Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tick tock, tick tock

We still wait. January is almost over and no referral yet. One of our agency employees is traveling to Ethiopia on Feb. 5 and said she hopes to return with referrals.
Hmmm....that's over 2 weeks away. And, how long is she staying there? I don't know.
In the meantime, I'm busy being a soap maker. I'm busy being a marketer. I'm busy with random, mundane tasks of my house. I'm busy being a KU basketball fan.
ReLive needs my attention so I can make it flourish this year more so than ever.
Velocity needs my attention as we are now underway for our 2010 concert season at Sandstone.
But, I need my attention to go to that little someone. Ugh...this waiting!
I hope to have things in order with both companies so I can do a little of both and a lot of parenting when the time comes. Maybe I'm unrealistic. Maybe I'm in over my head. Or, maybe I'm just determined enough to make it all come together. I like to think I can pull this "maybe" off.
So, for today...I work and work some more! Off to make some soap. Here's a photo of our new batch of "Tart" - Lemon Mint.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti needs our compassion

I post this this morning as the headlines keep flooding in about the devastation in Haiti. Imagine our country being in this vulnerable situation. Our hospitals, our schools, our churches crumbled. Our family members missing. Our children buried at school under rubble. I ask you today to donate whatever you and your family can donate. Even $10 will supply 1,000 people with clean water for a day. Haiti needs our help. It needs our hearts and our hands. Please consider, in the end...we are all one.

To donate...

Eyewitness account: "Everything is urgent" by Sophie Perez, CARE in Haiti country director Jan. 13, 2010

Sophie Perez, CARE's country director in Haiti, was in the CARE office in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake hit at about 5 p.m. local time Jan. 12, 2010. We reached her by phone at 6.30 a.m. local time Jan. 13.

"It was terrifying. The quake lasted for more than a minute. We were at the office when it happened, and the whole office was shaking really hard. People were screaming, crying, running. Everything was moving. I saw a building of nine floors completely collapse right in front of me. A bank collapsed. Even if a building isn't totally destroyed, you can't access the area because of the danger.

"Our staff who were with me in the office are safe, but most of their houses are collapsed. I've heard other aid workers from other agencies are still missing. Everyone is trying to find their families. It seems the whole city was affected – to the north, south, everywhere. It was difficult to get through the streets. Buildings have collapsed everywhere, and there is rubble blocking the roads. Many areas you can't go by car. You can only get through by foot, because there is so much debris.

"Last night, people were sleeping outside because they were afraid to go back inside their homes. Many of the houses are destroyed anyway. There were eight aftershocks last night. Thousands of people were sleeping in the streets.

"We're particularly worried about the children, because so many schools seem to have collapsed. In Haiti, children go to school in the afternoon. Children were still in school when the earthquake hit, so there are many children trapped. It's horrifying. The slums on the hills have also completely collapsed. We've heard of landslides, with entire communities being wiped out.

"I've been here for many years, and I've experienced a few small earthquakes. But I've never been through anything this strong. My house is okay, but I spent the night outside by the gate with my children. There were eight aftershocks during the night, and we woke up every time. My children are terrified. Everyone is terrified.

"It is just morning here now, and I can hear helicopters working on the search and rescue. The immediate need is to rescue people trapped in the rubble, then to get people food and water. Everything is urgent."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It was a success!

So, our Ethiopian dinner turned out absolutely amazing. I'm quite proud, if I do say so myself.
I started cooking at 6pm and Josh came home from work and jumped in and helped. It was quite a long ordeal, but so much fun. We were done with cooking, eating and the dishes at 9:50. Sooo...I would say this is definitely a style of cooking that helps to do a lot of prep work the day before.
It was incredibly spicy. Too much for me, as I'm kind of a wuss with spicy. I'll have to tone it down next time. I can't wait to try it again! The injera didn't turn out the way I had hoped, so I do need to work on that more.

By the way, supposedly (and I do say "supposedly") we are NUMERO UNO on the list now for a boy. #8 on the list if we were preferring a girl, but, since we do not care whether it's a boy or girl I would say it's 99.99% a boy! Now, we're really focusing on those boy names.

We were told yesterday that we have to have our homestudy tweaked to be more specific with some wording, but luckily that will not affect us on our spot on the list. So, another trip up to Topeka to get it re-authenticated once our social worker makes those changes and then it's sent to Ethiopia again to be translated. We hope to have this on it's way to Ethiopia ASAP so they can insert it into our Dossier. Making this change should help avoid confusion when we have a court date and pass through court easier.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ye Ganna Baal - Merry Christmas to Ethiopians!

Today is Christmas in Ethiopia, referred as "Ye Ganna Baal." I have been looking forward to today for weeks. It's the first time we are making Ethiopian food! We did some prepping last night because the cooking is so different than we are used to. The cooking uses a ton of spices and I had to do some serious searching at the grocery store yesterday. We were going to visit the African markets in Kansas City, but the snow we are getting stopped us from venturing that way to get them. So, we had to prepare the spices from scratch.
We will be celebrating this every year, just as we celebrate our own American Christmas. By the time January rolls around we are pretty ready for Xmas to be over with, but this celebration and tradition for us will be a little different and mainly our celebrations will consist of a big Ethiopian meal. Our house smelled amazing last night. I'm anxious to see how everything turns out.
I'll post some photos of it, but here's what we are making:

Injera - it's the foundation to their meals and looks like a pancake. The dishes are served up in one communal platter and your roll up the food in the injera and eat it. Utensils are not used as the injera works as a fork or spoon.
Dora Wat - basically this is like a chicken stew.
Yataklete Kilkil -Gingered vegetable stew.

Once we get this cooking down, we do hope to have people over to experience it.

As far as an update on the adoption goes...we are getting ready to get our first series of travel shots. We're still waiting to hear about a referral. Right now, they are referring older children I guess. It seems we are just to keep waiting and try to be as patient as possible. I'm starting to look at baby stuff online. I've got friends talking about a baby shower, so I thought I would see what kind of baby stuff we'll need. I really wasn't planning on doing a shower, but after several different people bringing it up I realize we are going to need stuff and it would be a fun way to celebrate this experience with everyone. Plus, besides your wedding and baby shower, when else can you pick out stuff for people to get you! I do admit...that is pretty fun. I'm building a registry online and found one that lets me add stuff from my favorite online store...Etsy (all stores are products that are handmade).

Other than that, just trying to stay warm and really really hoping all this snow goes away and spring hurries up this year! I need some warm weather now more than ever.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010...bring us goodness all around!

Happy New Year! We are excited for 2010 and what it holds for us in many different areas of our lives. 2009 was a tough year, but we learned a lot and saw a lot of greatness in our lives and our future.
In 2009, I started this blog to give an outlet for everyone in our lives to stay up to date on this process as I don't generally like to talk about it all the time because well...we live it every day. Also, I feel that all of our friends and family have their own lives going on and we are just as interested in what's going on with everyone else so I don't want to sit around and discuss our adoption all the time. There is life to be lived! I don't like a lot of attention on myself and I was hesitant to start a blog for that reason. It's difficult to take down a wall and be so open and throw ourselves out there, but I also feel a sense of calmness in doing so. I do not think what we are doing needs to generate a lot of attention. People start families everyday. I am excited and anxious to meet anyone's new family members. A child or a baby entering a family is an amazing journey to anyone whether it's adoption, fostering, sponsorship or birth. This is not to say, we do not deeply appreciate the love and support we have been shown through our process. It means the world to us and helps keep our spirits up in the roller coaster of this journey.
What I have found in all of the talks and questions is that it must be tricky to ask anything about adoption without saying the wrong thing. I watch people really think about how to word something before they ask. We are pretty light hearted so we don't generally get offended easily as we know everyone is just interested. I've read a lot about how to answer questions asked about our adoption and how our child will be exposed to these statements and questions. I thought it would be helpful to post some "What NOT to say or ask statements" and general adoption lingo that's appropriate for adoptive families.

1. "Real" - a simple word, really. But, a very wrong word to use in referring to adoption.
"Who are his/her's REAL parents?" "Do you think you'll have any "real" children or a child of your own?"
We are going to be very open about talking about child's BIRTH parents and any child that comes into our family is REAL and our own.

2. "What you're doing is an amazing thing."
This is a tricky one. This is always said with the best intentions, however I do not think we are hero's, nor are we attainting to be. This implies adoption as a charitable effort and as if adopted children are not as lovable, wanted or brought into our lives and heart as a birth child would be. This wouldn't be said to a couple that just had a child by birth or announce they are expecting.

3. Celebrity adoptions and comparing any international adoption to one - don't do it.
It's a way to build a family and families have been choosing adoption long before the media started covering it.

4. Personal questions
Ah, the good ol' personal questions. Some details of our adoption will stay between us and our child. The sensitivity and privacy is not just ours to consider, but also that of our child's. Things, such as the costs of adoption, are just personal questions. We are happy to discuss and answer any questions as we do not want our child to feel like we do not want to talk about their adoption, but there is a sensitivity and privacy to the issue.

Last thing we want to do is make anyone feel like they can't talk about our adoption or have to over analyze how they are going to talk about it. No need to be defensive here on our part. I just think these are good points throw out there and consider. Like I said before, we understand completely that no one would want to offend or say anything uncomfortable and when it happens, it happens and we'll address it then. Just another part of this adventure and another learning experience under our belt.

Here's to a new year upon us. We wish new experiences, happiness and positivity to all of us in the new year. Happy 2010!

Casey & Josh