Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day Three

Hyenas, Hippos, Donkeys, Camels, Goats, Cows, Birds, Jungle views, Coffee, Fruit, Beautiful babies asking for Highland (the brand name of the bottled water), Pictures, Monkeys*, Sleep, Singing, Dancing. Missing A.
Tommy was exchanging money inside the bank. The man begging clearly had nothing. He was persistent. While Judah was in the car, I didn’t want to attract too many people, so I said “no.”
“He’s sad mommy. We should give him something. I think he needs money.”
Judah was right.
“Ethiopia is sad mommy.”
My heart.
“Ethiopia is beautiful, Judah. But, yes, parts are also sad.”
I underestimated how wise and thoughtful my baby is. He sees and feels everything.
*As I am writing, a large monkey is sitting on the window-sill. He is facing the window, scanning in a criminal like way behind him. He’s thinking about breaking in. I’m convinced that he can undo the lock, so I scare him away.
I’m scared of monkeys.

Day Two

After reading my journal, I realized that sharing everything I wrote on Day Two would be too much. I never want to hurt A.
Here are the last few sentences...

We drove to Yigram, about 6 hours south. I closed my eyes and saw those perfect, almond shaped eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
I hate that I am a big part of the pain.
When we arrived in Yigram, a coffee ceremony was starting. I looked down the small slope, past the women preparing the coffee, and saw three hyenas about 50 feet away. The tree above the women was filled with huge vulture looking birds. Monkeys swung from the trees. I sat down and enjoyed the best coffee of my life. After the coffee, we slept in a Tukul and I dreamed about my A.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day One, Home on the Range

Today we met our girl. It was more than we could have hoped for.
I’ll start when we arrived in Ethiopia. It was about 2 AM.
Inside the airport, I was suddenly struck with a mixed sense of guilt and pride. Pride in what a beautiful person Judah has become. He’s only 3, but he makes me feel proud. In almost a school-girl-silly-excited way, I was excited to share his joy and belly laugh with Ethiopia. Yet, the larger part of me, felt guilt. Guilt for taking him away from this beautiful country. The first little stab happened at the airport restrooms. Yes, we were barely off the plane. The sweet woman who takes care of the restrooms smiled warmly at Judah and said “I love you, baby.” Judah was happy. In America, I know that he will have so much opportunity, which I am very grateful for, but he will not have restroom attendants say that they love him. He will not face love with each turn he takes. Walking out of the restroom, we filled out immigration paperwork. While we completed the paperwork, Judah found two friends to play with. I looked at the three Ethiopian boys, all the exact same size, flying their prized Turkish Air airplanes and laughing. Again, small stabs of pride and guilt. Next, we went to get our Visas. Judah made friends with the people working there. They played with him and teased him. He was happy. I was happy.
I think that I was so focused on the tasks at hand. Taking him to the restroom, immigration, visas, money exchange, luggage, spotting our driver, that I was unprepared for the emotion until it consumed me. I walked out of the airport and tears flew. Yes, I tried to hide them.
This was not an ugly cry moment, perhaps because I didn’t realize I was crying until I was wiping the flow from my face. It actually took me a moment for my brain to catch up to my heart. Almost three years ago, I was standing right here. Becoming Judah’s mom for the first time. Overwhelmed and happy. With our friends. The air felt the same. We were here. To meet our girl.
We got to our guesthouse, a mere 32 hours after we left our home. Judah stated, in a matter-of-fact style, “My home is beautiful. Ethiopia is beautiful. Our view is beautiful.” I felt joy from my toes to my hair and taking one glance at Tommy, with his sleepy-dazed-happy eyes, I knew he did too.
We slept for a few hours. I woke up quite a few times, counting the minutes until we could hug our girl. We got up at 7, took showers and got dressed. My nervous and tired mind questioned everything, even my simple outfit (I tried to figure out which colors would make me appear less intimidating, I went with purple, not sure why). We went downstairs and had breakfast. The beautiful girls at the guesthouse gave us toast with jelly, eggs, oatmeal and coffee. They gave Judah tea, which he thought was the most special thing that could have ever happened to him.
Our friendly driver arrived a few minutes before 9. I had butterflies about meeting my daughter.
I remembered visiting hours started at 10. We were running early. The rule follower part of me was happy when there was traffic and happier when we got lost. I needed to prepare myself for the moment. The moment that I have spent months obsessing over and had no plan for. At the same time, I didn’t think I could physically handle the prolonged anticipation. I’ve been waiting for months.
When we pulled through the gates, all the children came to greet us. I immediately recognized her. She did a sideways glance at the car and remained seated on the steps. The nannys took the children to a classroom in the back corner. Judah ran to play on the playground a few feet away. Sister told her in Amharic.
I kneeled down. She came over and leaned her tiny body on my leg, kissed my cheek, threw her arm around me and started gently playing with my hair. I smiled and told her “I love you.” The most beautiful voice in the world replied, “I love you, mama.”
My heart stopped. It’s been 12 hours and my heart has still not recovered.
She is beautiful. She just sat with us and gently stroked my back and played with my hair.
Tommy played silly peek-a-boo and eyebrow raising games. Her laugh was quiet. She hid her face and wrinkled up her nose.
Judah and A were so sweet to each other. They kissed one another. She quickly found humor in how easily he laughs and even humored him by playing on the playground with him.
Mostly, she seemed to prefer sitting on my lap and gently stroking my hair. I would point out a bird and a few minutes later she would point out a different one and say “bird” in the sweetest voice you’ve ever heard.
Realizing that my sweet husband had let me, not only have the first minute, but the first hour, I went to find Judah (who I found happily playing with kids and requested that he have some time to play without me). In the short few minutes I was away, Tommy taught A how to use our camera (not a simple one) at a much greater proficiency level than me. She ended up taking about 120 pictures. I’m thrilled that over the next few weeks, and when we return, she can document her life here.
I don’t know how else to describe it, but I’m addicted to Judah. Touching his hand or leg, smelling his hair, hearing his voice or laugh, even just fleeting eye contact with him, are all my “fixes.” I love everything about him. Completely.
I knew that I would feel this way about A. I even gave myself a timeline. 6 months (to be renewed every 6 months, indefinitely, until I felt it). I prepared myself. If I didn’t feel the magic initially, I would eventually.
I felt it.
I am so happy that I get to spend the next two weeks with her. I am already heartbroken that I will have to leave her. Tommy is too. Tommy, A and I sat together and it just felt magical. The song, Home on the Range (you know, where the deer and the antelope play) was playing in the background. We sang. I felt home.
Please know, I realize completely that I have written all of the above from a completely selfish perspective. Although today was magic for me, I know that one day I will talk with A about today and will hear a very different story. She was brave and loving and beautiful and more than I could ever dream, but no girl should have to go through what she has gone through and what she went through today. She had no choice. As she sat on my lap, I felt her two little bones dig into my thigh and gently rubbed her back. I searched her face, her heartbeat, for the fear I knew was possibly overwhelming to her. I couldn’t see it. I hope she tells me. Some day. It’s too much for any person to carry alone.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I broke.

My auto-pilot broke. Thoughtless tasks are now challenge-filled. Last week I found myself a few miles past work. A few miles. NOT an exit. I tried to fill a prescription. A three step process. I've counted. Check in, wait, get prescription. I only completed the first two steps before I got distracted and left.
My favorite (albeit the most discouraging) part is that it took me a few hours to realize that I had failed the task. Tomorrow I will try again. I only have one more try before I leave.

I think I might be nervous. I'm pretty sure.

2 days. TWO.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thoughts about marriage...

Judah has been doing research lately. Research on marriage. He's interested.

"Mommy, are you and daddy married?"
"Why did daddy marry you?"
I think because he loves me.

A few days later...

"I'm going to ask D* to marry me."
Do you think you're a little bit young?
Shrugs with disgust at my silly question and says, "No. I just keep getting bigger and bigger."
Where will you live?
"Look at how high these ceiling are! We live here."
So you are going to ask her?
Misunderstands the last two words for his sister's name (BIG hint if you've been wondering what A stands for) and gets emotional, "NO! D is going to marry ME, not A."

The next day...

"D, will you marry me?"
She replied, "Thank you."

At daycare, he was overheard inviting her to his home in Africa. I can't believe my little gentleman has his first mini crush.

*D is the cutie in the train/snow pictures a few posts below.

Have I mentioned that we are leaving for Ethiopia in FOUR days to meet our daughter? Yes, 4.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

About my girl

I am nervous. and excited. and overwhelmed. and happy. I am going to meet my 8ish-year-old daughter in less than a week.
I can't post any identifying information, but I just realized that I have a lot to say.
If I think about how she feels, for even a tiny fraction of a second, my eyes fill with tears. All that she has lost, all that she is going to lose. I keep reading, but I just don't think I can really prepare myself for so many unknowns.
I can't share "identifying information."
I can describe her.
She is tiny and beautiful. Long, skinny limbs. Almond-shaped eyes. She looks very different from Judah, but both of my babies have eyes that tell long stories with glances. Her eyes are more careful than his. In some pictures, her look alone makes you take a deep breath and you feel the impact in your stomach. You remember it. It's powerful. After seeing her picture, one sweet friend wrote about being "instantly overcome from my gut to my tears."
I don't share those pictures often. They feel personal and I'm very protective of her. Although, I have to tell you, they are beautiful.
In other pictures, she's been described as a doe and I don't have better words. Her gentle nature is clear. Those I share.
Her skin is dark ebony and her lips are full, but not big. She has barely there eyebrows and her hair is shaved.
I have completely fallen in love with her. Our girl. A.

I haven't met her, but here are some words from people who have:

A is a very loving eight year old girl. She comes off as being shy at first but once she gets comfortable she is sociable, friendly, and interacts with her peers well. She enjoys playing with others, drawing pictures, playing with toys, and jumping rope. She is very mature and kind in how she treats other children. She is usually the peacemaker when other children get into fights. She also shares her toys with others. She is independent and recognizes her responsibility and follows through her chores. She speaks two languages fluently. She is a bright little girl and eager to learn new things. A has a beautiful smile that really lights up a room.

A fellow adoptive mama:

First, I have to tell you that A is absolutely adorable! I was able to give A lots of hugs and kisses and we held hands (I think she liked the fact that I knew her name). The hardest and saddest part for me was not being able to tell her that I knew her mommy and that her mommy would be there soon. A smiled a lot, but in almost every picture, she did not smile.

Words from last week:

I was at the care center almost every day and A is just so wonderful. When anyone visits the care center, all of the children run up to the visitors for hugs and attention. Every time, A would come up to me and give me a big hug. She didn’t seem to be asking for attention, rather she seemed to be welcoming me with her big smile and a hug. She has so much character. She loves to be dressed up in hats and she loves smiling. I don't think a minute went by where there wasn't a huge smile on her face. It was wonderful to meet her and I can't wait for you to get there in just a few weeks!!

We are leaving in SIX days. Six. Wow.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Counting Down

40 days until court. 32 until we leave for Ethiopia. 33 until we meet our daughter.

I wish I felt centered and calm enough to share my thoughts and feelings. I have quite a few of them. At the moment, I'm a busy and scattered soul.

Since I'm very busy spinning, if you have any questions about our adoption or life, please feel free to ask Judah. He knows everything, has a lot of ideas and never stops talking. Just a warning, you may not have very much control over the topic...

"Mommy, I want a tow truck so I can tow big semi-trucks. A real one. Daddy's going to buy me one. Tell him to buy me one. Now I want to talk about wheels. Mommy, TALK TO ME ABOUT WHEELS!"

He does have some very sweet thoughts about his sister. He thinks about her...

Her needs:
"We need to get A an airplane plate, dump truck pajamas and blue shoes."
How they are alike:
"A smells like chocolate, just like me."
How they are different:
"A is a girl, so she's a princess, like you mommy."

I love my boy and his beautiful and sweet mind.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Court Date!

We will spend Christmas in Ethiopia. I can't think of anything better. We are just so indescribably happy. We get to meet our little girl in just over 6 weeks!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sleepy thoughts about J's sister

Judah likes to talk when he's just about to fall asleep. Ok, to be fair, he ALWAYS likes to talk. Once he talked in the car all the way from LA to Colorado Springs. I have witnesses.

I often want to write down his very important, half-asleep chatter. Tonight I did.

"A is coming to America. She's coming to California. She's going with me to the park, to the zoo, to Papa's house. She's going with me to Old McDonald's. She's my best friend. She doesn't talk though. A's not a baby though, mommy. She's going with me everywhere. It's time to go to sleep now mommy. Stop moving. Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite."

Saturday, October 9, 2010


A few days after we received our referral for A, we went camping. There were a billion ladybugs at our campsite. We already knew we were the luckiest people on earth, but they were a friendly reminder.

I actually expected a court date last week. Expected? Yes. Silly me. So I was disappointed and even had a pity-us-hour. Horrible, I know. Really, pity? Pathetic.

We did get a sweet, sweet update. I love every single word of it.
I don't want to share too much, but "peacemaker" and "kind in how she treats other children" were some of my favorite parts.

The ladybug dress I made for A this week.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


officially reopened today.
What does that mean?
That means we could get a court date ANY day now.

Yes. I'm holding my breath. Officially.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Love to A

Beautiful flowers we received to celebrate A...

First dress for A (which is also the first dress I have ever sewn).

Now court date. Now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fun with Friends

We had the best weekend. Lots of fun with old friends that we just love. Our Judah is quite the extrovert and loves a good party. The next day he kept telling me, "I want another party!" When I'd laugh, he'd try to bargain, "How about tomorrow?"

Do you see trouble in my future? I do.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Breaking Up With Bali

I tried to write about my summer many times. Ok, that's a lie.
I've thought about writing about my summer many times. Yup. That's closer.

I'll start easy.

My sister's wedding was perfection. Beautiful people. Beautiful location. Family. Friends. Love. All good things.

We spent a few weeks in Thailand. The food was amazing. Seriously good grub. Judah loved chasing fish in the clear, waveless ocean. Tommy and I enjoyed sitting and drinking in the ocean (wait, is it an ocean? I don't think that it is? ok, I give up. Did I say this part was easy?). We met people we now consider friends. We spent time with people we love. All good things.

Tommy left after Thailand. Judah and I spent a few more weeks in SE Asia.

One of those weeks was in Bali.
My love.
Tommy and I had spent a week there before. Many moons ago, when we lived in Japan. 7 years ago? Maybe more.
For the last 7 years, I have had a serious love affair with Bali. It is the most romantic place on earth. To me. Everything in Bali is just better. Fresh flowers everywhere, the decor, the people, the food, the presentation, the dance, the music, the art. I can't ever say enough good things about Bali. Ever.

You get it, right? I've been in love for a long time. It was real.

I need to make that part VERY clear. LOVE Bali.

This time.

We broke up.

It wasn't pretty.

It ended badly. I tried to make it work. I did. I know I should have handled things differently.

Bali broke my heart like no boy ever has. It may sound dramatic, but it's true.

I admit. I'm sure part of it was me. I threw out my back. After the first 30 or so steps, Judah would cry "Carry me! I can't walk. I'm too tired." So, I would carry him for the next 1000. There were also toddler unfriendly cliffs and large cracks to sewers that made carrying him just easier. So I was tired and not fully prepared. That is not Bali's fault. I like steps (especially beautifully decorated steps that make me feel like a queen). I like cliffs to lovely rivers. No small part of me believes that Bali should build safety railing.

But, I had a very big baby to carry for hours and a thrown out back.

To be fair to Bali, I should describe my mood.

One should-have-been-pleasant stroll by the park on our way to eat lunch, I ruined. I couldn't relax. Carrying heavy Judah in my left arm, holding hands with my 5-year-old nephew with my right. Judah crying and screaming "I want water!", 5-year-old singing High School Musical and swinging his head. Very hot and very humid. Huge cracks in sidewalk, child-wide, very deep. Back hurt lean to help 5-year-old over crack as Judah tries to kick a chicken walking by us. Reprimand Judah. Put him down. Dog walks up. Scared Judah asks back up. Look at dog. Think he's right. Position body between 5-year-old and dog. 5-year-old adds a new head pop to singing routine. Pull child closer as motorbikes whirl. Judah's crying, "I want water!"
In the background "Danielle, are you listening to me?"
"I'm sorry, I'm overstimulated. Can you tell me when we get to the restaurant?"
"See. She never listens to me. I'm used to it."
Feel defeated.

Point: I wasn't in the best mood.

But, that's not why we broke up.

We broke up because we had the same conversation over and over again. A conversation that always ended the same way.
I tried to change the course of the conversation. It never worked.
I felt like the time traveler who tried and tried to change history. It never worked for him either. Did it work for the Groundhog Day movie? I don't remember.

One version of the conversation:
"I see you walking-walking every day. Where is his father?"
"Oh, he's working. He's not here."
"Does his father look like you or like him? Does he have curly hair?"
"His father doesn't really look like either of us. He doesn't have curly hair."
"I don't understand."
I then go into an explanation of adoption. I tried MANY different explanations. Since I had this conversation approximately every 5 feet I walked, I had time to try out a variety. Trying to explain adoption to the island of Bali was exhausting.

The conclusive line that never varied:

"So, he's not really your son."

Judah is 3. He understands. Everything.
He also is very in tune with how I feel.
I needed to remain calm. Not show any offense. Not show any frustration. I am proud of my family. I am proud of my son.
I would like to say I was always exceptionally patient and kind. I was always kind. I think.

I wasn't offended. I knew it was never said to be disrespectful or hurtful. It may have been due to lack of experience with adoption. It may have been partly due to a language barrier. Many reasons; none of which were to hurt.

Regardless, it was hard.

I will always love Bali...but since Judah is really my son, we had to break up.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today we saw our daughter, A.

Judah's big sister! She is the most beautiful being. I am not biased. At all. I only share factual information.

Our daughter has very sad eyes that have experienced too much. Today, I felt such excitement and love for her. I also felt pain for all that her little being has gone through. She's going to teach me a lot in this life.

We are thrilled and excited and overwhelmed and happy today. It's a very good day.

Cheers to us! :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Done, Off, Celebrate

Summer vacation is so close...I work mostly with little ones with Autism. Love my job. But, it's tough (read: biting, scratching, spitting, etc...all of which are my fault because I'm doing something or not doing something) and I NEED breaks. To not have to think about what I'm doing or not doing. Well, I'll think about it. But, not with the same consequences. During the year, my job is rather consuming. Rewarding, but consuming. It's definitely a job where you give a lot emotionally, mentally, physically even and the rewards are huge. It's the only job I can imagine leaving Judah for...but it's tough to leave him still.

Judah is just magic.
He's imaginative and fabulous. Judah tells the best jokes. Like this:
"Mommy! It's stinky!"
"Yes, it is. I think they are redoing the streets. It smells like tar."
"Do you think the truck farted?"
Follwed by the biggest Judah belly laugh ever. He loves his jokes. So do I.

Not that he's all jokes. He knows how to tell someone off. Seriously. He practices sometimes on the way to daycare:
"He took my ball mommy. That wasn't nice. I just wanna tell him 'Why don't you just go home and change your diaper!'"
This is said with a hand wave and ALL attitude.

He has nice thoughts for his friends too. Judah's very best friend moved about 4 months ago and he still misses him.
"I miss Trent, Mommy. I think he's at home drinking milk with his mommy."
(Can you guess what Judah's very favorite thing to do is?).

I'm so proud of my little man. He's very polite. I never have to remind him to say "please" or "thank you."
When he saw his Papa last weekend he said, "How was your day Papa?" Which makes him the most thoughtful member of my family.

Judah still loves to dance. We have nightly dance parties. At a birthday party last weekend, Judah walked up to my friends and asked, "Do you want to dance with me?"
Not very shy.

In a few days we are off to Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam (where he will turn THREE! I'm not ready for that. At all.). In less than two weeks my little sister is getting married! In less than three weeks is our 10 year anniversay. Wow.

Wish us luck! I'm excited to see SE Asia through the eyes of my little man.

Oh, and to make sure you are properly kept up to date:
We are still #16 on the toddler list, but are now...drum roll... #41! on the infant girl list!
Movin' on up :)

*UPDATE: I wrote this a few days ago. I am leaving TOMORROW for SE Asia. Busy packing!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sweet 16

Dear 17,

We both knew it had to end, but we never anticipated how quickly. Please don't consider yourself a fling; I'm sure someone else is celebrating time spent with you tonight.

We had to move on.

The New 16

Monday, May 10, 2010

Goodbye 18!

We are now:

(or number 43)

We now only respond to 17.
Yes, 17.
A much better number than 18.
18, I won't miss you one little bit.

We're movin' on up the list! WHOOOOHOOO!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Tommy and I have different views on how the last two years of "attachment" have gone. Since he doesn't blog, I'll share mine.

Judah was only 6 months old when he came home. A young, huge, beautiful baby. He was always good with eye contact. He connected. He laughed. With EVERYone. Very fun for people. To take.

After he was home for about two weeks, we took him to a doctor, an international adoption specialist. He "tested" his attachment (e.g. let Judah choose to either go with a stranger or me). Judah "failed" the tests. Before the doctor could say anything, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "It's been TWO weeks. He needs time." I didn't want him to tell me what he thought it meant. Not out loud. I didn't want to hear it. I knew. It hurt. MY attachment to Judah was cement. In the waiting room, he flirted and laughed with every adult he saw. And every child.

Everyone in our lives constantly commented:

He's doing so well.
I've never seen such a happy baby in my entire life.
He has the world's best laugh.
He's so smart.
He's so outgoing.
He has so much personality.

I agreed. Wholeheartedly. I still do.

But, I kept my secret. It was no secret that I had the world's friendliest baby. Who I loved deeply...and who loved me as much as the guy in the supermarket he met three minutes ago. Hopefully.

People would comment. About how well he was doing. How happy he was. He was. He is. He still laughs more than anyone I've ever met. Big huge belly laughs. He also laughs so hard that he's almost silent. I like those laughs. A lot.

When did the change happen? When did I KNOW that his love was real and deep and for ME?

I don't know. It was so slow, I could never give you a date. I can tell you about our relationship now. I can tell you that he loves me and has a billion ways to express it. When I tell him something sweet, he opens his mouth a little bit and pants. He comes to me and asks to cuddle a billion times a day. He looks deeply in my eyes forever. He asks to hold my hand while I drive the car. He loves to sit on my lap while he drinks and gently strokes my arm. He squeezes my leg so hard that he cringes.
He takes really good care of me. During meals, he makes sure I have food. While I'm sitting on the couch, he searches the house until he finds me a blanket. Then he tucks me in sweetly and asks "Mama, you cozy?" Before we go out, he looks me up and down to make sure I have shoes and a jacket. On BBQ nights, he makes sure I have a beer.

Judah points out every truck, every tire, every "neat car", every trailer. He cares that I see them.
He cheers when he sees me. Every time.
He tells me he loves me. Every day.

Judah's attachment didn't happen instantly. We had to celebrate each small step.

It's a love I would have waited a lifetime for.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Paper Pregnant

We are officially waiting!

#18 (or #44) depending on the list (toddler or infant). For some reason, I prefer #18, so that's where I'm starting the countdown :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I wrote this when I first found out that two trips to Ethiopia will be required to complete our next adoption (one for court, one for the embassy appointment).

First, I'd like to be clear: If the changes help to protect ONE child, I am all for them. ALL for them. 100%. No hesitation.
I hope they do.
Figuring out how we're/she's/I'm going to handle becoming a family and then leaving her for a few months, uuuughh...ok, can't think about that.
Oh, and the extra travel $. I'm not sure where that's going to come from.
Leaving Judah twice. Gulp. Can't think about that either.
I just hope it helps.
I hope.
I need some time to process.
I know I can turn this into a positive*. I know it. I know it.
But, did I mention leaving her?
Did I mention leaving Judah twice?
And that's only if everything goes perfectly (we pass court the first time, etc.).
Ok, I can't think about it.

I've now had time to process. My decision is very clear: I'm not going to think about it. Not until I need to. The adoption process is stressful. It is. Even the moments when I'm not aware of the stress...oh, it's there.
I was feeling so good during this journey. I was. Tommy was. Judah was. The paperwork was painless. We felt like we knew (mostly) what to expect, but the stress was still there.
Stress makes medium hurdles into big ones. Should I even talk about the real fear? The real fear is that more changes will come. Big ones. Biggest one. Ok, can't think about that. It's not helpful anyway.
In the meantime, can I just tell you about all of the sweet people in our lives who genuinely care/cared that I feel/felt all crumbly? Truth: most people who haven't been through the adoption process don't "get" it. I'm lucky to have you.
I'm also lucky to have people in my life who just "get" me.

I've been told a few times this past year that I'm "strong."


Yes, it surprised me too. Each time.
It felt good. Kind of like when Judah points to a picture of the Victoria Secret's model and says, "Mommy!"
It felt good even though I know it's not based in reality.
Last week I got a sinus headache/cold which turned into a super painful eye infection.
That's how I deal with medium news.

I'm just lucky I know you.

1. We will meet her a few months sooner (court vs. waiting until the Embassy appointment- which will be our second trip).
2. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) allows eligible employees to take up to a total of twelve (12) weeks. Traveling for court counts.
3. Ethiopia is making changes to help protect her beautiful children.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The purple suit

This past Monday was our LAST homestudy visit. Our wonderful social worker had met with us before. This time she met Judah.
I was expecting the obvious. He would run full speed into something and get a black eye. He would spend the meeting crying, screaming or attacking. Perhaps he would feel in a more reserved mood and say something like, "I want Taco Bell and cake." Especially since the morning began in a less than ideal way.
It was busy. I had all moments accounted for. The doctor's office opened at 8:30. At 8:30 I was to drop off my medical letter. At 10:30 the notary would arrive. The social worker was coming over and interviewing me from 9:00-10:00 (Tommy from 10:00-11:00). See how perfectly I plan stuff? Foolproof, right?
Judah and I arrived at the doctor's office (right after we stopped by the grocery store to buy fruit- yes, I decided at 8:00 that my home didn't appear to have an adequate supply of visual fruit- you are so lucky you don't live in my brain) at 8:25.
8:50...nothing, but I'm sweating. Not good for interviews.
8:52...the purple suit arrived.
Standing tall and wearing her purple power suit, she held a walkie talkie and proudly wore her badge.
She was drunk with power (which I may or may not have muttered, because Judah repeated "drunk with power" all the way home).
She told us that we would have to check in on the second floor. I told her I just needed to drop off something for the doctor. She took my letter and told me that I would have to turn it in on the second floor for review (which may take awhile), sign a medical records release, etc.
I explained why I needed it and that I needed it to be notarized at 10:30. I tried to be charming.
Very unsuccessfully.
She told me that they "don't do that" and before I could respond ordered someone to "take her downstairs."
I just walked away.
It was 8:55. I was late and sweaty.
We had our interview. Judah was successfully more than charming. He didn't ask for Taco Bell. He didn't say anything about the purple power suit lady being "drunk with power."
He was his fabulous self.
After the meeting, I knew we had mere moments to get the letter to the doctor.
Judah and I have practiced being "sneaky" many, many times. We use this skill to sneak up on Daddy for tickle attacks. Judah is good at it.
When we arrived, I explained that we had to be sneaky. We had to sneak by the purple suit.
Judah tip-toed and whispered. We snuck right by her. The purple suit didn't even know the discreet operation going on right behind her back. We handed off the letter and ran. The letter was notarized. We picked it up after work. The purple suit still doesn't know that she was played by a frazzled, sweaty, desperate mama and a trained-to-be-sneaky two-year-old.

If you need a partner to do top-secret, rule-breaking jobs, Judah's your dude.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mama Fail

I had high hopes for today. I had big plans. I spent my lunch finding, what I thought, was really cool material for a new pair of Judah pants. For dinner I had huge doro wat making plans.

Ok, so before I call it a fail, I'll skip to the end. I'm holding a pair of pretty cute pants that I just finished and we have lots of yummy leftover doro wat. It wasn't a total loss.

I came home and decided to cook. I've heard it's a big deal not to burn doro wat, so I felt compelled to stir. To stir a lot. Judah felt compelled to be sad that I was being a bad mama and just ignoring him. He spent half the process looking at me with those big sad watery eyes. During the second half of the process, he was just mad. I felt horrible during the entire process and Judah was obviously unimpressed with me. As a working mama I SHOULD be more attentive when I'm with him, right? I agree. So does Judah. As if to rub it in, I made the dish too spicy for him. I suck. Yes, I do.

After dinner, I showed him the super cute material that I was so thrilled about. Judah told me,

"I don't like it. Take it back to the store. Put it in the bag. Take it in the car. Throw it away." Yes, he suggested ALL of those options.

I explained, "But Judah I'm going to make you super awesome pants with the material."
He explained, "It's not my style. I don't like it. Take it back to the store. Put it in the bag. Take it in the car. Throw it away."

Judah would have been much happier if I would have just ordered pizza and played cars with him.

Ever try to do everything right and just end up doing everything wrong? It was one of those days.
One day I'm going to figure out how to do this mama business day...

Sunday, February 28, 2010


This weekend was very busy. On Saturday morning we went to a birthday party at the batting cages. It's very important that I remember how much I love the batting cages. I've wasted a lot of time during the last 20 years not practicing my swing.

From there we went to Little Ethiopia for our monthly meet up. I'm talking about the monthly meet up we've managed to miss every single month. It was our first. I'm hooked. Those folks just make me happy. They make Tommy happy. They make Judah VERY happy.

Judah decided that Julie was his very best friend. Unfortunately, I believe he MIGHT be a tad bossy with his best friends.

I think Judah's favorite thing in the world is to be tickled by sparkly-eyed Meazi. Oh, and when Ms. Tunsitu changed positions in the ring-around-a-rosie circle JUST to hold hands with still my heart. We can't stop true love people!
Not to mention Mimi. She has so much pure coolness that I find myself just following her around.

Beautiful babies. Too many to list. Hooked.

After our lunch, we drove down to the beach to visit friends. During the drive Tommy asked, "could you type a FB message for me?"
I typed it.
He directed, "add an exclamation point after 'adorable'."
I made the change and sent "Your children are adorable! It was great to see you and meet your husband."
You get why this made my heart dance, right?

We spent the night at our friends house (Judah LOVES sleep overs). This morning our friend was making a huge breakfast extravaganza (too nice). I overhear Tommy tell his friend, "Oh, I think your baby just pooped. I'll change her." He then did so- with NO hesitation.
My heart danced again.

It's just those little/huge things.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Adventure to Violet

I just started a new blog to document our adoption adventure.

Here it is!

If you'd like to join our adventure, just let me know and I'll give you the password.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

To Celebrate...

We celebrated this very important holiday by going out to Ethiopian food (such yummy goodness) and eating ice cream cake.

We also bought Judah a tiny fish tank with a red beta fish. Judah is extremely thrilled with his new friend. He named him Goldfish.

Tommy and I are writing a letter to Judah every year on Judah Day. I'm thinking that when we go to Ethiopia (to pick up his SISTER!), we will find a special box to keep the letters in. Hopefully, he'll like having all the love letters some day...

How do you celebrate? Or do you celebrate this day in your family? Do you plan to?

Happy Judah Day!

Exactly two years ago today, we met the love of our life. Our Judah. His contagious laugh, smile and spirit have filled our hearts with more joy than I will ever be able to express. Judah has brought his family so much goodness, we are just so lucky. We are all celebrating; two years ago today, we became a family.

The day we met Judah was, unequivocally, the best day of our lives.

You have given us more love and laughter than we could have possibly imagined. You were magic from the start. You touch hearts everywhere you go. Every single person who knows you is grateful because of it.

Daily, people comment about you to me. Comments about your soulful laugh. Your beautiful energy. On Monday, while you were laughing and squealing with delight over the Orangutans, a mother commented that you were "such a good reminder of how we should all live." I get comments like this all the time, because that's what you do. You constantly remind people of the best. The best feelings. Your curiosity, amazement, and cheer are inspirational. I've never met anyone like you. I know I never will. I feel so grateful to be your mama. By example, you teach me how to be better. You teach the best lessons in life.

Your birth mama is also thinking of you today. As she does every day. She would be so very proud of the little man you are becoming. Smart, sweet and just a very kind person. Much of your good comes straight from her. Your laugh, your smile, the way your soul shines from your eyes. She put the love in your bones for you to keep forever. She gave you many gifts. I'm so grateful I get to share them with you.

We love you Judah. More than we ever thought possible. I'm so proud of you...your strength, love, light and legendarily fabulous laugh.

With more love than I could ever express in one lifetime,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Our new adventure

I started this blog as a way to document our adoption journey. It became much more than that for us. We made many friends. We received lots of support, which was desperately needed and greatly appreciated. I learned that blogging was therapeutic for me during the stressful adoption process. I enjoyed the writing process (writing has never been a strength). This time I'm sewing (also not a strength).

Blogging is kind of strange. For many reasons. I find myself editing more and more. I hate editing. I don't know who is reading.

I LOVE the idea that I can create a blog book for Judah about our journey. Hopefully he'll like having it when I'm old and batty (or older and possibly more batty). Looking back on the last three years, I think any one who has read this blog can clearly see Judah, through my eyes. I want that for our Violet. I want her story to be told. From our start.
So, I'm starting a new blog. For her. I'm starting it on wordpress, so it will be password protected. Right now, I feel better about that. I'm not sure what this blog will look like, because it is FOR her.

I've started to play around with it and will give you the address as soon as it's ready :)


Judah is a bit obsessed with these creatures. I think he must have overheard a story about them. He thinks they are outside. He thinks they are in the fireplace. He thinks they might get him or his mama.
Today we are going to the zoo to look at REAL coyotes. I'm hoping that after he sees them, the fear might subside?

Judah has already planned the zoo itinerary. The itinerary includes zebra, giraffe and gorilla viewing. There was a specific request for NO COYOTES. Wish us luck.

*Update: The two lovey coyotes recently passed away, so there were no coyotes to view. I showed him baby coyotes on google images and he seemed to like em. At the zoo he called a fox a "baby coyote" and said he wanted to "take it out." I'm hopeful (but not convinced) that the coyote fear has diminished.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I adore my dad. I worship him to a fault. He's always been my rock, my support, the one I like to talk to about things that matter. He's Judah's favorite person. I completely understand why. I can't compete and don't even try.

Much of my adult life has been focused on children with autism. I more than enjoy working with this population. I find my work so gratifying and challenging and inspiring. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE those kids.

This past week this has been in the news. I'm infuriated that this "research" terrified so many, for so long. I'm just so angry. I wonder if the damage can ever be undone. So many dollars were spent trying to find the "link." Dollars and time that could have been spent in other ways- other ways that may have been able to help my little beautiful and perfect people.
And then there's the other side. Not just the loss in the world of autism (which is our world, because I think now we ALL are touched by autism).

The dangers of people not getting the MMR vaccination.
There are outbreaks.
They do have adverse effects.

My most terrifying childhood memory was when I was in late middle school. My mom was seriously sick. Daily, I lived with the fear of losing her. A real fear at the time.
When my dad got sick and spent many days in intensive care- I thought I might lose them both. It was a real fear. It was too much.
My dad was very, very sick.
He had the measles, complicated by pneumonia. It was scary.
I needed him.
With herd immunity, the measles are completely avoidable.

No one should have to lose someone they love to the measles. No little girl should have to worry about losing her dad to it.

I think a lot of people in my age group are so far removed from these horrible diseases, the reality of what they are capable of is distorted.
When Judah came home he didn't have proper immunity. He was vulnerable. All little babies are.
I need Judah.
Judah needs his Papa.
My kids at work need me.

Harm none.

*I'm NOT giving medical advice. Obviously. That's for peeps to discuss with their doctors. I'm angry about the "research." I'm angry that some people used that article as a reason NOT to get the vaccination.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


There are lots of different types of violets. All pretty.

Wild Violets

Wood Violets

Sweet Violets

African Violets

As a flower, Violet has a variety of meanings: love, modesty, virtue, affection, and faithfulness. Violets are fragrant and have heart-shaped leaves.

Violet is a combination of blue and red.
Red: focusing, dynamic, active energy
Blue: cooling, calming and expansive.
Violet represents harmony because it is a combination of red (yang) and blue (yin).

Can it get any better? Why, yes! Yes, it can.

Violet is the name of her great-great grandmother.

We don't know if it will be her first name or her middle name, but we are feeling certain about Violet. Plus, I love nicknames and Violet can easily be shortened to Vie (French for "life").

Yes, HER.

*It should be carefully noted that none of the reasons for loving Violet include Ben or Jen. Lovely people, I'm sure. We've always loved the name. It has been our girl name for as long as I can remember. When Jen was pregnant and it was rumored that her girl would be named Violet...oh, I was NOT happy. I'm over that and now I am able to embrace that they just have good taste also :)


I bought a sewing machine.

We stared at each another for a few days.
I read and reread the instruction booklet. I read and reread patterns. I bought material and thread and a seam ripper.
Tommy asked me when I was going to use the machine.
I told him I wasn't quite ready.
Tommy glanced at it, spent .8 seconds threading it, and began to sew.
I told him it was MINE (I learned from Judah) and that I was finally ready.
I made two skirts.
Here's one:

(the model is my lovely niece on her 2nd birthday)

I'm proud. Very, very proud.

*one of Judah's favorite things to say...

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I've thought a lot about charities. Which ones I like to support. Especially right now, when my heart feels so heavy and aches for the people of Haiti.

There is no doubt that UNICEF has done a lot of good work for children who desperately need it.

I disagree with their stance on international adoption.

Click here

What do you think?

Monday, January 18, 2010

No words

I haven't written a word about Haiti. I can't.

I'm consumed with images. I couldn't sleep for a few nights.* My heart is broken. I'm sure yours is too.

* The American Red Cross

* Food for the Poor
* World Vision
* Care

*If you know me, that's the one area I excel in. Sleeping. Seriously excel. I fall asleep within a minute of laying down and stay that way until my alarm goes off. It's more like a coma than sleep. Nothing wakes me. When we were waiting to bring Judah home, I had seriously panicked filled moments about it. I feared that I wouldn't wake up when Judah needed me at night. This fear did not materialize. His slightest peep wakes me (even though my dog standing on me licking my face does not).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Judah's First Movie Review

Tonight Judah went to his FIRST movie theater movie. He laughed his great belly laugh, kicking his feet and throwing his head back at the good parts. When the music played, he enthusiastically snapped his fingers.

He loved it.

We decided that we needed to document his thoughts and feelings.