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Archive for January, 2010

If you have 19 minutes, sit down and watch this video.

Hat tip: Harmony at Fermember When.

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Birthday Boy

Yesterday was Brian’s birthday and I wanted to write a little tribute to him here, but the day got away from me. Actually, this isn’t a place I share my deepest personal reflections.I hope you’ll forgive me for that. I admire other bloggers who can bare their souls in this kind of venue, but I am at heart a private person, and even though I don’t have tons of readers, this is a public blog.

Anyway, what I will say about my husband is that he’s my very favorite husband ever. Seriously, he is truly my best friend and my rock. He’s way too smart and knowledgeable, gifted in so many ways, generous, compassionate, witty, fun, strong where I’m weak, and adorable (especially with that curly dark hair – my favorite). He puts up with my craziness and still seems to think I’m the cat’s meow. We share the same faith, the same world view, and the same sense of humor. We work together all day, spend most of our time together, and it still never seems enough. I know it will be that way until the day we die.

He also reads this blog regularly, which makes me love him even more.

This is Brian’s last year to be a 30-something. (Yes, I married a younger man.) I think this will be a great year for him. He’s going to be a great father and I couldn’t embark on this journey to parenthood without him. We will tackle it like we have everything else — as true partners, laughing through a lot of it, totally on each others’ side, leaning on one another all the way.

We’re going to have a real celebration on Friday, but I just want to say happy birthday to my best friend in the whole wide world. I love you, B.

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On Saturday afternoon we joined a group of families at Dukem, an Ethiopian restaurant in Baltimore. It happens every two months and everyone who comes is either in process or has already adopted from Ethiopia. The past two times, the restaurant staff has been generous in offering a coffee ceremony after dinner.  We all gather around as the coffee beans are roasted in a small pot over a burner. In Ethiopia, it is tradition to serve coffee with bread or popcorn — and you can see some bread above, along with the small cups in which the coffee is always served.

This is the fourth or fifth time I’ve gone to one of these dinners and it gets more fun each time — mostly because I know more people. I’m always struck by the variety of people who adopt — different ages, backgrounds, professions, and belief systems. It’s especially great to know people from blogs and forums and then finally meet them in person. The biggest treat is always seeing the kids. It’s amazing the difference two months makes.

I’m really bad at names, however. Faces, I have those down. But names go in one ear and out the other. I hate that. Now that I’ve asked some people their names about five times, I’m finally starting to remember them.

I finally began Melissa Faye Greene’s There Is No Me Without You. It’s been on my list for a long time. I’ll let you know what I think.

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Cutting food costs

Adoption is expensive. The one good thing about waiting is that allows more time to save money. This year we also have a few trips planned,  home renovations to do, and money to put away so I can take time from work for at least 3 months after our children are home.

So I’m looking for ways to cut costs. One of our big expenses is food and I’ve found the best way to slash our grocery bill is to plan our meals for the week.

For some reason, this doesn’t come easy for me. I love food, and I enjoy cooking when something inspires me, but the every day three-meals-on-the table thing, well… let’s just say that’s not my strong point. Before I know it, it will be 6:30PM and we don’t have a clue about dinner. My husband is not a salad-for-dinner kind of guy, so it’s hard to just throw a few vegetables together. He’s the better chef, but I do most of our food shopping because my schedule is more flexible and frankly, it’s one of my pleasures in life. But a lot of time I feel like I buy all kinds of food and there’s still nothing to eat — it’s weird.

Meal planning seems to solve this, but it requires finding recipes, planning ahead, and scheduling the time to cook each day. This week, I did it. Planned on Sunday. Shopped on Monday morning. Cooked each evening and had leftovers for lunch. I”m going to try it again this weekend.

I did make healthy peanut butter cookies tonight and they  kind of flopped. Speaking of goodies, here’s a picture of a pear cake from Smitten Kitchen that my sister Kate made recently. (She’s hooked on that blog, too.) It looks yummy.

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Orphans

The American news media is full of stories about orphans this week — Haitian orphans. The Governor of Pennsylvania arranged for an entire orphanage of children to be flown to the Pittsburgh. Most of the kids had already been matched with American families and were awaiting finalization of paperwork — paperwork that’s now under heaps of rubble, never to be found.

I was thrilled to see these children re-united with their adoptive parents, though I do have mixed feelings about some of the coordination efforts in Haiti. It is undoubtedly a complicated and chaotic situation, but from what I can tell, there hasn’t been enough priority given to emergency medical needs. Anyway…

Orphans.There were many of them in Haiti, and now there are many more. The tricky thing is, however, how do you know? Some of these kids may have parents or birth relatives and sufficient time and effort must be allowed to find out. In my view, everything should be done to care for children in Haiti, so that in time, truly adoptable children will be known and can begin the formal process of adoption. Haitian adoptions have been full of red tape and take a long time — I think about 3 years — so it hasn’t been a popular place from which to adopt. But hopefully, the process will be streamlined and made easier in the future, with ethics and transparency prioritized.

I ask your prayers for a family whose baby son just died in Ethiopia before they could pick him up. It happens sometimes, and it’s a a great grief.

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Titers

Brian and I finally got our titers done on Friday morning.

What’s a titer, you ask? It’s a blood test to determine if you have immunity to something. We’re unsure if we are up to date on certain immunizations and don’t remember if we’ve already had certain vaccinations. Six years ago when we were planning a trip to Ecuador, we had a number of vaccines. Because of that, we don’t have to get as many now for Ethiopia, but we still need some. I’m very wary of vaccines so I don’t want us to get anything we don’t need. And I’d like to space out what we get so we’re planning to do a few very soon.

One of the vaccines people debate about needing is Yellow Fever. Sometimes, Ethiopian officials at the airport will ask for proof of the vaccine. Thankfully we had it six years ago so we don’t have to do it again.

Once we know if we’ll be traveling outside Addis Ababa, we will have to decide whether to take anti-malarials. Addis is at a high elevation so there is little to no malaria there, apparently. But once you go to lower elevations, it’s common. Also, because of the high elevation, some people are afflicted with altitude sickness. I don’t hear about that much from families who go, but it might be another thing we need to prepare for.

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Numero deux

So, last night I find myself picking up the kids again… only this time I pick them up in the car, from who knows where, and I’m trying to find shelter because it’s the middle of the night in a tropical storm. I make it into a quasi-abandoned house, to which I have a key. But I’m worried someone else is going to show up, someone who actually has permission to be there. Meanwhile, the kids are crying…no, screaming. One is a tiny infant and the other is slightly older, but not by much. They’re bundled under blankets in some doubled-up car seat/carrier thing. They look nothing like my kids, however, because not only are they white, they also look like blogger Heather Armstrong (of the infamous dooce.com). Which is weird because I haven’t visited her site for a while and I’d be afraid of what she’d do to me if I ever even so much as glanced at her kids. Anyway, the babies are howling because… well… I have once again forgotten all supplies — no formula, no food, no diapers. And I think to myself: If I can just find a CVS, I’ll buy some apple sauce. Because apple sauce fixes everything, I guess. But I’m panicking and not quite sure how I’m going to get through the situation. And where did these kids come from again??

In case you haven’t figured it out, this was stress dream #2.  It didn’t involve planes, but I’m noticing some themes emerging: alone, overwhelmed, not prepared, afraid for my safety. No doubt symptomatic of AMAD (Approaching Motherhood Anxiety Disorder)!

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