Stopping by…

So much for wanting to post here every now and then. I’m afraid my new venture at SlowMama.com is keeping me busy — along with my paying job, a new part-time business I’m launching next month, some writing projects, and the stuff of life. Oh — and all that dossier paperwork I have to start on again soon.

If you haven’t visited my new virtual home, come on over. It’s been fun so far. And let me know — if you haven’t already — whether you want me to include your blog on my resource page.

I have a new blog.

My original intention was to launch it after I was officially a mom and our kids were home — kind of a “chapter two” after Chasing Saints, if you will. But after an agent told me in January that I need a bigger platform before decent-sized publishers will touch me, I decided to get started.

I have purposely kept the space here small and relatively private. I liked it that way. It made me feel safe writing about our adoption and helped ease me into personal blogging. This was always intended to be a place for family and close friends to keep up with our adoption, as well as to connect with other Ethiopian adoptive families. That was it. I didn’t tell a lot of people about it because, frankly, I didn’t want them to visit.

But the new blog is going to be much more public — at least that’s the plan. In large part because it will be connected to some of my professional projects and roles. It’s a bit intimidating because I’m still a pretty private person and this will challenge me to put myself out there even more while creating boundaries I’m comfortable with.

It’s also daunting because I intend to blog there every day, except on weekends. I’ll be writing about a lot of things, from the sublime to the ridiculous, including our ongoing adoption adventure. You’ll probably find out more about me than you ever wanted to know. And yet, it will still only be a part of the picture, because that’s the nature of blogging it seems to me.

This new endeavor will force me to write each day; to be creative; and to build a new community of readers. Who knows where it will lead — hopefully to some publishing opportunities, among other things. Or maybe it will annoy the heck out of me after six months and I’ll throw in the towel.

Anyway, I hope you’ll stop by and visit.

As for Chasing Saints, which I feel very attached to, it will stay open for now. I plan to add short updates about the adoption here and there, and I may double post. In time, however, I expect to close this down or to make it private, using it to post info on the kids for far away family members.

By the way, if you have a personal/adoption blog and don’t mind me listing it on my new blog’s Resource page, let me know by leaving a comment here or there. You may not want your site read by the masses, therefore I won’t list you unless you say I can. But I’ll certainly keep visiting your blog regardless.

So without further ado, here’s my new site:



If there’s anything worse for me than the waiting game in this adoption process, it’s the paperwork. Lordy, how I hated the paperwork stage. It’s not because it’s paperwork per se, but because for some reason I despise doing things that make no sense. Call me rational. Call me stubborn.

Now, I realize that some paperwork is necessary and important. You need to be who you say you are. The state can’t give children to crazy, unfit people. It’s a good idea to be able to prove you are not a fugitive, and you have never killed anyone.

However, there’s a whole lot of other stuff that’s just bureaucratic red tape. For example, why would we need to have our fingerprints taken again for immigration in less than two years? Do fingerprints change? Can’t you run the same fingerprints and make sure people haven’t committed a federal crime since you last checked 18 months ago? Apparently not.

All this is a run up to say that we have to do our dossier over again.

If you hear feet stomping, animal growling, and loud cursing, that would be me.

Our dossier has to be less than two years old when we go through court in Ethiopia. Given that we don’t have a referral yet and things are backlogged over there, our agency says it’s very unlikely that we’re going to get there before Ethiopia’s courts close in August and September. So… another dossier.

This means I have to order things like birth certificates again, and our marriage certificate again. I have to get letters of reference again. Financial reports. Every damn piece of paper, once received, has to be sent back to its respective state for certification. Then most things need to be notarized. Some things have to be certified on a county level, depending on where the document comes from. Then, if I recall correctly, everything has to be brought to the Secretary of State in Maryland.

All of this costs money. Including fees to our agency for processing.

So, I’m not a happy little camper.

Forcing myself to look on the bright side, I can only think this second time around will be easier because we’ve done it before.

Still, waaaahhhhhhhh!!!!

Catching up

It’s been a while. So much going on here and blogging ended up low on the priority list.

Let’s start with some good news: On Friday we got some relief from our work woes, allowing us to breathe a little easier. We are grateful. 2011 has been no picnic so far.

On the adoption front, there is, of course, no news. Unless you count the fact that things have slowed down even more. The ministry responsible for investigating adoption cases and making recommendations to the court, announced they were significantly reducing the number of cases they would handle each day from over 35 to 5. Which means big time delays. However, the ministry has new staff and they’re apparently doing about 20 cases each day now to clear the backlog. So we’ll see what they decide is their new standard going forward. Kelly at Uninterrupted Prosperity has a good summary of the situation here.

I take nothing for granted in this process. I don’t even take for granted that this adoption is going to happen. Preparing myself for the worse-case scenario is probably just a coping mechanism. But I also think it’s realistic. The process has been anything but predictable and stable, and therefore, until we get off that plane with two little Ethiopian babies, I’m not counting on anything. Hope and certainty are not even close to the same thing.

Here‘s a troubling story a friend sent me last week. It’s made rounds on a few international news channels. A radical Muslim group attacked Christians and burned down 59 churches in the southwest part of Ethiopia. Sad to hear since Ethiopia has reportedly been the rare place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews have lived among each other in relative peace for a long time.

Something else I wanted to point out was this guest post on a blog I visit called Rage Against the Minivan. I could see myself venting about similar things on the other side of our adoption, and I thought this mom articulated her points well.

Ash Wednesday

Today the season of Lent begins. I feel like we’ve been living Lent for about six months already, so I’m not taking on too much this year. It’s enough for me right now to go deeper into what God has clearly been asking me for — to surrender, to choose gratitude, to live in the present.

Nevertheless, I do have a way of living the season… I give up sweets, treats, and alcohol. I do some spiritual reading (still haven’t decided on what this year), and make attempts to get back to more regular prayer time. This Lent, two churches I like are doing evening programs that look edifying, so I’ll be checking them out.

If you celebrate Lent, I hope it’s a rich one, and if not, please enjoy all the chocolate I’ll be missing!

16 months

I’m beginning to think we should have a cake and light some candles or something.

Yesterday I put all of the adoption paperwork for our I600A renewal in the mail. Never thought we’d be doing that.

Waiting seems to be the name of the game for us these days. We’re not only waiting for a referral, but waiting on a couple of other important things to resolve themselves. Waiting for results over which you have no control is uncomfortable to say the least. I can see how the waiting I’ve had to do in my past has prepared me for this, and this waiting will no doubt prepare me for the future. I’ll be a pro by the end of my life:

God: And what do you have to say for yourself, young lady?

Me: Well, I mastered the skill of waiting. I’m an expert. I can teach anyone here how to wait without giving into panic attacks, depression, or fits of rage.

God: Too bad there’s no such thing as time here or we could really use something like that. Got anything else you can contribute?

So, yes, 16 months. And counting…

Fun on a Friday

At the risk of making any male readers here uncomfortable, here’s a conversation I had while freezing my little tush off in a johnny shirt at my ob-gyn’s office this morning:

Dr. C: Well, it’s been a long time since you were here, we should probably check for STDs.

Me: Um, that’s a little strange since I’ve been married for nine years and my husband and I don’t really leave the house.

Dr. C: Well, you did leave the house now didn’t you… you’re here in my office.

Me: I suppose you’re right. Who knows what I could be up to when I say I’m going for a pap smear at 10:30AM.

Oh, but those appointments are fun. No wonder I drag my butt in there so infrequently.

Happy Friday!

Dabble in Ethiopia

My dear friend, Beth, recently became a contributor to a new Canadian lifestyle magazine called Dabble, which is focused on design, travel, and food.¬†The inaugural issue just arrived (it’s an online publication) with Beth’s first article about her recent trip to Ethiopia.

I had told her to bring back our children, by the way, but she was too busy exploring Lalibela rock-hewn churches, eating injera, and learning how to do the native head and shoulders dance.

Here‘s her article. Well, it begins on page 111 — this link doesn’t take you directly to the page. Don’t those angel faces painted on the church walls look familiar?

The rest of the magazine is lovely to look at, too. I think those zucchini muffins at the very back are now on my baking list.

Thursday nothings

Hmmm, I wish I had something interesting to say today, but I don’t.¬†Everything on the adoption front is very quiet, and our days are busy right now, mostly with work related matters.

I do have an exciting project I’m working on that I look forward to telling you about soon.

I wish I at least had a photo to throw up here, but I’ve been badly neglecting my camera. Strangely enough, the course I took to help me learn how to take better photos ended up taking some wind out of my sails. It made me feel more stuck than I was before I went. Don’t you think that’s weird? Spring will hopefully inspire me to get going again.

Last weekend I made one of my favorite cakes for a birthday celebration. It’s the same cake my friend Abby made for my birthday back in December. I think Abby chose it because she was looking for something chocolately that my friend Irene could eat. This triple chocolate mousse cake has no flour and very little sugar and is so good I think I could eat a whole one by myself. I’m not kidding. That’s saying a lot because while I like sweets, I tend to like them in small doses. This cake has a flourless chocolate bottom layer, a light mousse layer, and then a cream and white chocolate layer on the top. It is cruel for me to even tell you about it because the recipe isn’t online. But you can find it in the November-December 2009 issue of Cooks Illustrated.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all I’ve got for you today.

Oh, wait, I do have a picture. Abby’s cake. Mine didn’t look quite as good, but almost.

Another one bites the dust

For a while, I’ve had a twin of sorts named Meg.

Meg and her husband live in a big old American city, like us. They’ve been married for a while, like us. They have no children, like us. They’ve been waiting for siblings in the same age range as us and went on the waiting list the same date as us –November 5, 2009. The only difference is that they’re using a different agency — one we almost chose.

So we’ve had this parallel journey, Meg and I. And last night, when I went to her blog, I read that she and her husband accepted a referral of a boy and girl on Friday! Like me, Meg felt it would never happen. But it did, at last.

I think both of us wondered who would get a referral first, and I had a strong suspicion they would. And I wanted it to be the case because they were so ready, going-crazy-ready, and we… well, we’ve had one major challenge after another around here and I can’t help but think God is being gracious with the timing.

Still, the one thing about waiting so long is the solidarity you build with other long-time waiters and as each one finally graduates to the next stage of the process, you find yourself thrilled for them — and also a bit lonesome back here in the dust.

Congrats, Meg and hubby!