Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why International Adoption?

I've been asked several times (in person and through my blog) why we chose international adoption over the American foster care system. I thought I'd try and explain it here...

I guess I see it as kids are kids. I’m a human and a mom before I’m an American. So, a kid in China or Ethiopia is no more or less in need or deserving of a family than a kid in America. In that sense, they are equal.

What then sways me to international adoption is that in this country (and in my state) birth parents’ rights are often paramount. They seem to always be given a second and third (and maybe even more) chance. (Do some birth parents deserve extra chances? Absolutely. And will some of those extra chances result in a reunited, happy, healthy family? I hope so.) But each time a birth family is given another chance (whether deserved or not, successful or not) I imagine a foster family is left with a broken heart.

I don’t want to be a foster mom. I want to be someone’s “forever” mom. Just like, I don’t want Jack and Logan to be someone’s foster brothers but “forever” siblings. I can’t imagine trying to explain to them why their sister or brother would not be living with us anymore.

I guess I’m selfish in that I want to protect my heart (and my husband’s and Jack’s and Logan’s). And since I believe that all kids are equal and there are kids in need of families in other parts of the world, I choose international adoption.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gifts for the girls...

We've finally got a package of little gifts to send to Des and Bri. A family traveling to pick up their sons in mid-July (thanks Kristen and Kasey!) will be taking it to our daughters at the IAN care center.

We found little bags that Jack and Logan embroidered on some "decoration."

Yes, Logan likes to do his arts and crafts in underwear and a baseball hat.

We filled the bags with cute sunglasses, play cellphones and photo albums filled with pictures of our crazy family.
I can't wait to see their sweet faces when they get a glimpse of our crazy (but lovable) family!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Starting to countdown...

Well, plans are being made...I've got plane tickets to Ethiopia and a rough itinerary! My mom will be traveling with me while Scott and the boys will be staying home and working on getting things ready around the house for Des and Bri.

Mom and I leave in 4 weeks! We will spend a bit of time traveling to the south where the girls are from and then to Lalibela in the north. The rest of the time will be spent in the capital with the girls. We will be back in California and be reunited with the rest of the family on August 1st.

Lilypie Countdown to Adoption tickers

I am so excited to have the opportunity to travel around Ethiopia. Though I've been to Africa twice before, I've never been to Ethiopia and think it is so important to experience my daughters' culture firsthand. On the flipside, I've never spent a night apart from Jack and Logan, let alone 12 nights. I know that it will be excruciatingly difficult but they are being left in good hands. I probably should worry more about Scott!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Graduate

Over the weekend Jack had his preschool graduation. It was a beautiful and fun day...just the right way to end the school year and start the summer.

Here are a few pics from the special day:

The 2010 graduates

During the ceremony their teacher asks each graduate what they learned at preschool. One of the boys replied "not to kick people." I wish I could remember what Jack said but I was too busy crying. :) The kids also sing "You Are My Sunshine" and "Make New Friends."

Scott and Logan watching the ceremony

Handing out the diplomas

Jack and his teacher, Cynthia (whom he's had for three wonderful years)

"Mama, can't a boy eat his cake in peace!?!?!?"

So grown-up...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

(Pre)School Days!

Life has been crazy lately...crazy good...but still definitely crazy. The day we found out that we passed court for Des and Bri was also the last day of preschool. Logan will be back there next year but it was the end of Jack's three year run. Because our preschool is tiny (about 20 families) and mixed ages, Jack has had the same teacher all three years. The school has been great for Jack. Though I'm sad that he is finished, I'm glad that I haven't "graduated" more year for Logan and then a couple more for the girls.

Jack was just a baby when he started. This was Jack on his first day of school:
September 2007

Look at that baby face!

This was Jack on his last day of preschool:
June 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

We passed!!!

Woohoo! We passed court today. I am so excited (and bit shocked) that Desta and Debritu are actually a part of our family. And while I am thrilled, I can't help but think of their Ethiopian hard it must have been for them today, how they are feeling, how the girls are feeling. I am very aware that in the adoption triad (the birth family, the child(ren) and the adoptive family), the adoptive family is the only part that does not experience loss and grief from the adoption process.

The girls are already so loved and such a part of this crazy family. I'm excited to see what the future holds for all of us.

Here are a few pictures of our sweet daughters:
Desta and Debritu (in May)

Desta (in May)

Debritu (in June)

Desta and Debritu (in June)

We are hoping to have an US Embassy appointment in Addis on July 28. At that time the girls would get visas for their Ethiopian passports so that they can come to America. My mom and I will be traveling to bring them home while the boys (Scott, Jack and Logan) hold down the fort.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cheater, cheater, pumpkin-eater!

It's hard to admit but I feel like I've got to come clean.
I've been cheating.
I have

Shortly after finishing all the paperwork for our Ethiopian adoption, I decided to ask about reviving my agency's blog. It's a blog for the families and by the families and hadn't been active for a year. Since I began working on blog in January, I've posted almost 100 times, every week, either 3 or 5 times a week. Some of the posts are copied (with permission) from blogs from other agency families but many are written by me based on whatever is my latest Ethiopian or adoption related, parenting books, Ethiopian culture, travel info, holidays, books for kids, etc.

The blog has been a great opportunity to distract me while waiting for our referral and now for our courtdate. It's also been a great excuse for me to research, research, research any and everything about Ethiopia.

So if you are looking for any info on Ethiopia or adoption or Ethiopian adoption, feel free to stop by. Or if you just want to see some of the cutest kids ever (in my weekly Foto Friday post), feel free to stop by.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's a...

girl! And another girl!

Our family is overjoyed that we received a referral for twins! I have to admit that we've been sitting on this news for a little bit (while we told some important people in person) but it still seems so surreal. Getting a referral this soon was quite a shock as we were still #12 and #2 on waitlists (after a very long time with no movement). Our #2 spot was for a rather specific request, so I thought we would never move up that list as I mentioned back in March. Well, not only did we move up that list, we jumped from #2 straight to our referral. Needless to say, we were surprised and thrilled.

The girls are about 2 years old and have the chubbiest cheeks, gorgeous lips and beautiful soulful eyes. I could eat them up!

Unfortunately, until they are legally ours, after our case passes court, I can't publish any photos or identifying info. Just know that they are beyond adorable (not that I'm biased or anything!).

Our court date is this Friday, June 11. That means that while we are sleeping (or trying to) Thursday night, our case will be heard in a court in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. So cross your fingers and toes and everything in between before you head to bed on Thursday, if you don't mind.

Jack and Logan are so excited. We talk about the girls everyday. Logan is making up little songs about them. And Jack is asking the hard questions (like “why do they need a family?”). They both keep thinking up “firsts” that they will get to introduce the girls to, like ice cream and the ocean and strawberries, important milestones in Jack and Logan’s eyes.

We are so excited to share this news and are looking forward to when we can say they are legally our daughters (and sisters) and show their sweet faces. Of course, we are ultimately looking forward to the day we are all together finally.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Celebrate...Logan is 4!

I hate to admit it but we slacked on pictures for Logan's birthday. We didn't take very many (not really sure why) and the few that we did take weren't so great because we were using a new camera.
Without further ado, here is Logan's 4th birthday...

We start each of the boys' birthdays with balloons! Today was no exception...

Balloons are followed by opening some presents. Logan walked away with some a Star Wars figure, more tools, Legos and two rather unusual stuffed animals. One of them was Perry the Platypus from the boys' favorite show, Phineas and Ferb. The other was an owl. (Scott had asked "For your birthday, what kind of pet would you like?" A very stupid (and dangerous) question in my opinion. Logan said he would like "a baby owl" as a pet. Luckily, they were fresh out of them at the petstore so we opted for the stuffed variety.)

Logan loves pancakes + Scott loves to experiment = crazy birthday pancakes
What are crazy birthday panckakes, you ask? Well, they are chocolate chip pancakes covered in frosting and sprinkles, of course! Yum?!?!?!?!

Since it was a school day, I dropped the boys off and raced back home to whip up some cupcakes for Logan and his classmates. Scott and our good friend Jethro made their appearance at the boys' school for some after lunch treats.

Logan tends to get a bit nervous and silly when all eyes are on him. So while his friends sang "Happy Birthday" he chose to look at me or get goofy with his friend, Ryan.

Later that night the boys asked to watch, what else but, Star Wars. We decided to go all out and let them watch it (on a school night, no less!) while eating dinner. Well, it was Logan's birthday!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Once Upon A Time...

One year ago...

Two years ago...

Three years ago...

Four years ago...

Logan is 4 years old! (How did that happen?!?!?!?!)