sometimes embarrassed about my “bubbly-ness”
with strangers (I can really take it over the top) and he laughed and
said “sometimes”…By the way, I’m not changing this. EVER. So, the
readily apparent difference between this flight and all others was
the friendliness. Generous smiles in return (AND SOME EVEN FIRST).
Heart-warming smiles. I instantly felt healed from the slightly blue
“Judah’s world isn’t beautiful enough for him” state.

The flight was interesting. It was mostly night while we were flying
over Africa. The sand dunes of Egypt and/or Sudan, for as far as the
eye could see while meeting the bright red sunrise, was impressive.
When we were flying over Ethiopia, I instantly had this sense of
pride. Pride so strong, that I had to sneaky cry over it. This is my
son’s country. This is his home. It was almost too much for me to
emotionally take. Then I would see an area that was so heartbreaking,
even from the distance of the airplane, that I had to hold my breath.
Tommy squeezed my hand and said, “I know.” We couldn’t talk about it,
and I don’t think I ever will. But, I know.

We landed in a very nice airport. The people were gracious, and as I
said NO glitches. Our driver said “Welcome home” and it didn’t even
seem cheesy. It felt genuine. As did his eyes. Another passenger in
our minibus was Ethiopian, going home to his and his wife’s families.
He thanked us for being global citizens and for our humanity. For
helping a child who has no one to help him. I didn’t know exactly
what to say, because each person I have met, seemed to give ME so
much. So much HOPE, something I felt slightly lacking when I was
leaving L.A. I’m a sucker for a warm smile.

We truthfully haven’t done much in the few hours we have been here. I
mean, we obviously have tried St. George’s beer and walked around a
bit. The jet lag is fairly intense, so I’m glad that we still have
today to try to become more cerebrally active before meeting our
Jude. I have learned in these few hours that I am passionately proud
of our son’s country. I cannot wait to bring him back. I cannot wait
to share with him the love I feel for the people. I am excited about
possible professional opportunities that may help make the visits
more than tours. I have so much to learn.

Tomorrow we get our boy! I am thrilled and anxious! Ethiopia is
beautiful. Last night I woke up many times. Sometimes I woke up with
a big smile, sometimes with a tear running down my face. This is very
representative of my feelings right now. I definitely feel alive.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thank you...

for all of these wonderful donations. We are packed and ready to go!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We are leaving for Ethiopia tomorrow!

I am busy running around the house giggling and pretending to do very important business. Just so you know.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pictures from Arnold, CA

Here I am with my good friend Parker and my nephew Dylan...

Here's Tommy, our nephew Dylan, Me, my friends Parker and Lorenzo, Aunt Judy, Nanny (Tommy's Grandma), Danny (bro in law) and his fabulous girlfriend, Celeste, who happens to be the mom of my friends Parker and Lorenzo...

Tommy and Dylan

The group again

Dylan, Parker, and Lorenzo hanging via Tommy and Aunt Judy

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tribute to Daddy-Friend

People have different names for their Fathers (Dad, Pop, Daddy, etc). Mine is Daddy-Friend. Today was a prime example of why he is considered a Daddy-Friend. He called, with concern and insight readily detectable in his voice, to say, "You probably wouldn't have thought of this, but, you will need a car seat. Do you have a car seat? I mean, have you thought of that? I wouldn't have thought of that ...". I assured him, with a chuckle, that yes, we do indeed, have a car seat. I'm so glad that I have a Daddy-Friend at times like these (times when I am losing sleep contemplating whether crib bumpers are soft, happy, colorful friends or death traps in disguise) to heighten my awareness that there may be parents somewhere in the space time continuum, that a week before being united with their children, may not have thought of the need for a car seat (I on the other hand, who is acutely aware of the fact that I could probably have more than one solid diagnosis of OCD, knew the consumer reports of every car seat ever evaluated over two years ago). Gotta love a helpful Daddy-Friend, he believes in safety first.
In other news, is anyone else losing sleep over the primaries? Regardless of political beliefs, it's crazy right? I don't know whether to be more anxious about leaving for Africa to pick up my son in 3 minutes or Super Tuesday in 1 minute!

We are leaving for Ethiopia in 83 hours!

hee hee!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Introducing Saoirse Bella!

My beautiful girlfriend was born January 27th and weighed in at 5 pounds 9 ounces! She is tiny, but strong...and I decided I like her more than anyone else likes her...I respect her thoughts and believe in her completely. Don't get me wrong, her parents seem to adore her, but I just think that I like her the most. Here's proof:

(I'm waiting for my sister to have the opportunity to share pictures of her before I show all the cuteness...and there is a lot of cuteness to be shared)

To tide you over, I will share a picture of the new big brother (my nephew Darrigan). I'm sorry that you have to tilt a bit, but if you risk it, you will see the look of someone completely satisfied with their NEW BIG BROTHER CAKE...which is important stuff.